Tips on Gaining Experience for an Entry-Level Role

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Even with education, landing an entry-level job presents a big challenge. A lot of job postings for entry-level positions, if not all, require you to have at least a year or more of related job experience. But, how are you supposed to get experience in the first place?

This has been an issue professionals have faced time and time again. Fortunately, there are a few different ways you can gain experience for an entry-level role.

Volunteer

There are many charitable and community organizations that look for volunteers to help them in their missions to help others in need. This is a great way to gain experience because these places are often understaffed and therefore more willing to take on people with little to no experience.

For example, nonprofits are always looking for people who can volunteer their time, especially students who are looking to build their portfolio or job experience. In some organizations, you will have the opportunity to take on much larger tasks and projects than you would in a corporate entry-level role, giving you the chance to really develop your skills and make a difference. As a bonus, they’ll be super grateful for the help.

Work on Campus

If you’re still in school, don’t wait until graduation to start looking for work in your field. A lot of colleges and universities offer on-campus jobs to their students in a number of different roles. This includes everything from marketing to administrative work, customer service and more.

Post-secondary schools typically post jobs for their on-campus positions over the summer to hire, train and prepare students for the beginning of the fall term. However, there will often be job postings at any given time, so be sure to check your school’s job board to see if anything is available in your field.

Get an Internship

If the internship sounds like your dream job in an amazing organization that will look great on your resume, it’s definitely something that’s worth considering. If you truly want to gain experience, try to find an internship at an organization where they’ll take the time to teach you, and not just have you run errands or do the mundane tasks nobody else wants to do. How do you determine that? Ask questions about typical responsibilities during your interview! You’ll show your interest in the role and will find out important job aspects ahead of time.

The point of an internship should be to gain experience, so it’s okay to ask for more responsibilities if you do find yourself spending more time grabbing coffee than working on projects in your field.

Join an Organization/Club

There are organizations and clubs of all kinds that you can join in order to gain job experience. Take some time to do an internet search and see what’s out there.

While you can likely find an organization or club directly related to your field, it’s worth looking into clubs you wouldn’t expect to gain experience from. For example, if you’re trying to break into the digital marketing field, a lot of clubs would be happy to have someone around who has knowledge in that area.

Freelance

Sometimes the best way to gain experience is to jump right in. Offering your services as a freelancer is a fantastic way to build your portfolio. While freelancing can be a difficult endeavour, even taking on just a couple of clients will help you gain the experience you need for an entry-level role.

There are a lot of ways to find clients, thanks to the internet. If you have a few pieces from your school projects to use, you should be able to land at least one client. Once you’ve done some work for them you can add that to your portfolio. Next thing you know, you have an impressive portfolio you can use to get that entry-level job.

Apply Anyway

Whether you have direct experience or not, just apply for the job anyway. If you find an entry-level position that feels like the perfect job for you, fix up your resume and give it a go. You probably have more transferable skills than you realize. Go through the job requirements and see what you can pull from what experience you do have.

Taking opportunities you might not otherwise have considered, whether it’s accepting a volunteer role or taking on a freelance client, will help you gain valuable experience. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there, and that entry-level job will be yours in no time!

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