— October 27, 2018
If you know you’re going to be looking for a new job, it can be a good idea to start preparing ahead of time. That means scoping out various job postings to see what is available, what interests you, and what qualifications employers are looking for. This allows you to see how you measure up, and if there are any areas you may be lacking in. College students who are approaching graduation can certainly benefit from planning ahead when it comes to their career.
If you do find that you are missing some essential skills or experience that employers seek, don’t panic; there are ways you can build your experience to make your resume better align with what they are looking for.
Volunteer: Paid experience is not the only experience that matters. Look for volunteer opportunities where you can put your training to use in different ways or even pick up on some new skills. This can also be a great way to gain some leadership experience by leading projects or teams in whatever you are working on.
Online Courses: Having the Internet at your fingertips also means having access to a vast array of professional development and training courses. Tons of schools and organizations such as Coursera, edX, and Udemy offer free or low-cost classes you can take. Do you need to brush up on programming or how to use a certain type of software? Are you interested in boosting your accounting or business writing skills? There’s probably a course out there for you. Plus, it shows your commitment to professional development.
Professional Organizations: Many career fields have their own professional groups where they share the latest industry knowledge, trends, and best practices. You can serve on committees or take advantage of the wealth of information, courses, conferences, and publications they provide to help you find job opportunities and enhance your training.
Internships: If you’re on your way to finishing up your degree (or recently graduated), an internship can be a wonderful way to build experience and get your foot in the door. Even if it’s not required for your degree program, it can be a worthwhile endeavor and benefit you in the long run. Try to find organizations or sectors you’re interested in working for so you not only have relevant experience, but you can network and see for yourself whether it would be a good fit.
Freelance: This can be helpful if you’re looking to shift into a different type of role or take on additional responsibilities. Freelancing can allow you to build your portfolio and along with relationships within the industry. They can serve as wonderful references and could even develop into full-time job opportunities (or leads).
Not having a wealth of experience doesn’t have to set you back when it comes to your job search. Be proactive and conscious of areas you need to improve so you can get involved in courses or organizations that will help you build your experience before you’re faced with finding a new job.