You’re looking for a job to gain professional experience, but it seems even entry level jobs are asking for years of experience to get started. It’s a cycle of a job searching conundrum. Has your job search left you feeling irritated and unseen?
We hear your frustration, and we want to help! Let’s get right into 5 strategies you can use to gain professional experience to land your dream job.
1. Training Courses or Education Programs
As you may already know, many professional roles require training and/or education. It can work in your favour to research what qualifications you will need for the job you are striving for. The Government of Canada’s job bank gives you the option to search any role and location to obtain information on job requirements, prospects, wages, and skills needed. This is just one tool that can be valuable to help you plan on what you will need to How to Land Your Dream Job Fast!
For some fields, this may mean attending college or university, but there are other options too. Workshops, classes, or asking for more responsibilities at your current job are all other ways of gaining experience and training for new tasks.
Some other online resources who offer free course are:
- Coursera – offers unlimited courses, ranging from cybersecurity to Bookkeeping, all for free!
- Linkedin Learning – thousands of topics to choose and learn from and has a 1-month free trial. If you are a student, you may be eligible to access the service for free.
2. Volunteer Work
A great way to gain professional experience is to get involved in organizations – professional experience does not have to be paid experience. By getting involved in organizations or services through volunteering, not only can you gain transferable skills and knowledge that you can use for moving into a new role, but you can also help organizations that may need it.
Getting involved in local organizations, services, or clubs, are excellent experiences to include on a resume. If you’re a student, class projects, extracurriculars, or theses are all things you can include on a resume to showcase your skills!
It may be important to try to gear your volunteer work towards the type of experience you aim to gain. A great site to get you started on volunteer opportunities is WorkForce Essex if you reside in the Windsor-Essex County area of Southwestern Ontario.
3. Freelance Work & Side projects
Do you have skills or knowledge that someone may value? For some fields, freelancing is an excellent way to demonstrate and expand your skills!
You don’t always have to wait for an employer to give you the opportunity. If you excel at a specific set of skills, try offering those skills as paid services. Many people do this in fields such as marketing, photography, journalism, bookkeeping, and more.
Side projects can be another great way to gain experience and put yourself out there – not to mention putting said experience on your professional resume!
There are tons of resources online to get you started, such as Fiverr, Freelance.ca, and Upwork.
Our recommendation is to search around online and take a look at what type of skills are in demand on those sites!
4. Network to Gain Knowledge and Exposure
A strategy that often gets underestimated is networking. The idea of professional networking is simple: it is the act of building relationships with other professionals.
Networking can be a great way to find out about professional opportunities that are not posted on job boards, but it’s also a great way to learn. By connecting with other professionals, you can learn more about best practices, business techniques, and see what skills or qualifications are used in different professional roles.
Additionally, networking can give you a better idea of how other professionals have gained experience and achieved their success.
It might be useful to conduct informational interviews with others in your field of interest to gain insight on options for gaining experience.
5. Job Shadowing
If learning from other professionals seems like it might work for you, job shadowing might be a great option!
Job shadowing involves on-the-job training where you shadow someone else in a specific role. This can be more practical for someone who learns better with a hands-on approach, rather than learning from text. This can be great if you are switching fields or testing out some of your interests.
It can be a tricky task, though, because job shadowing is usually unpaid, and would likely be best to ask a family member or friend for the opportunity. However, don’t let this last tip sway you because you can learn valuable information like How to Ace Your First Day!
Thank you for reading, and we hope you learned something valuable today with our tips to gain professional experience!