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Gaining Experience

Gaining experience in your target field is the key to finding a job after you graduate. Many students tend to wait until it's almost time to graduate before they start looking for an actual job in their field. While you might have been a great student, without experience you could be at a disadvantage. So how do you get the experience you need?

Volunteer
Experience doesn't have to be paid to count! Volunteering in your field is an excellent way to not only gain experience but to make valuable contacts. Another benefit to volunteering is that it doesn't have to take a lot of time each week. The key is to be committed and consistent. Think how volunteering a few hours a week over a year or two would give you opportunities that you just wouldn't have otherwise. Remember, we're an hour away from the fourth biggest city in the country. You could find almost any kind of opportunity you sought.

Part-Time Work
If possible, try to find work in your target area. For example, when I was in graduate school studying to be a counselor, I asked a professor if she knew of any jobs that would give me some kind of experience in my field. She knew of a counseling center that was looking for someone to talk to clients and help them find the best fit for their needs. For a year, I talked to hundreds of clients and got to know who all the mental health professionals in town were.

Internships
Internships are very important especially as you progress to upper level classes. It's not too early to start looking though. Even though you might not have the background yet to do an internship, finding out the requirements early will allow you to make sure you are ready when the time comes. In this day of Internet information, it's easy to find internships with larger companies. Have you always dreamed of working for a zoo one day. Check out the zoo's website and see what the requirements are for an internship. You can also work with smaller organizations and set up your own internship. Interns provide work to their company but they also learn.

Co-Op
Most of the technical or vocational programs at Brazosport College have a Co-Op. You get class credit for the work you do. Some of the programs will help place you in jobs. Some, you have to already have the job. Check with the program you are interested in to find out.

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