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How to Gain Work Experience without Work Experience

Being a young adult is a weird thing. We are expected to get summer jobs and internships, but are also expected to have a ton of work experience in order to get these positions. The problem is, most of us don’t have the experience to get that dream job right off the bat. And we can’t get that dream job unless we do have the experience. WHAT IS A PERSON TO DO?? Here are some suggestions for gaining some work experience right on campus, which will help you develop your skills, and hopefully show an employer that you’re capable of performing the duties involved with the job/internship you really want.

Join a student group 

GIF from here.

GIF from here.

Joining a student group is an easy way to gain transferable skills in university. Not only do you get to make friends and spend time in a club that aligns with your interests and/or beliefs, but you can also run or apply for an executive position. You’ll gain leadership skills, work with a team, advance the work of the group, conduct meetings, and contribute to new ideas and projects. Not to mention becoming the President or VP of a sector of a student group will contribute to your resume, because who doesn’t get impressed by the word “President”?

Get a campus job

Job things are always a yes. GIF from here.

Job things are always a yes. GIF from here.

Work Study, which is now called Career Boost, is a program that gives OSAP-approved students the opportunity to work on campus during the school year. While any part-time position will give you the work experience required for future jobs, the program takes it a step further by offering positions like Marketing Assistant, Student Life Assistant, and Communications Intern for different departments on campus. These are positions that will gives you reasonable hours, direct experience and insight into a role you might be interested in…and you get paid! Once you get your my.ryerson login, I definitely recommend browsing through the Fall positions in late August and early September, to see if there is a position that catches your eye.

Volunteer 

You probably knew this Hunger Games GIF was coming lol. From here.

You probably knew this Hunger Games GIF was coming lol. From here.

I am a firm believer in volunteering. Having volunteer experience shows that you are willing to give up your time to support a cause, get involved with an event, or simply help other people. Orientation Week and Week of Welcome are probably the biggest events on campus for volunteering, but there are opportunities throughout the year with Trimentoring, Ryerson Students’ Union and other groups and organizations where you can give your time.

Network 

You never know who will show you that next opportunity! GIF from here.

You never know who will show you that next opportunity! GIF from here.

Okay, meeting new people isn’t “work experience”, but sometimes putting yourself in the right situation to meet the right people can help you to make a good impression in person. Then, you can talk about your qualifications, your interests and explain to a potential employer how you plan to contribute to their company. Attend events and conferences, be open to talking to new people, and don’t be afraid to share your career goals to people who could make things happen for you.