After all of your years of education, graduation day may feel like the first day of the rest of your life. You have plans of being hired for a great new job that pays a great salary and finally being able to afford a place of your own. When you submit your resume, however, it is met with either no response, or you being told that you need more experience. It’s a question asked by more new graduates than any other: how do you land your first job, when each company requires that you have experience in your chosen field in order to be hired? Here are four ways to gain experience and get your foot in the door so you can obtain your first job.
1. InternshipsWhile many students complete at least one internship as a part of their undergraduate degree requirements, more and more new graduates are applying for internships as well. Interning with a company in your career field is a great way to gain hands on experience doing the kind of work you would like to do. Often companies offer a salary or stipend for new graduates who intern with their company. An internship can sometimes lead to a job with that company, or at the very least give you experience and references to add to your resume.
2. VolunteeringThere are many non-profit organizations that have volunteer positions where you can gain work experience. Whether you have a degree in Web Design, or Education, there are ways that organizations can put your skills to good use. Some companies look favorably on volunteer activities, so reach out to organizations that interest you.
3. NetworkingNetworking is a great way to make professional connections that could lead to a first job. Join student and professional organizations based on your career objectives. Most organizations sponsor networking events, conferences, and workshops. Each interaction you have with people in your career field could foster a new relationship, or contact that can get you an interview for a job you really want. Check out organizations based on your major for more information.
4. FreelancingSometimes you have to prove that you can do the work before you are hired. Freelancing is a great way to show what you can do. You may have to do your first freelance job for free or low pay, just to gain the experience and positive reference. After your first time, however, you now have more experience that you can add to your resume. Freelance jobs can be as short as a day or two, to several months. Sometimes a job that starts out as freelance can turn into a full-time position. Employers not only want to see what skills you have, but also how dependable you are as an employee. The next time you are told that you don’t have enough experience for the job you want, try using one or more of the techniques above to gain more experience and quality references to help get your foot in the door.
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