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3 Ways to Gain Work Experience

#WorkExperience2021 - need some ideas?

A student contributor shares her ideas for getting work experience as a high school or college student.
3 Ways to Gain Work Experience
Work Experience has to be one of the biggest buzzwords for high school and college students. There’s a bunch of questions surrounding it. Even though everyone will tell you that your resume has to be filled with work experience, there’s more to filling out your Work Experience section than a paying job. Let’s dive into the multiple ways you can gain some experience, and what it can turn into down the road.

Internships

Internships are a great way to gain knowledge, skills, and networking connections inside and outside of your major and planned career. They are usually on every college student’s mind - and there are plenty to go around!

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A quick look using Fastweb’s Internship page is a great first step. It matches internships you might be interested in with the information in your profile so make sure your information is up to date! [Otherwise, a search using Monster, LinkedIn, or a search engine can help you find internships for your major. If you are a high school student and you know what your college major will be, you can also apply for major-specific internships to see if your career would be a good fit before you get too far into your requirements in college. Internships aren’t just for college and grad school students anymore! These internships are designed so high school students can have a chance to figure out their career path early if they think they are set on a certain field or position. Check out this article from a previous Fastweb Student Contributor, and this one from a few years ago for some ideas!

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If an internship doesn’t pan out, don’t worry! There are plenty more ways to get work experience without landing an internship. A part time job can be just as beneficial. You get to learn in a work environment with supervisors, acquire transferable hard and soft skills, gain knowledge, and you get some money for your efforts. Problem solving, effective communication, time management, and more are all adaptable traits that are useful to any employer in the future, no matter your intended college major or if you are in college.

Part-Time Jobs

Having a part time job—whether over the summer or during the school year—gives you practical knowledge and skills that can also help you get ahead in the working world and ahead of your classmates. Fastweb also has a handy-dandy spot for looking for a part time job. You can search by Job, Title, Company, or Location to find the right part-time job for you! Bonus: there’s checkboxes to limit your search to Seasonal or Summer jobs if you’re only interested in working during your summer break!

Volunteering

A third option for gaining career experience is volunteering. This is a great use of your time, and although you don’t get paid for the majority of volunteer work, most of what you would learn during an internship or part time job can also be learned through volunteering. There are in person and virtual ways to volunteer, including with food banks and virtual tutoring for hard subjects. Communication, organization, and following directions are only a few things that can be found with fulfilling volunteer work. Looking locally and online for possible opportunities that can give you experience won’t limit your future chances for employment; most employers see volunteer work as a great stepping stool that can set you ahead of your peers in their eyes. Volunteer work could even be done for your neighbors, so if you live in an apartment building or in a place where there is a community job board or email chain, a flyer with contact information could be an easy way to gain some volunteer experience locally. Any of these options for gaining experience can be related to multiple topics that will be covered in interviews, essays, and in life. In fact, scholarships that are essay based can be improved with anecdotes about what you learned while working or volunteering, and internships can be an introduction to a theme or message for an essay as well. These experiences could also give you knowledge that can be applied to college and grad school as well—the application possibilities of what you would learn are endless! If you are a go-getter, be sure to find a way you can get quality work experience while also keeping your priorities in mind—such as mental health, physical health, grades, and downtime. All work and no play makes an unbalanced student, so don’t forget to find fulfillment in an area other than work experience and school and communicate with people!

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