Getting your first working experience is a challenge for new jobseekers in almost every industry. How do you get a job without previous experience and how do you get experience without a job?
Having work experience is even a prerequisite for getting internships these days, as competition for graduate opportunities continues to rise.
It’s a frustrating Catch 22 for those who are just starting out, but fortunately Derby College can help you overcome it.
Get involved in extra-curricular activities
Getting involved with some extra-curricular activities can give your CV the edge it needs to stand out amongst the competition.
Not only will this help you gain experience desirable to employers, such as organisational skills, teamwork and communication, but you’ll also have access to a network of likeminded and potentially helpful people in the future.
Volunteering can not only be personally rewarding, but the skills you can learn are extremely varied. You could volunteer for a local community project, a charity shop, work with animals, or even go abroad. If you want to gain work experience in a specific industry, you can look for relevant opportunities in almost any field, so think outside the box. You could volunteer with tutoring, political campaigns, environmental charities, hospitals, museums, teaching older people to use technology, running a sports group for underprivileged children, or so much more.
Get involved at your former college
We’re always looking for former students to come back and help shape our current students’ futures, so it’s a win-win situation.
It’s up to you how you get involved; it can be as simple as helping out an open event and speaking to guests about your college experience, or returning to the classroom to speak to students about your journey since leaving college. However you get involved, you’ll be able to prove your hard work and commitment to employers.
Invent your own job
Demonstrate your entrepreneurial spirit and start your own small business. Try selling things on etsy, starting a local cleaning service, starting a blog or YouTube channel, walking dogs, helping people sell their stuff on eBay. The possibilities are endless… You’ll demonstrate drive, resourcefulness, organisational skills and more.
Use your connections
If you have a family member or family friend working in an industry you’re interested in, why not see if they can arrange some work experience for you? Even if it’s just for a week or two, the experience will look great on your CV and can open a lot of doors.
Don’t know anyone in the industry you’re interested in? Try writing to relevant companies to enquire about work experience opportunities – there’s no harm in asking. Try seeking out smaller companies and start-ups.
Not only are small companies and start-ups often grateful for an extra pair of hands, you’re also more likely to get a broader range of experience than if you found a structured work experience programme with a large company. You could find yourself working on all aspects of the business and also getting to know members of the team more personally and making real connections.