One major complaint among recent graduates is that they cannot find work because they don’t have the necessary work experience required by employers. Even though our education system isn’t designed to prepare young people for the “real world”, it does provide some tools—knowledge, and skills. Young people can use the skills and knowledge gained from college to better prepare themselves for life after college. The steps below are proven techniques that will help almost any person get a head start towards their future career.
Get an Internship – Paid/Unpaid
Internships are a great way to gain work experience in any field of study. Some organizations offer yearly or year-round internships. Some popular organizations where people like to intern are The United Nations, World Health Organization, World Bank, Red Cross/Red Crescent Society, Rotary International, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Facebook, Google, African Development Bank, Disney World, World Vision, and The Peace Corps. But in whatever you do, make sure the experience is in line with your future academic or career goals.
Be aware that some internships are very competitive so do not overlook the opportunities at smaller organizations or companies. A good step to starting your search is to identify a few companies or organizations. Visit their website or office location to gather information about available opportunities and how to apply then follow the application instructions to submit a well-written resume and cover letter detailing your strengths and skills.
Volunteering for an Organization
Just like Internships, volunteering is another way to gain work experience. The difference between internships and volunteering is that internships can be paid or unpaid while volunteering can be strictly unpaid. Although some organizations may reimburse you for any out of pocket expenses incurred on the job.
Most people volunteer with a non-governmental organization(NGO) so do not ignore smaller organizations or companies as you search for volunteering opportunities. Most people would just volunteer at an organization doing something they enjoy like volunteering for the local animal rights organization if they are an animal lover or teach at the local primary school because they enjoy sharing their knowledge.
A good step to starting your search would be to identify local organizations that could benefit from your skills, visit their website or office location to gather information about available volunteer opportunities. Follow the application instruction to submit a well-written resume and cover letter detailing your strengths and skills.
Network, Network, Network
I wish I could find a better way to stress how important networking is to getting ahead in the “real world.” I think every young person should consider reading Porter Gale’s book titled “Your Network Is Your Net Worth…” to gain a better understanding of the saying “you are the average of those you spend your time with.”
In my own opinion, networking is the currency of this generation. It’s magical how a recommendation or introduction by a friend, acquaintance, church member, or teammate can get you that position or business deal.
In today’s world, one powerful must have networking tool everyone should consider having is a LinkedIn profile. It is your living resume. It gives others an overview of what you are all about. You can use it to reach recruiters and network with alumni’s working in a company you are looking at interning at and they can help you with a recommendation. Use linked to you advantage, and it’s free, for the most part.
Give yourself a headstart in the career race by getting an internship, volunteering, and networking, and you will be glad you did.