You know what we are talking about; you have been in full time education all your life so you have no work experience (other than “Work Experience” and that was only a week!) so no one will hire you…..but if no one will hire you how do you get the experience you need to get hired?!
The obvious route is an ‘internship’ but they are few and far between and generally they are based somewhere miles from where you live so it costs you a fortune to take one. What alternatives are there which will allow you to get experience without an employer going out on a limb? Here are three proven options;
1. A (possibly unpaid but) professional role in the public sector.
Experience as a Special Constable, retained fire-fighter or any role in the Reserve Armed Forces will stand you in good stead with a prospective employer. They allow you to gain experience in a technical or administration role depending on what you do. They also prove to a prospective employer that you have the get up and go that isn’t usually associated with university students! They are also opportunities to network with people who are in jobs elsewhere or may be employers. Some of these roles pay as well and contrary to popular belief joining the TA isn’t committing to go to Afghanistan!
2. A (probably) unpaid job in the charity sector.
Working in your local Oxfam shop may not float your career boat but if you look through the local Yellow Pages or Google search locally you’ll doubtless find numerous local charities that are keen for some free support. (Many towns have a central clearing house for volunteers – ask at your local Citizen’s Advice Bureau, they will be able to point you in the right direction).
Volunteers are responsible for researching possible donors, canvassing, driving, marshaling, stuffing envelopes, updating websites….pretty much everything that the charity would otherwise have pay someone to do. Sometimes these types of roles lead to paid employment but they always provide experience and contacts…..as well as helping to secure the contribution feeling that every human needs to feel!
3. Set up your own business.
You don’t have to be a Dragon to set up a business; you don’t need a shed load of money and you don’t need to have invented a better anything. You can buy an idiot-proof website for a year for £35 or you can trade on Ebay for nothing. Up to one third of mums-with-kids run a business from home on the internet…they have kids to look after! So any student should be able to fit it in around their studies. I wrote a CV for a young graduate who had been running his own online computer component trading company since sixth form….it had paid for his entire university education!
Having no experience is a temporary setback, but you will only change it if you take control of it rather than hoping that someone else will help you out.