Happy Monday UAlbany Great Danes! Today we’re having a pretty big lunch, as I wanted to really elaborate on this concept of career-related advice.
How do you respond to “experience required” or do you have “any experience”? As college students and recent grads we often get discouraged when we find out an employer is looking for experience and we don’t think we have any. This builds frustration when college has been sold as a place you go to get an education and a “good” job…whatever that means.
Well there is some truth to that, BUT it’s all in how you look at it. College is 4+ years of experience; however it’s up to you what you decide to fill those years with. There are several ways that you can gain what an employer may consider experience, and then it’s all in how you articulate and sell it.
Volunteering – There is no rule that states that experience for a job has to be through paid employment. I’m sure that are several businesses and nonprofits in your area that are in need of additional help. Many volunteer opportunities build your transferrable skills such as communication, team work, administrative, problem solving etc.
Leadership & Involvement – The amount of work that goes into managing and fulfilling the mission of student or community organizations is underestimated…usually by those who do the work. Take a deeper look into your roles and responsibilities, then image you’re doing this work for a company. The only difference is you aren’t doing it for pay. Leadership and involvement in organizations gives you skills in management, event planning, assessment, financial analysis & budgeting, and even intercultural engagement in some cases.
Job Shadowing – Do you know what you want to be? Do you know what company you would like to work for? Do you know anyone in the field that you would like to work in? As long as you can answer one of these questions you are in good shape. Job shadowing is the perfect way to first see if what you want to do for the rest of your life, is really what you think it is. Also this gives you the opportunity to gain experience in your field by working side-by-side with a professional. This opportunity usually even opens up a new network and mentoring relationship.
Internships – Lastly, we all know that internships can help you gain experience, but I saved it for last because we overlook the many other ways. An internship is the perfect way to take the theory based knowledge you learn in the classroom and apply it in a job gaining practical (real-world) experience. If you consider some of the other mentioned ways to seek experience you can become more marketable in obtaining in internship. Also don’t overlook an opportunity just because it isn’t paid; there are scholarships for nonpaid internships—do your research.
I hope you’re full after today’s lunch, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to give you a larger portion. So, if you have these experiences include them on your resume, expand upon them in your cover letter, articulate them in your interview. If you don’t have these experiences start exploring opportunities. Until next time stay tuned, keep up and “Let’s Do Lunch”.
Darius the Intern