For most of your college career you have probably been told that internships are key for landing a job after college. While they still are very important for your career, internships are not the only way to gain new skills and experience in your particular field of interest. There are additional ways to gain that needed experience both in and out of the classroom that you may not have thought of initially. Keep reading to see which experiences in college can translate to experience needed when searching for jobs.

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We tend to think of experience as things you have learned at a job directly related to your field, but that does not always have to be the case. Many college courses require that students do some sort of larger project or assignment throughout the semester. Whether it is a large project, research, or presentation that you’ve put together, you can think of them as tangible experience that you have and can add to a resume. Learning in the classroom and then working with that knowledge in any manner is extremely useful in any future career opportunities.

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Outside of the classroom, actively participating in clubs and organizations on campus is a great way to gain experience and also put that classwork knowledge to use. Most colleges and universities have many clubs, groups, and teams to choose from that span a wide variety of subject topics with different roles to be held. Joining a club and taking on a role with similar duties that your potential job will hold is an excellent way to familiarize yourself with that job field. A significant role in a college organization that you have consistently held for years shows future employers consistency, ambition, and growth. These types of skills are what organizations look for regardless of where they might have come from.

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Volunteering is another vital way to gain new skills and that can be translated to work experience. Becoming a volunteer for a cause that you are passionate about and helping in any way highlights your interest in a specific subject. This type of experience can show more about your character and work ethic than an actual internship or job might because there was no monetary benefit from participating. When you have volunteer experience, it’s easy to demonstrate your ability to take initiative and work hard for future employers.

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Summer Jobs

When starting to apply for jobs, you should take into account all past job experience you have. Did you work at a retail store or coach a team during your summer break? No matter what field the job is in, you can easily translate these jobs you did into skills that are relevant on your resume. For example, if you worked in an office setting, you can add experience to your resume like computer skills and organizational skills, rather than only putting answered phones or filed papers. Gaining experience in any type of work environment, whether it was throughout college or during a break, will show that you can maintain a professional demeanor and highlight accomplishments you had there.

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Personal Projects

It is also important to note that work done completely outside of school or an organization can offer experience that can be recognized by potential employers. With the internet at our fingertips, it is common for people to start a variety projects on their own. There are many channels and networks that allow you to make your own content and build your own brand. Starting a podcast, writing a blog, or creating videos for a YouTube channel are all credible ways of showing your passion and commitment to a certain topic or field. You can also use your free time to learn new skills online, as there are many options available already on the web. Software skills like Java or graphic design skills like Adobe Photoshop are applicable to many career fields today.

As a student starting their job search, there are a number of different ways to show you have been working and do have experience to offer an organization. Many of the things that you do in your everyday college life can translate into some sort of skill or trait that a potential employer could be looking for in their next hire.


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