SKILLS DEVELOPMENT / 24 July 2020Soft Skills: Why They are Harder Than You Think and How You Can Acquire Them
According to data from The Balance, first-time job-hunters devote an average of three to six months finding their first position. In the fiercely competitive job market of today, entry-level candidates are at a disadvantage because they don’t have the level of experience that many employers are seeking. It seems like a vicious cycle as you need experience to get experience but to get experience you need experience. Fortunately, there is a multitude of methods of building up an impressive bank of experience.
How Can You Develop Professional Experience?
If you are struggling to get potential employers to look past your lack of experience, then the best thing to do is to take the matter into your own hands. Starting a project of your own will allow you to build professional skills while also gaining invaluable experience. It will also demonstrate your resourcefulness, ambition, and conscientiousness to prospective employers.
5 Ways to Build Experience
1.Internships: Completing an internship in a professional setting will allow you to learn new skills and expand your network of professional contacts. What’s more, in some cases your employer may decide to take you on as a permanent staff member at the end of your internship.
2. Apprenticeships: If you wish to work in a trade then you will need to complete an apprenticeship. An apprenticeship will allow you to earn while you learn important skills under the guidance of a seasoned mentor.
3. Volunteering: Many charitable organizations require extra manpower and are constantly seeking volunteers. Volunteering at a charity will give you an opportunity to develop skills and knowledge that could be useful in your professional career.
4. Start Your Own Project: An ideal pathway for enterprising personalities, starting your own project is a great way to learn skills yourself while also developing leadership and management skills. With the internet, your options are plentiful. For example, you could start an e-commerce store, video series or blog.
5. Go Freelance: If you have trained in a skill that could be valuable for clients (e.g. design, web development, writing) then you could consider signing up to a freelancer marketplace such as TopTal or Upwork.
More Advice on How to Get Your First Job
If you are looking for more ideas on how to secure an entry-level position, then you should peruse the infographic below which comes courtesy of the team at Trainwest. This insightful guide includes many useful tips on how to develop professional experience and also features some advice on how to tackle the “experience” question during your job application.
Best of luck with your job hunt!