Tip Tuesday: How to Gain Experience

experience meme

Yes, that is what we’re telling you!

It can be a confusing message to learn that you need experience in order to be a competitive candidate for internship and job opportunities. Especially when it comes to internships, we know it’s perplexing to think about the fact that you must have experience in order to gain experience in a professional setting. There are a variety of ways for you to gain both transferable and specific experiences in order to round out your resume, here are a few specific areas we would encourage you to think about:

Volunteer Work

There’s an incredibly long list of skills that you can gain from volunteer work. No matter what industry you’re interested in I would guarantee that you could find a relatable volunteer opportunity. If you visit the Bonner Center for Civic Engagement, their staff can help you to learn about opportunities to get engaged in the Richmond community. In addition they are usually interested in learning about your major and intended career path and can help you to find opportunities where you can gain specific experience. Nonprofit organizations love having extra help so if you have the time, they are a great place to learn or strengthen a skill-set.

Leadership/Involvement

Many students I meet with who try and tell me that they have “absolutely no experience whatsoever” tend to have a list of student organizations on their resume. When I ask about their responsibilities and involvement we get into a conversation that flicks on a light bulb. Eureka! “You mean the events I’m planning or the budget I’m managing for a student group counts as experience?” Of course it does! Every organization has variety of opportunities to gain experience through leadership or chair positions where you can also seek out experiences specific to your interests. For example, if you’re interested in the marketing/communications industry, is there a PR or outreach position that would allow you to do communications work within your organization?

Classes

This one should seem like general knowledge, but I usually catch students off guard. For your field of study classes or elective units, make sure to use them intentionally. Are there any classes that you can take that will put you outside of your comfort zone and challenge you with learning new information or skills? Make sure that you utilize every unit you take while on campus, the classroom is a great space for training and experience.

So if you’re someone out there thinking that you have no experience, or don’t know where to start, hopefully you’ll look into at least one of these opportunities. If you need assistance creating an action plan to build your experience don’t hesitate to set up an appointment with a career advisor to learn more. Call us at (804) 289-8547 or stop by THC 306 to schedule a meeting today!

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