Career Chat: Gaining Job Experience
“Career Chat” brings you the latest topics from the Career Chat forum in Purple Briefcase, the exciting new Job Search Portal provided to all Laurus College students and alumni.
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Q: How do I start gaining job experience in my career field?
No matter how extensive your employment history is, if you don’t have any work experience in the new career field you’re heading into, it can be challenging to land that first job. Here are a few tips on how to start gaining job experience before you’ve even graduated:
1. Recognize your Transferable Skills. These can include both soft skills (customer service, conflict resolution, leadership) and skills that pertain to your career field. Maybe you’re working at a restaurant as a server while you’re finishing up your Web Design degree; find out if you can help keep up the restaurant’s website or social media pages. Working on your Professional Business Systems degree while you work a retail job? Ask your manager if you can assist with planning the next store promotion or employee recognition event.
2. Volunteer. Find a business that would be willing to let you help out for a few hours each week working on projects that directly relate to your new career. Non-profit organizations are often times the easiest to volunteer for (since they rely heavily upon volunteers for their day-to-day operations), but there are plenty of for-profit businesses that may also give you an opportunity to develop your skills. If you’re an IT & Network Systems student, there are tons of smaller organizations that would love to have you assist with the maintenance of their computer equipment and networks. The opportunities are also vast for Medical Billing and Coding students who want to volunteer in a medical office environment in order to gain experience in their industry.
3. Become an Independent Contractor. Most graduates of Laurus College aspire to work full-time in their career field or start their own business. However, until that happens, nothing prevents those same individuals from making some extra income and building their career-related experience through independent contract work. Sites like upwork.com, istock.com and even Craigslist provide an abundance of income-earning opportunities for Digital Arts and Computer Animation and Web Design students.
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