In talking to graduates who struggled in making the jump from post-secondary to finding employment related to their studies, a common theme that emerges is that they under estimated the importance of balancing their studies with relevant work experience.
Such students can be said to have taken a “ground hog” approach to their post-secondary education. This approach saw them bury their heads in their course work, take jobs unrelated to their career goals, and then “pop up” into a desired occupation only to discover that they lacked the practical work experience demanded by employers.
Not surprising, those experiencing the after effects of this ground hog approach feel extremely frustrated. After all they wonder how to overcome the “catch 22” of needing experience to get a quality job, but not being able to get appropriate experience without a job.
Don’t get yourself in this situation. There are lots of ways to get work experience while you are in class. Consider adding co-op education, a practicum placement, or courses that use a work integrated learning format. If there are opportunities on your campus to be a research assistant – take it on!
Here are some great tips on how to get workplace transferable skills while being a student.
Your campus will have a career centre. These centres are not just there to help you when you graduate. So be sure to visit your career centre in the first year of your program and ask about how to get workplace skills while attending class.