Let’s face it. In this competitive world, professional experience is often the feature of a candidate, or even of a company that will make all the difference.
A job seeker with significant experience, for hiring managers, it’s a sign of trust because companies have already trusted the job applicant. A freelancer with a high number of 5-star reviews, for hiring freelancers, it’s a high sign of trust, too. A company, with a good portfolio of clients, will have more chances to win business.
So the previous work helps to get hired. However, a lack of experience could slow down your career progression. Which bring us to the following question: “How to get more experience?” Here are a few ways you can experiment to get more experience quickly.
1) Start an Internship
It’s the most known way to enter into the work life. In general, it’s compulsory in some educational degrees. For certain jobs, it’s the best way to get a regular job, in the future. It enables the intern to perform, and learn in real working conditions.
Additionally, the company catches the wave of having a cheap, or free workforce. Both can find a mutual interest. Nevertheless, the opposite is possible, too. If so, it’s often in the disadvantage of the worker, because if a company has no interest to hire an intern; they won’t do it.
Subsequently, a consultancy could enrol an intern, for filling duties irrelevant to the experience desired by the worker. For instance, a student in sales, spending the bulk of his time to tidy up a warehouse rather than dealing with the customers.
Finally, as anywhere, there is a part of luck whether or not the internship will be constructive. But, it’s often when the internship period is underway that we find out if it was a good choice. However, that doesn’t mean to try it. The internships are one of the best ways to gain experience, and to win a job in the companies applied.
2) Join a charity
By joining a charity organisation, will enable you to support a great cause, and gain experience. It could be even possible to get paid in some cases.
Furthermore, this kind of experience brings positive benefits for your health such as happiness, better self-esteem, confidence, a bigger social network etc.
Charities are always looking for volunteers to achieve their mission. So the charity gets a new member, and the volunteer gets access to a way to gain experience in a friendly community. Depending on the role, commitment is required. However, it’s often for a short time. When I was a volunteer for Crisis (which I recommend), I had to be available only for 4 hours a week, and it was for the role of Sales Assistant.
Non-profit-making-organisations offer a wide range of positions from Shop Assistant to Board Member, passing by IT, Marketing, or Accountancy etc. If you can get a role related to your speciality; it will be beneficial for your professional career. For instance, you want to work in Web Development, in the future. In this scenario, you could build or/and to maintain the website of your charity. It will enable you to gain significant experience and to add a project that will allow you to showcase your skills, during a hiring process.
Additionally, being part of such an organisation is one of the best ways for networking. Most of your future colleagues will be employees, freelancers, entrepreneurs, artists, etc. So if ever you can ask them for help, references, job, or advice; I can ensure they will be happy to help you.
Finally, the reasons to join a charity are numerous, mainly for work experience.
3) To apply for an entry-level job
All the hiring companies aren’t necessarily looking for an experienced candidate. Each consultancy has its own culture. Some businesses prefer to hire a newbie, for different current reasons such as cheaper wage, youth development, need for more diversity, gender parity, or to hire a recently graduated job applicant.
All the recruiters don’t process the same way. For instance, when I was an Assistant Manager in a bakery shop, and we needed a new Baker Assistant. We had to choose between a candidate who had absolutely no experience or a Baker with four years of experience in a similar store. Finally, the inexperienced Baker won the job. The reason was my Manager feared of being contested in his authority if he hired a skilled professional. Interesting, isn’t it? It shows the opposite (of being experienced) can be, equally, a drawback for being hired, sometimes.
Furthermore, certain jobs don’t require any experience such as PR jobs, retail, hospitality, delivery, fundraising, customer, or sales. As long as those jobs are relevant to what you want to do in the future; you will make progress in your professional career. For instance, you want to pursue a career in Business Development; working in PR jobs or Door-to-Door Sales will give you relevant skills to Business Development.
Additionally, job hunting websites such as Indeed, Reed, Gumtree, etc., enable you to enter multiple queries such as job wanted, location, level of experience required, how many hours per week, and wage.
Finally, even without previous work experience, it is still to get hired and gain experience.
4)Work for free or very cheap in exchange for a benefit
This strategy is mainly suited for very competitive jobs, unrated freelancers, or new businesses. Sometimes, it could be a must if you want to progress quicker. The benefit that I’m talking about can be various such a discount, testimonial, case study, bigger network, new job, or client.
For instance, you’re struggling to find a position in digital marketing, and the reason could be because you’re unable to showcase projects, in which you’ve worked on and obtained results. In this case, you could ask to help your local restaurant in its social marketing in exchange for very cheap or 25% discount, for example. Then, to publish this experience in your blog or website. I take the opportunity of explaining that ‘experience’ doesn’t necessarily mean to have worked for a company. The example of the Chinese restaurant could be even more efficient than to write down on your CV that you’ve worked one year for a company, but you aren’t able to depict what you’ve achieved during your time in this company. Equally, it’s a good way for standing out of your competitors, if you apply for a competitive job.
Finally, proposing work for very cheap to gain experience, or having work projects done to showcase can be useful for who aren’t afraid to work extras for little.
5)Start a low-cost online business
I think it’s the best way to gain useful experience. This way, you will become a real jack of all trades. You will need to develop a wide range of skills if you want to thrive such as Web Development, Business Strategy, Multi-projects Management, Marketing, Negotiations, Recruitment etc. Equally, you will develop necessary traits such as discipline, organisation, concentration, determination, and valuation of your PRECIOUS TIME.
For the beginning, you won’t need a lot of money to start the business. All that you need will be a domain and a host. Then, you can either to hand-code your website or to use a Content Management System. This whole process will cost you between $40 and $100 yearly.
The business ideas can be various such as cooking recipes, coaching guide, e-commerce, services, or online courses etc. Once your business idea is set up; you will probably make your website, market your offer, manage your costs, invest if needed, find a way how to increase your sales etc. You might fail the first time, but the most successful entrepreneurs in the world haven’t succeeded the first time.
In the end, to start up a business could be an exciting and uncommon idea to get experience. If you believe in yourself, ready to work a lot of extras, and not being afraid to take risks. Entrepreneurship will be for you.
Bonus: Networking and Social Skills
Nowadays, even in the digital era, networking and social skills still prevail for having a job or getting more business. The reason is it’s still a human being who will interact with you during the hiring process and will make his decision. It’s not what you know. It’s who you know takes its full meaning. Most of the people hired in a high-hierarchy position have been referred by their relatives, although if they were skilled or not, sometimes.
For conclusion, developing relationships and following up are the easiest way to get job opportunities coming forward, and consequently, to get more experience.