When searching for jobs, a common downfall for potential candidates is job experience. For current students or young professionals, attaining the years of experience expected for many jobs and positions seems impossible. This is a point of discouragement and can deter skilled potential applicants from applying for jobs that may be a good fit. Thus, it is important for young professionals to find strategies to gain relevant job experience, even as a recent graduate or new employee. With adequate experience, more opportunities will open up, propelling young professionals into highly successful careers. Here are three ways for you to gain job experience.
Use Your Extra Time Efficiently
Instead of wasting hours upon hours on your smartphone or Netflix, use your free time outside of school or work to develop your professional skills and gain relevant experience. For example, as a computer science student or employee, learn a new programming language or build a personal project. You don’t always need standard work experience, but rather experience in a specific area. If you can develop and demonstrate your skills through personal projects, you can show potential employers that you have the experience necessary for a position. While job requirements ask for a specific level of skill or experience, that does not mean strictly in a professional environment. Of course, this strategy is more effective in some industries than others.
Utilize Your Summer/Find Internships
If you are still in school, it is easier to find internships than if you have graduated. However, no matter your status as a student, there will always be internship opportunities available. Instead of directly pursuing jobs, internships are a great way to get your foot in the door. While they are offered as a learning and growth opportunity, if you perform well in your position it can lead the way to a job offer in the future. Internships are not substitutes for jobs, but don’t ignore their vast potential. In addition, working a summer internship is a way for you to develop your skills and gain experience in a field you may lack experience in.
Go the Old-Fashioned Way
Of course, the last and most obvious way to gain job experience is actually holding a real job. Many Millennials may want to avoid entry level jobs with poor pay and benefits but swallowing your pride and working a less than idea job is an effective way of gaining experience. You have no obligation to stay with a job you don’t like and, in the future, when a better opportunity arises as a result of taking the job, you can move forward.
Career development is never easy as a Millennial, particularly in a tough job market and as young professionals with little experience. However, every person can utilize at least one of those strategies to gain job experience. There is no perfect method of gaining the experience and background necessary for landing a dream job, but if you put in the hard work, you will reap the rewards.