So, what are some of the best ways to get job experience?
Solid experience not only looks great on a resume, but it helps you narrow down what jobs in your career path fit you best. There are many ways to get experience — some that will even pay you! You’ll be able to discover careers you like, get hands-on experience and beef up your resume with jobs that look good to prospective employers.
Job shadowing means you follow a professional for a day and watch what they do. Since job shadowing can be relatively informal, it’s a great first-step to exploring careers. Call your neighbors or family members who work in a field you are interested in, and ask them if you can shadow them for a day. Or, talk to your school counselor for help finding opportunities.
You can make the most of for your job shadowing experience by preparing a list of questions for your host. There will likely be down time during the day or an opportunity to talk more over lunch. If there is not a good opportunity for discussion during the workday, you can send the questions in an email that your host could answer at their convenience. Consider questions like:
- What made you choose this as your career?
- What education/degree(s) did you need for your career?
- What skills are necessary for this type of career?
- What does a typical day look like?
- What kind of schedule do you have to keep?
- What is your favorite part of the job?
- What is your least favorite part of the job?
- How long have you worked for this company?
- Have you worked for other companies in the same field?
- What advice do you have for someone considering this as a career?
- How do you expect this industry to change over the next 5 years/10 years?
Find a Job for Work Experience
Your experience is valuable, even if it’s not in the career you want to be in after school. You learn professional skills, like ways to interact with coworkers, how to talk to customers, how to take direction and how to make it to work consistently on time. Plus, experience in working environments impresses colleges and employers by showing your dedication. Always give 100% at your job — you will be able to use your employers as references on your resume later.
You can find job opportunities by asking local retailers if you can submit an application. You can also look online through job connection resources like the ones listed below.
Get an Internship With A Company
With an internship, you’ll actually experience working for a company or organization. They usually last a set amount of time — like a semester or a summer — and are typically available for college students, but more organizations are creating internships for high school students, too.
Some internships are full-time, and some may only be a few hours a week. Some may offer stipends or payment, but even if they don’t, it can definitely pay off in experience and networking. It may even land you a job later.
Most colleges or universities have a career services office or department that can help you find internship opportunities in your field. Another good way to search is by going directly to the companies you’re interested in working for — many will post internship openings on a careers page of their website.
Indiana internship resources
Volunteering is perfect for busy students. Volunteering opportunities usually let you set your own schedule. Nonprofit organizations often rely on help from volunteers, which is perfect if you’re interested in a similar career. Also, as a volunteer, you not only get an experience that looks great to employers — you also get personal satisfaction from helping a good cause or an organization!
Not sure what kind of volunteer opportunity is right for you? Think about looking for a volunteer position related to your future career goals. Here are a few examples to get you started:
Are you interested in becoming a veterinarian or vet tech?
Animal shelters and zoos are always looking for volunteers. You could also offer to help a local farmer care for his or her animals.
Want to experience being a fireman or police officer?
See if your local fire department or police department has a junior volunteer program or offers ride-alongs.
Are you thinking about becoming a teacher?
Look for opportunities to volunteer at a summer camp, a daycare, in a religious school classroom or as a tutor.
Could you see yourself as a chef or cook?
Volunteer at a community event preparing food, or look for organizations that prepare and deliver meals to homebound individuals.
Are you thinking about a career in medicine?
Help out at a blood drive or volunteer to visit patients in a children’s hospital or nursing home.
Interested in event management?
Many not-for-profits need help organizing and staffing events such as fundraising galas, pledge drives and run/walks.
Are you considering a career in politics?
Choose a candidate you would like to support in a local election and help run his or her campaign or join a political action committee.