Make a Career Tune-up: Plan to get Experience
As part of your career tune-up plan on ways to get experience. There are a number of ways that you can get the experience you need. You can volunteer, take part in an internship or externship, do an apprenticeship, or find a mentor to guide you through individual experiences. As you add to your experience and expertise, you will find that you are better qualified for your dream job.
Volunteer work can be a great way to contribute to your community. It can also be a great way to gain skills and experience that can transfer to a paying job. Your experience through community service may also provide you with contacts with others who are willing to serve as a job reference. Take a look at some online resources for volunteer work: Volunteer Match, 211, or Peace Corp.
Some volunteers are able to do work in the setting where they hope to find future work so that they start to feel comfortable in that setting and how it is organized. Consider what type of volunteer work would match your needs and interests. Sign up and add some volunteer experience to your resume.
Internships and externships are school based work experiences. They give a college student exposure to real-life work settings within the career path. An internship is a temporary work experience. The student has the opportunity to gain skills and experiences in the desired field and the company has the opportunity to train potential employees. Some internships are paid and some are not paid. Some internships may also count for academic credit. Be sure to be clear on the nature of the internship before beginning.
Externships are similar to internships, but are shorter. They typically involve job shadowing for a few days or a couple of weeks. They offer learning experience, but are more focused on observing, while internships are more focused on doing. A class may require a short externship to encourage students to observe the field they are going in to.
An apprenticeship combines training on the job with instruction so that the worker learns the practicalities of a new skill or occupation. Apprenticeship programs can be sponsored by individual employers, labor groups, or employer associations. The Department of Labor has links to opportunities for apprenticeships by state.
An apprenticeship can give you good on the job training where you learn to do the job and are paid for the job all at the same time.
Find a Mentor
A mentor can help guide you along your career path by individually coaching you on what you need to know and by encouraging individual development along your career path. Depending upon the mentor, they may simply touch base and offer advice for you to follow. Other mentors may choose to “take you along” and introduce you to others in the field and the profession.
Look for and seek out a mentor who can guide you to the next step in your career path. This can be rewarding for both you and the mentor.
Put a plan to get experience in place as part of your career tune-up. Consider how you could volunteer, participate in an internship or externship, do an apprenticeship, or find a mentor. Taking the time to get experience will pay off in helping you reach your long range career goals.