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Getting The Experience You Need

February 27, 2013

Ben Wise is a Co-Founder of SpringTern.com, a site that connects college students with organizations to do short-term, volunteer work projects to get you the experience you need to get the job you want.

At some point in their lives, even the most successful business executives had no real work experience. It is a problem that everyone goes through at some point or another – one that is particularly common with college students and recent graduates and summed up perfectly in this famous Catch-22:

“You can’t get a job without experience and you can’t get experience without a job.”

Despite having once been in this position, many hiring managers are reluctant to take on the risk of hiring an employee that hasn’t proven himself or herself in the work place. Luckily, there is a lot that can be done while you are still in college to overcome this challenge and prove how incredible you are.

The obvious place to start is with your schoolwork – you are a student after all. This is often the first thing a recruiter will look at. What are you studying? What are your marks like? What school are you attending?

But good grades are just table stakes and you need much more in order to stand out. This can get trickier and will require a lot more initiative on your part.

School Clubs: Colleges are packed ways to get involved and will probably have a club to fit whatever your interests are. If possible, try to take on a leadership role in the group. Employers need a way to assess soft skills like communication, leadership and teamwork. This is an easy way to prove that you have what they need.

Volunteer Work Projects: Sites like SpringTern.com can connect you with organizations to complete valuable work projects. Since these are short-term, part-time and can usually be completed remotely, you can take this on while you are still in college. This is a great way to show initiative, build your network and gain hands-on work experience.

Summer Internships: A summer internship is a great way for you to get to know a company and industry and help you decide if that might be a career for you. But it is also a way for companies to assess young talent. If you are lucky enough to land one of these coveted jobs, try to get involved in as many different projects as possible.

So here are three great ideas for you, but where do you start? Think of this like a hierarchy. Start by getting involved in some extra-curricular activities to build up your resume. Then try some volunteer work projects as your first step into the professional world. Finally, you can use that experience to help you land an internship for the summer.

Will this be easy? Nope. Will it take time and hard work? Yup. But is it worth it? You bet! Today’s marketplace is competitive and if you aren’t taking these steps, somebody else will and they’ll end up with the job of your dreams.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. March 7, 2013 12:15 pm

    Reblogged this on Ancopple and commented:
    Experience in college leads to a job that you want rather than a job that you need. Do not work a single day in your life. Instead, enjoy waking up to a career that you have only dreamed about!

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