Thursday, July 26, 2012

Gaining Experience (Part I)

Lack of experience can stagnate you at any point in your career, especially as a student or young professional launching a career or just landing a job can be a challenge. In fact, in some cases you may have experience, but not the right kind. In any case, you may need to do some research on what would qualify you to land the job of your dreams.

Finding time to research can be frustrating if your current situation doesn’t allow you to slow down or waste time, but breathe and research anyway; it will save you tons of time and effort in the long run.

This article and its second part will share advice and make you aware of options you have when trying to gaining experience.

Do informational interviews with people in your desired field
MY Best Advice: Do Your Research…
Before you worry about gaining experience, first seek to understand what kind of experience — as well as knowledge, skills, and connections — you need to land an opportunity AND succeed at it.

One way to do that is through job shadowing and informational interviews. Both help with occupational research by facilitating a better understanding of work role requirements. Informational interviews give you a chance to ask a professional career related questions in an informal environment. Job shadowing allows you to accompany a professional while they carry out their daily duties and is a great compliment to informational interviews.

How do you find someone to shadow? Some career centers have placement programs that will locate and secure a professional for you; otherwise, you have to rely on the power of your network.

…then Brand Yourself and NETWORK!
Maintaining a good network is the single most important thing you can do for your career! For students and young professionals, networking can lead to internships and job opportunities if you practice good networking habits. With that said, good networkers are ones who brand themselves. They present a consistent on and offline image that mirrors their career and professional interests (you can mirror your interests through your online and offline interactions by sharing advice, opinions, and content related to your professional interests).  

Be careful not to exaggerate your qualifications or present yourself in a way that leads others to think you are in a position greater than you actually are. Be confident in your strengths, be willing to work on your weaknesses, and be ready to apply yourself in whatever opportunity comes next because not everyone is looking for an expert or seasoned professional — YOU, the way you are right now may be just what someone is looking for; it’s your job to let them know you’re available.

Other Ways to Gain Experience
Temp agencies, Volunteering, Freelancing, Blogging, and Direct Sales Companies are other proactive ways you can gain experience — experience that builds your resume and allows you to practice new skills and sharpen old ones.

Keep your eyes out for part II where each tactic above is elaborated on to include how it works to gain you your much needed experience.

#ShesaBoss and #theGB blog

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