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Career Advice

How to get Work Experience

EMBA students workingIf you’ve left school or university recently and have had very little work experience to date, chances are you could be finding the job market a little tough. We’re still in pretty challenging economic times and getting a job is still not that easy, especially if you have little proven practical work experience. Exams and qualifications are all well and good but many employers still value proven skills in the workplace above anything else. If you’re somewhat lacking in this regard, here’s some tips on how to get some work experience that should hopefully help.

Volunteering

There are a whole range of organisations who are always on the lookout for volunteers to assist them with their day to day operations and this is especially true of the community and voluntary sectors. Volunteering will not only help you develop practical work skills, but will also help you strengthen some of your ‘soft’ skills such as communication and team working. An employer will look much more favourably upon the CV of a candidate who is being proactive and undertaking voluntary work than one who simply is sitting around waiting on the perfect job to appear. Check out sites such as Do It and VInspired for volunteering opportunities near you.

Internships

Admittedly these do not always get portrayed in the most positive light, however for many people they provide the perfect opportunity to develop tangible work skills and transferable employability skills. Do your research and identify which employers offer internships of real value and can truly benefit you and your long term career plans. Don’t simply dismiss all internships out of hand based on any preconceived ideas that you may have.

Training Programmes

Many organisations continue to offer graduate training programmes and if you’ve just left uni, these can be the perfect way for you to enhance your skills and thereby make yourself more employable. Also, check out what training opportunities exist in your local area – these may be run by your local council, independent training provider or even by national charities such as the Prince’s Trust. Ultimately they will all be aiming to have the same outcome – namely to further develop your skills and strengthen your employment prospects.

Work Shadowing

This admittedly is not an option that many jobseekers take up however they really should. If you are proactive and contact an employer directly to ask about work shadowing opportunities, you will be demonstrating to them that you have real initiative and that you are truly keen and passionate about learning more. During the limited timeframe that you undertake work shadowing, you essentially can highlight that you are genuinely interested in an employer’s industry or company, that you are truly committed to developing your skills and that you are keen and enthusiastic about becoming more employable.

Part Time or Casual Work

Even if you have your heart set on a particular career or a job in a specific market sector, you should not simply hold out for that perfect job to materialise. Always consider what other job opportunities exist and don’t dismiss them because they are not your ‘ideal’ as it were. Part time work, casual work and even freelancing are all excellent ways of  keeping you active within the employment market, and thereby ensuring that you continue to develop your skills and enhance your overall employability.

We hope that by highlighting these basic tips on how to get work experience, that we have helped any of you who are trying to do just that. Got any other tips on gaining work experience that you’d like to share?

Why not let us know via the comments section below…

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