The more work experience college students can get while in school, the better their chances are of landing a job after graduation.
Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps, said that in today's job market, employers are looking for young candidates who already have experience in their desired fields. He points to a recent survey his firm conducted of 2,100 chief financial officers. In that research, 83 percent of respondents said it's important for students to gain work experience during their college years so they can compete for entry-level accounting and finance positions upon graduation. Just 4 percent of the CFOs said such experience wasn't important at all. [Facebook Tops List of 25 Best Companies for Internships]
To help students in all fields, Accountemps offers six tips on gaining industry experience, and making the most of those opportunities:
Seek internships: In addition to connecting with your college's career center, do research on employers of interest, and tap mentors and professors for internship leads. Scour the big-name job boards, but also check niche career websites geared specifically toward professionals in your desired field or toward internship seekers.
Think beyond the dollar signs: While paid internships are no doubt appealing, don't let money alone drive your search. Look for opportunities that will provide maximum exposure to a range of projects, experiences and connections.
Volunteer: Many organizations, from nonprofits to industry associations, need helping hands. Seek volunteer opportunities where you can strengthen skills most likely to boost your marketability.
Explore temporary assignments: With these positions, you can gain real-world experience, get your foot in the door and demonstrate your potential.
Take opportunities seriously: Don't view yourself as "just an intern," "volunteer" or "temp." Treat each opportunity like a real job by adopting the mindset of a full-time employee. Closely observe how staff members interact, and adapt your work style and behavior accordingly.
- Stay in touch: After an internship or temporary assignment wraps up, be sure to write thank-you notes to anyone who helped or mentored you. Then, keep in close contact for the remainder of your schooling to improve your odds of securing job leads, recommendations or even an employment offer.
Originally published on Business News Daily.