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What Jobs Can I Do to Get Work Experience?
Getting a job with no work experience can seem pretty daunting, but it’s certainly not impossible. In fact, everyone starts in this position!
Why do employers look for work experience? It’s because they want you to know the basics of working in a certain position, and in an ideal world, that you will bring valuable skills and information with you.
With so many job ads requiring prior workplace experience, we’ve put together a guide that will help you to get your foot in the door and get that valuable knowledge too.
1. Get an internship
Internships are designed to provide new employees with industry experience. In some cases, internships can progress into a long-term or permanent position.
The benefits of an internship include gaining first-hand knowledge of a job role, the inner-workings of a business, and how it operates within an industry.
Sometimes employers offer unpaid internships. Legally, these will be called work placements or work experience, and it’s crucial you know whether your owed a wage for the work you’re doing.
If you do consider applying for an unpaid internship, make sure the benefits are worthwhile – there’s a lot of controversy around employers taking advantage of interns in this way.
Employers hiring interns often expect little to no experience, so make sure to highlight any relevant education, achievements, and useful skills on your C.V. when applying.
2. Search for a trainee position
In a similar vein, trainee positions are jobs designed for those with little work experience and training.
Typical trainee posts lead to a specific career path – for example, a trainee accountant job would lead to a career in Accountancy, usually with the accountancy firm you trained at.
And as the job title suggests, you’ll be provided with training on the job. This could lead to valuable accreditations or qualifications which will prove useful when moving up the career ladder. Have a read of our guide to trainee jobs for more information.
3. Apply for an apprenticeship
Apprenticeships differ from internships and trainee jobs as the aim of an apprenticeship is to earn a formal qualification while working.
During an apprenticeship, you’ll be employed to carry out work for an employer while studying. It can take up to four years to complete, so make sure you’re committed to the job when applying.
An apprenticeship is a great alternative to college or university, as you’ll learn and get paid simultaneously.
4. Volunteer with a charity
Volunteering positions are unpaid positions for a charitable cause. They provide that all-important work experience, and they’re easier to obtain than an internship too.
In a voluntary position, you will be asked to give your time and expertise to support with the charity’s cause. Voluntary jobs include working in a charity shop, moving furniture, raising money, etc.
Voluntary experience looks great on a C.V., as it provides both work experience, demonstrates a good work ethic, and shows you’re passionate about a cause too. Check out our guide to charity and voluntary jobs for more information.
5. Take up an extra-curricular role
If you’re still in education, it may be more difficult to gain relevant work experience. While summer holidays and weekends provide an opportunity to take up a part-time job or placement, these might not fit the career path you want to take.
If you’re business-minded, see if your school or college has a Young Enterprise programme. You’ll learn how to set up a business, operate as a team, and present your product to a panel of judges.
Other experiences akin to work experience include being part of the Student Committee, taking on the duties of a Head Boy/Head Girl, or even working as part of the Student Union at university.
6. Build up your network
In any of the above positions, it’s crucial you make the most of your experience.
Industry knowledge, and on-the-job training are great aspects, but it’s also crucial you build up your network of business contacts too.
A very simple way to do this is to add colleagues on LinkedIn, especially while you’re still working in the position. You will then be more likely to hear about relevant positions, and can also keep everyone updated as you advance your career. Discover more about using social networks productively in our guide.