HOW TO GET RELEVANT WORK EXPERIENCE
A very common question we get all the time from fresh graduates is, "how do I get work experience if I don't get a job and how can I get a job when almost all the employers are looking for candidates who have work experience?"
It appears to be a dilemma, almost unfair. So I decided to treat this topic.
One thing you have to understand, if you've ever asked this question yourself, is that the job market doesn't play fair. The market wants what it wants. Period! You need to come to terms with the fact that employers are also consumers, they consume labour to achieve their organizational goals. And just like every consumer, they want what's best for their company, they want to pay for the best service. And if you're sincere you'd agree that getting someone with experience, who can hit the ground running, to fill up a job role in your company is a better investment than getting a novice, who would require you to babysit him or her for a while. See, almost nobody has time in today's highly competitive and fast-paced market place.
So instead of complaining about not having work experience and feeling sorry for you, you need to find a way to get in the game and put the odds in your favour rather than against you.
I'll teach you 3 powerful strategies for gaining work experience. These strategies have worked for a lot of people and they can as well work for you too if you apply them correctly.
Volunteering involves working without pay. It is simply willingly offering your service to an organization without being asked or forced to it and without being paid. By volunteering, you're offering your service for no financial gain, of your own accord, to the benefit of another person or organization.
Benefits of Volunteering include:
I. Building important relationships
II. Showing your skills and abilities to prospective employers
III. Developing new skills and knowledge
IV. Exploring and learning more about potential careers and job opportunities
V. Helping out in your community
To make the most out of your volunteer experience, you need to look for opportunities with organizations in your area that match your interests and values and then approach them to offer your service. There are so many organizations offering volunteer positions from time to time. Just do your research.
2. Job Shadowing
Job shadowing is the act of observing or shadowing someone doing a particular job. A job shadow can be as simple as an hour-long visit with one person, to an extended week long stay, allowing interaction with someone while they are doing their job.
Benefits of Job Shadowing include:
I. It gives you a clear picture of what a job you might be interested in actually looks like day in day out
II. It gives you some insight into workplace culture, norms and dynamics
III. It gives you a chance to ask questions about the job, the company and the industry that you might be interested in.
You don't actually get paid for a job shadowing experience unless you're been employed for a paid job by the organization. Some job shadowing is informal, in order words, you can watch someone do their job without making an appointment especially in public jobs. However, arranging a formal job shadowing opportunity may give you a richer experience. You may be allowed to see behind the scenes in the organization and have time to ask questions.
To get the most out of a job shadow experience:
I. Ask questions
II. Offer to assist with tasks
III. Offer input on challenges
IV. Demonstrate your skills and knowledge
V. Ask for feedback
3. Work Internship
Work internship simply means taking a position of a trainee in an organization, sometimes without pay, in order to gain work experience or satisfy requirements for a qualification. Many organizations offer internship positions to potential employees, called interns, to work for a fixed period of time. Most internships last between one to three months. An intern may be given duties and responsibilities of an employee under supervision. Some internships are completed as a requirement for an educational program. Outside of educational programs, internships are useful for exploring careers and gaining work experience.
Benefits of internship include:
I. Gain valuable work experience
II. Explore a career path
III. Give yourself an edge in the market place
IV. Develop and refine new skills
V. Network with professionals in the field
VI. Gain confidence
VI. Transition into a job
There you have it! 3 proven strategies to gain work experience. These strategies will help you get the relevant information, attention, connection, skills and competencies you need to achieve your career goals. Unfortunately, not many people use them because they don't know about them. Now that you know about them, this knowledge puts you above the pack if you use it.
One last thing, after completing a formal volunteering work, job shadowing or internship be sure to follow up. You can:
I. Send a thank you card or letter to each person that helped you (ex: receptionist, manager, the person you shadowed)
II. Show appreciation and mention what you've learned during the period
III. Indicate that you'll be glad to take up any available job position where you can begin to apply what you've learned.
Mindware Consulting Ltd is a Career and Business Development Company duely registered in Nigeria with the CAC and also affiliated to various local and international institutions. Our professional development programs have both local and international recognition.
We offer various professional development as well as certification courses such as Human Resources Management (HRM), Project Management Professional (PMP), Health Safety & Environment ( HSE1,2&3), Customer Relationship Management ( CRM)
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