How to Get Experience When Internships Require It

We've all been there: the endless frustrating cycle of applying to internships and leadership positions, only to have the position taken by someone that has more experience than you in the field. But that's the dilemma, isn't it? How are we supposed to get experience in our field if seemingly nobody will give us a chance to get the experience we need? Not to worry, I have done the research and compiled a list of options that anyone can take advantage of to get experience and spruce up that resume.

Volunteering:

Almost every agency, institution, or firm out there is willing to let a dedicated, eager young student come and help with projects, learn about their company, or even shadow somebody that does work there. It can be difficult to land a hired position, but not hard to become knowledgeable about a career. Another great way to get leadership experience is by volunteering for committees in organizations that you are a part of. For example, one of my majors is communications, and my sorority has a public relations and marketing committee. There are very few elected positions on the committee, and I was not elected for one, but even without a position, anyone can volunteer to help and get experience and make connections.

The Career Center:

The Career Center at FSU has endless helpful resources to help you get experience and get ready to face the job market after graduation. FSUshadow is one of these services, where you can sign up and get placed with a company of your choice around the state of Florida for a day and learn from a professional in your major. They also offer seminars on how to land a job or internship, mock interviews, or sessions to look over your resume.

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Lynda.com:

Lynda.com is a website that FSU has a subscription to that has video trials to anything you can imagine. From Microsoft Excel to programming languages to graphic design and photoshop, any skill you could want to learn you can watch detailed tutorials on. More times than I can count I have missed the opportunity to apply for an internship because I was lacking one vital skill such as videography or graphic design skills, and Lynda has helped me to get an edge on the competition and make my resume look more impressive.

Don't be afraid to use those connections:

It can seem difficult or awkward to reach out to people and ask for job opportunities but trust me, it's worth it. In the communications field alone, it is common for people to get jobs from existing connections, which can seem daunting, but having a network is vital in the job market. I got my first marketing internship through my dad's company, and I worked with the VP of marketing, who has since given me the chance to meet other successful people in marketing and communications that can offer me other internships. Another useful opportunity is to keep in touch with your TA's, professors, and leaders in your campus organizations. Email them, add them on LinkedIn, and reach out to them. Often, they'll be able to write you letters of recommendation or inform you of internship or job opportunities you weren't aware of.

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These are only a few ideas to get you started on your search for job experience. The most important thing to remember is not to give up. You will apply for countless internships and leadership positions throughout college and more often than not someone else might get them, and that is okay! This is how the job market will work after college too, but you will find something, and these resources I listed will help you get a significant edge. So, go out there and get your experience. Good luck!