One of the biggest obstacles students face is a lack of experience in securing the job they want after graduation. The key is in getting busy while attending school and garnering part-time, temporary, or volunteer work experience. Your education gains more meaning if you are able to apply and develop your skills in the real world. Follow these 5 tips to get one foot inside the door and get a headstart from the competition.
- List college experiences. Don’t underestimate what you have already accomplished in college. Make a list of all the activities you were involved with over the course of your college career. Consider all of the tasks that you performed and translate them into real work experience. This can involve anything from fund raising events, developing social media strategies to promote a campus activity, writing for the school paper, and even organizing the alumni gala.
- Take a leadership role. Ask yourself how you want your resume to look next year and do what it takes to achieve that. Start by organizing events or heading a project in any group you belong to. Employers take kindly to leadership activities, especially if the role you played has substance.
- Volunteer. According to surveys, hiring managers give weight to volunteer work experience and see it as one part initiative and one part skill development for candidates, which makes it a valuable asset. Select an organization that promotes a cause you are passionate about and talk to someone in the management team about how you can be of service. Volunteering can take a few hours in a week or a month but it can go a long way if you are truly developing your skills on the job.
- Highlight entrepreneurial stints. Any project you have taken on yourself that has made money on the side has potential for the formation of a small entrepreneurial operation. The effect is doubly effective if you can get recommendations from the people you have serviced, be it as a private tutor to kids, lawn mower in the summer, nanny, or greeting card maker.
- Find internship. The new entry-level job is the internship. The goal is to find something you are genuinely interested in, which will allow you to develop skills to get the job that you want. Focus on income generating opportunities and networking. Actively look for small businesses that hire help instead of waiting for a company to offer you an internship.