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Whether transitioning to a new field or exploring post-graduation options, work experience is vital for the search process. Job searching can be stressful when the transferable skills are apparent to you but difficult to communicate to a new company. Gaining work experience is a way to help show future employers that you are capable of doing the job. However, that work experience doesn’t always have to come from a traditional nine-to-five role.
If you are looking to move into a new field, either out of university or from another field, there are many ways to show employers you have what it takes. Here are some of the best routes to take:
Take on a Valuable Internship
Interns don’t always have to be unpaid twenty-somethings on a perpetual coffee run. Interns can also be current professionals seeking to expand their knowledge of another field. This may be difficult to take on in addition to a full-time job or student responsibilities, but there are options out there.
Many companies offer remote internships, part-time options, or other flexible responsibilities such as shadowing. If the field requires a dramatic veer to a new path, then an internship could be a valuable investment. Full-time residency internships, apprenticeships, and fellowships are other great ways to gain work experience applicable to a new field.
Blog About It
If you are a self-made expert on something, show it off through a blog. While not an official resume item, a blog can show your skillset and ability to communicate knowledge. A blog becomes an online hub to centralize your knowledge and ability to work in a new environment.
Even if you are not trying to become a writer, a blog is a way to show your expertise on the industry of choice and that you are committed to the field, even without traditional payouts and experience. Bonus points if you are looking to break into a writing or communications field.
Get Certified or Licensed
There are many routes to breaking into a new field that doesn’t require direct work experience or another trip to university. Oftentimes, there are ways to get licensed and certified for tertiary avenues related to the new industry.
Trying to teach English abroad? Look into a TEFL certificate. Want to help with brand management? Get SEO certified. Trying to become a teacher without teaching experience? Study for a teaching certification exam. Want to be a contractor or even start your own business? Earn a contractor’s license with no fail guarantee.
Volunteer for a Non-Profit
Non-profits will always benefit from assistance and sometimes offer opportunities for specialty interests. Find a cause you care about or even a non-profit related to the new field and donate time while gaining experience. Non-profits are less concerned about the resume and more interested in the willingness and ability to commit to a cause.
Network and Volunteer
Alumni associations and professional groups present an opportunity to utilize connections and potentially meet future employers. Use connections to your advantage and be willing to step out of the box. For example, if you are interested in a new field, don’t be afraid to offer free project management or other free services. Use the opportunity to showcase your skills and prove why that full-time job should be yours.
Hit the Books
If all else fails when breaking into a new field, go back to class. There are part-time, online, and intensive options that can create a learning environment conducive to your needs. In some cases, there are even free options to avoid that new student loan. At the end of the day, breaking into a new field and gaining applicable work experience comes down to individual drive and commitment. If you are willing to put in the effort, volunteer, network, learn, and engage, you’ll be able to land that new dream job in no time.