The Top 5 Ways to Get Work Experience During College

Sep 1, 2022

Many graduates find the job application process daunting, and for good reason. Applying to jobs can be disheartening when your work experience doesn’t fill out a one-page resume. Make it easier on your post-grad self and start building your resume while you’re still in school! Here are the top 5 ways you can get work experience during college.

1. Volunteer Within Your Field of Study

Volunteering is a great way to gain some real-world experience while also showing you care about your community. You’ll grow your network with new connections and have something to talk about during interviews.

Many organizations would be thrilled to have a volunteer who is training in a professional field. If you’re an accounting major, for example, you can assist with the company’s bookkeeping. Human resources majors can help screen applicants. Art majors can provide support to art-related charities. Whatever your industry or focus, there are opportunities available.

Reach out to the organization and let them know you’re interested in volunteering in a professional capacity. Be prepared to work outside your field, too; most volunteers help with odd jobs around the office as well. Make sure you track your hours so that you can put the work on your resume. And don’t forget to add your volunteer experience to your LinkedIn profile!

2. Find a Part-Time Job

Not all work experience has to relate to your major, although that is a definite help. Any job you can find – from barista to retail – will benefit you financially as well as on your resume.

By working while you are in school, you signal to companies that you understand how to manage your time. You also show that you are able to handle multiple responsibilities. Not to mention the other skills that come from part-time work: customer service, problem solving, and sales just to name a few.

3. Join a Research Project

Every higher education institution has multiple departments, whether it’s a college or university. Often, these departments will have research opportunities that students can participate in.
Talk with your favorite professor and ask if there are any studies that you can help with. You’ll not only be helping out your school, but you’ll learn a lot. Hands-on education plus building soft skills and experience working with a proven leader? That’s a win-win-win!

4. Join a Club or Organization

You’ve got passions, so why not further those interests and build your resume at the same time? By joining a club or organization, you will be able to volunteer for leadership positions that will build your skills.

Aside from leadership, you’ll also be able to work on project management, organizational skills, and problem solving. Plus, some organizations have specific positions that relate to popular majors of study. Consider becoming a treasurer, for example, or a planning committee chair. There are lots of ways you can be involved and learn at the same time.

5. Land an Internship

While this may be the most obvious way to obtain work experience, it’s worth mentioning because it’s also the most valuable. Internships provide real experience in an actual work environment. You’ll put your education to work but also learn a lot about business acumen and “real life.”

Internships are also known to be very competitive, so being able to list them on your resume shows that you have initiative and drive. This is another great way to grow your network, and you might even end up with a job offer for after graduation!


Written by: Sarah Perlman

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