An internship can be a great way to build your work experience and develop your skills, which, in turn, will help you stand out to employers.
The unfortunate fact, however, is that securing an internship is not always easy. There are limited openings, meaning competition is fierce.
So, what should you do if you haven’t secured an internship?
Luckily, there are more ways to gain experience in your field:
Volunteering not only gives you the opportunity to work for a cause you are passionate about but enables you to develop transferable skills crucial to any professional role. Voluntary work will usually be taken within a non-profit organisation and there are many different roles available that span across a range of fields. It’s important to know that volunteering experience is often valued by employers just as much as paid work.
2. Temporary or part-time jobs
Taking on a temporary role or having a part-time job during your studies or when you’re job hunting will demonstrate that you are keen to fill your time gaining work experience. Aside from allowing you to develop your skillset, any temporary or part-time role will give you valuable insights into how workplaces operate and can help you grow your understanding of the types of work you most enjoy and those you’re not so keen on. It can also give you the opportunity to strengthen your professional network, which may prove useful later on in helping to alert you to career development opportunities.
Freelancing is a great way to gain experience in your field, with opportunities ranging from content writing to software development to accountancy work. Due to the individual nature of freelance work, time management, communication and organisation skills are essential and will be significantly improved by the experience.
As your portfolio grows, so will your reputation. If you gain a loyal client base and gather testimonials that recommend your work, this will set you in very good stead for any future employment.
4. Writing a blog
There are many benefits to writing, not least because it sharpens the brain, unlocks creativity and hones your communication skills. Writing a blog allows you to do all of this, while exploring your interests at the same time and showing off your skill to potential employers. If writing isn’t your thing, think of other ways in which you can practise and evidence your skills online, by designing a personal website, for example, or using your marketing skills to build a following on social media.
5. Focusing on personal projects
The idea of the ‘side hustle’ has become increasingly prevalent over the last couple of years. This is a project you work on in your free time – it could be anything from baking to photography or starting a club, society or network. Whatever your interests, being able to evidence work outside of employment demonstrates your enthusiasm, motivation and work ethic.
Gaining work experience is one thing, but you also need to make sure potential employers know about it. So, keep reflecting on your experiences and include them on your CV, post about them on LinkedIn and discuss them during interviews. No experience is irrelevant and all have the potential to make you stand out from other candidates.