How many times have you heard without work experience you will never get a job? Or, without the right credential you will never get a job? It's true, you may need both education and experience. Get involved both inside and outside of the classroom - it pays off.
- Co-op combines semesters of classroom learning with semesters of paid, practical work experience in a field directly related to your career goals. Advisors can help you plan to include co-op as part of your education plan.
- Work Integrated Learning (WIL) combines classroom learning with applied skills that relate to skills needed for the workplace. WIL can include short term workplace practicums, but it can also include teaching methods that incorporate workplace skills into course assignments (e.g, team assignments, business style reports, presentations, portfolio projects). Some WIL designed courses include capstone projects that relate to industry or workplace. Look for courses that have real world assignments built into them.
- Work Experience Practicums are generally unpaid work experiences that are arranged by the program you are in. See how your classroom learning will transfer to the workplace. You are normally graded on your practicum and gain feedback on how to improve and increase your chances of getting hired.
- Research Assistant. If you're planning on pursuing a graduate degree, gain some research experience. Find research assistant positions, paid or volunteer, by speaking with faculty members. Gain this valuable experience.
- Co-curricular record. These programs provide you with an official document that recognizes your volunteer or paid on-campus work outside of the class. A co-curricular record is useful for building a resume or portfolio and can be included with a job application to demonstrate you have workplace skills. If your institution does not have a formal co-curricular program, create your own portfolio by recording assignments, projects, or volunteer work that demonstrates workplace skills. Employers will appreciate seeing examples of your work.
- Develop a Network. Having a network of people that are interested in the same subject and/or career options is helpful when you are looking for work. Get to know your faculty. They know people in their field and how your classroom learning relates to career options. Faculty also make good references. Join a student club related to your area of study. Meet other people interested in your field. Start a LinkedIn account and develop connections with people in your area of career interest. Developing a network takes time, so take the time to do it - the people you meet while you are in class can, one day, help you find a job. And vice versa.