It’s never too early to start thinking about getting your foot in the door. University can be a tad overwhelming for new students but once you’ve become settled, it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for any workplace opportunities.
Whether it’s through an internship, volunteering, work experience or a combination of all three, getting ahead is entirely possible while you’re still studying.
Many degrees will have work placement requirements for students, ranging from prospective vets and doctors, to journalists and accounts. This tends to occur in the later years of the course, but there is nothing stopping you from going out of your way to secure work experience without the assistance of the university.
This won’t necessarily be the most exciting role, with menial, administrative tasks the norm, and it is often an unpaid one. However, this experience will form a crucial part of your resume and hold you in good stead for when you apply for an internship or graduate role in the future.
Similar to work experience, an internship is a two-way relationship that provides the organisation with a temporary employee (who can be paid or unpaid) and allows the intern to learn how a professional workplace operates.
Internships are often very competitive, with hundreds of students vying for just a few positions. Consequently, it is worth asking friends and family if they know anybody that works in your industry, because you just never know what might come about.
If you’re unable to grab yourself an internship or organise some work experience, you can still volunteer your services. This could include anything from handing out flyers for a political campaign to helping set up a networking event.
Alternatively, you could do some volunteering at somewhere like the Salvation Army or the local football club, which might not be strictly industry related but will still be a positive experience to include on resume.
Not everyone is going to get the internship of their choice. Another way to gain experience is to get creative by freelancing, which is particularly suited to fields like journalism, graphic design and IT.
Producing something tangible for an organisation is a great way to get on a first name basis and build a rapport, whether it’s creating an infographic or penning an industry-relevant blog for a company you admire.