This may be more relevant for the students of today than any other, but especially in the last few years, many people have come out in stern opposition to unpaid internships and voluntary work. Now this argument is a complex one and it is one I don’t plan on getting embroiled in.
However, are some internships and voluntary roles worth putting in the time and effort for no financial gain? I believe so.
Modern day lecturers will ramble on about the importance of studying and applying extra time and effort to your coursework. Understandable, they wouldn’t be doing their job very well otherwise.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am all for putting time into your studies and achieving that much needed degree in a competitive world, but without experience and industry obtained knowledge at the end of the road, you are potentially another drop in the ocean.
If you ask any recruitment consultant in the business, what is required from a fresh graduate?
Industry work experience. They don’t care if it’s paid in British Sterling, Bitcoin or that other money that was kicking about for a while…the Euro was it?
Experience in your chosen sector puts you ahead of the game. Always.
So, that wee charity, church or start-up that is looking for help in your chosen field whether that be Marketing, Accountancy, Admin or even standing out in the street with a big white lab coat on trying to get rain soaked workies to give you their wage…
Take it. Put it on that CV of yours and let the long road to success begin. *Crosses fingers*
It’s difficult to get industry experience as a student. Difficult, yes. Impossible and not worth hunting high and low for it? It certainly is not.
Many student get lulled into this false sense of security by the wee part time job they have had since they were 16. They will work week days and get some nice cash to go splash at the weekend and everything will be hunky dory and all will work out in the end. Walk into a job after education, make good money, buy expensive black or grey clothing, buy property and then that Caribbean island you’ve always wanted right?
As much as those £5 Saturday night single vodka’s in the ‘higher end’ nightclubs in your chosen city might have been worth it at first, it will not give you the competitive advantage you need to grab that stand out job from right under the noses of your fellow graduates.
Sacrifice having the semi-decent looking bank balance and take a risk.
Spend some of the time you would ticking down the minutes until the end of your shift to do what you enjoy and can make a career out of…now. Yes, there may be no money and therefore you may have to return to the £1 drink establishments for a while. However, the industry experience and contacts you gain for doing something beneficial for them and you?
Contacts Are Everything. Seriously.
You’ve all no doubt heard this one before.
“It’s not about what you know, it’s who you know” – Every older, bitter person. Ever.
A slight exaggeration, I know. The point remains very valid. Without any real contacts in your chosen sector once you exit those educational doors, you may end up drowning in an ocean full of other humans just like you.
It may sound slightly bizarre to claim that contacts and not knowledge will get you places. Ideally, you will have both. It will certainly not propel you into the league of six figures anytime soon but it may well be the key difference in stepping on a ladder pointing up or ending up falling down on the back of a snake into a deep, dark pit of extended unemployment.
Show your enthusiasm, commitment and eagerness to learn and you may well end up making allies who stay by your side and look out for you in years to come.
Putting in your FREE time for FREE will put you in the good books for a long time to come.
Times are not getting any easier. Especially as a student looking for work in a competitive sector. These things don’t simply appear and are handed to you on a plate. The polar opposite more like.
This is why you simply cannot sit back and assume everything will be okay at the end. That is where the hard work well and truly begins, or so I’m told.
No financial benefit for a while could well set you up for the rest of your 30+ year career doing what you love.
If I was you, and for some of you I am the competition, go and offer your services to anyone who needs help more than you do.
Who knows, you may well end up pipping me for that dream job…
Dolan is a recent Business studies graduate and wannabe startup entrepreneur. His adventures in the commercial world make him a good source of advice.
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