There’s a lot of talk about how important it is to get real world experience in your field of interest. That means internships, part-time jobs, volunteer work and any project you can get your hands on to get meaningful experience.
Usually these kinds of experiences can be found by cleverly digging through the web, or – if you’re connected to your college career services office — working with them. But is it possible to create them yourself? And what does that look like?
Here’s a great example of how to make this happen. Last month I conducted a community workshop on finding work you love. We had a great time, and after the workshop I had a few one-on-one conversations with some of the participants. Among them was a young man named Craig, who had just graduated from college with a degree in video arts. He asked me if I might need any help with video projects for my website. And of course, the answer was yes!
Craig, like many recent grads, is working a temp job to earn some money while he begins his career search. At the same time, he is finding gigs that will lay the foundation for his future. For instance, he’s taking a few days off to film a workshop for a local non-profit. This gives him great experience with filming and editing, and creates introductions to people that will expand his network.
On another front, besides adding some video to my website, I am working on a corporate project with a colleague, and there is video work to be done there. As a result, Craig has successfully created three projects this summer that will help him expand his portfolio, his network, his work experience and his expertise. The confidence he’ll gain, and the additions to his resume, will give him a real advantage in interviewing for great starter jobs in the video design world. A big first step towards his dream job of becoming a creative director for a TV studio or big company someday.
And how did it all start? Craig had the guts to ask the question, “Do you need help?” More than that, he offered a service to me, on an internship basis, that would help us both. It is his very willingness to give that ensures me that he will get what he is looking for. Something magical happens when people offer to help – the ones being helped want to help back!
So my congratulations to Craig, for being willing to help, having the wisdom at age 22 to know that giving is the secret to receiving, and for having some terrific skills that I look forward to benefiting from!
As our projects move forward, I’ll keep you updated on Craig’s experience. One thing I already see is that he is willing to go the extra mile, and to balance an income generating temp job with finding the time to create projects that will show future bosses what he can do.
What project could you volunteer for today that will move you ahead?