Life After Graduating: Finding Internships & Work Experience

21.7.15

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It's been 2 years since I graduated university. In that time I feel like I've learnt a lot and grown more into the person I am today. It has not all been smooth sailing that's for sure but as I have discovered that is just the reality of life. It's what happens when you're busy making plans. Since then, I have been on and off focusing on my 'career' and putting my knowledge and skills from the 3 years at university to use. I think those of you who have been or are in a similar situation know exactly what it's like. For any graduate but especially those of us in the creative arts circle.

At times I felt like I couldn't breathe, like I was underwater, reaching out for air that I knew was there but the sea was keeping me below the surface. Until after many, many hours of applying for jobs, several interviews and a couple of internships I was finally offered a job in marketing. I almost couldn't believe I did it. After feeling defeated again and again, holding out for a job I had a background in from university, the relief that washed over me was so incredibly satisfying.

Even though I'm not an expert I wanted to write down my experience with life after graduating, starting with finding internships and work experience. I believed that it was important to gain as much experience as I possibly could so that I would have what employers were looking for when I went for jobs I desired. As awful as it sounds, working for free was the easiest and for the most part the only way to get experience.

Depending on your hours, what your daily tasks are and how far you have to travel is ridiculous in my opinion but I won't get into that, for now. So the way I looked at it, I was investing my time in my future and ny experience is good. It will be different for everyone, whatever works for you. You might be able to survive financially to work full time for free (a lot of companies offer expenses), you could fit in some volunteer work one day a week or freelance work from home. I was looking for either paid internships (they were just as difficult as finding a job) or freelance/work from home positions.

5 Tips when applying for internships and work experience

1, Find a position that will benefit YOU and will give you what you want from it.
2, Prepare a cover letter template and tweak it for each role you're applying for.
3, Be realistic. If you don't meet any of the requirements forget about it but if you're half way there give it a go.
4, Have flexible methods. Try a mixture of websites, e-mail individual companies, look locally and search on social media. There is more than one path you can take.
5, Put in the time and effot. It's a long and draining process but it will be worth it in the end.

It's a give and take act working for free. For the employer they are getting an extra pair of hands for a small price. And you're getting that extra bit of experience to add to your CV. You can learn a lot too, not only the actual job responsibilities but about what you want in a job. You get an insight into your future career, it truly makes you appreciate it when you get to where you want to be.

I'm so grateful for all of the little jobs I did, from being an intern at a magazine, contributing writer and social media coordinator. It got me to where I am now, a step closer to the dream job and over that time it has influenced me and inspired me to keep going. It may be difficult to begin with and in the end you'll be proud of yourself for it.

If you're going through this I wish you all the luck in the world! And if you have any questions or want to know more about life after graduating, please do let me know.

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