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Four ways you can gain practical experience while still in school

  • You don't have to wait until after graduation to begin to acquire a job experience. Whatever is your course of study – science, engineering, agriculture, humanities, etc.— having a hands-on experience in the field is very important, particularly for those who are looking forward to getting hired immediately after their graduation.

    No doubt, employers value brilliance and academic performance, but they even value more when you have garnered practical experience in your area of specialisation because it makes it easy for you to blend with their system and deliver (results) within a short period. Experience, in job recruitment, is becoming the focus of today's managers and modern organisations. Read this article to learn more why recruiters pay more attention to your experience and your qualification.

    This trend of experienced-based candidates is creating a nightmare for Fresh graduates whenever they see job openings they are adequately qualified for, but for the year of experience. To avoid this, here are some ways you can start building your experience while you’re still in school. It doesn't matter when you get, it’s still an experience, and the majority of employers consider it.

    1. Industrial Training

    Industrial training is a practical learning opportunity provided by universities and colleges for their students. The aim is to expose the students to the practical aspects of their course of study. The school-approved industrial training opportunity is however limited; it’s not available for all courses. Thus, if you are lucky to be studying courses with school-approved industrial training opportunity, make the best use of it. Apart from the fact that you will use the medium to gain practical experience and knowledge, it is also a means of building your professional connections which might come handy when you’re finally through with your studies and ready for a job.

    Like I said earlier, it depends on the course you are studying. Candidates on industrial training are usually posted to a specific department related to their speciality in an organisation to learn from experienced staff. They are assigned a mentor to guide them throughout their training period.

    2. Internship

    An internship is quite similar to Industrial Training.  The only slight difference is that internship opportunities are usually open to all — undergraduates, graduates, science, humanities, engineering, agriculture, banking and finance, and so on. Internship opportunities are provided by companies, and students do not need any letter from their schools to get these opportunities. Interestingly, some companies also pay their interns some stipends. Thus, for an internship, you stand to gain practical knowledge, build relevant professional connections, and pocket some allowances.

    3. Teaching practice

    This opportunity is exclusively available to education students—both undergraduate and graduate students. It is a university programme designed to groom the students to understand the practical aspect of their training. Students are usually posted to schools where they regularly prepare and deliver lessons following all the principles of education they've been taught in class. Learn some tips about effective teaching.

    The good news is today you don't have to be an education student to try out your skills in teaching practice. A senior student with interest in teaching can also do so. Many institutions, especially private schools, provide opportunities for candidates to teach. Therefore, you can utilize the holidays to give yourself an added advantage by acquiring teaching experience. While you gain practical experience, you also stand to get some stipends just like in some internship positions.

    4. Volunteering

    Volunteering is a viable and accessible platform to get experience and skills needed to boost your employment chances. It equally gives you the opportunity of connecting with the experts in your dream professional career. Volunteering opportunities are usually available with NGO’s. You can contact them directly if you have access to their office or you can search online.

    Some volunteering work includes awareness campaign about health and environment, planting trees, teaching, helping displaced people and so on. Just follow your passion. You can also learn new things.

    In conclusion, let me reiterate once again that the easiest way to land on a job of your choice as soon as you graduate is to prepare yourself with the right experience beforehand. And you don't need to worry, a lot of these experiences can be acquired while at the college.

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