1. People & Relationships

Getting Free Work Experience

Ways to Get Free Training and Gain Practical Experience


It’s a vicious circle; to land a good job you need experience but to gain experience you need to have done the job. So what’s a job hungry teen to do? Believe it or not there are several ways you can gain skills without paying for a training program.

Find a Mentor

Mentoring programs are a great way to gain work experience. A mentor is somebody who currently works in the professional field you are interested in and who agrees to teach the ins and outs of their career to you. You do not pay for a mentor but you are also not paid for any work they get you to do while showing you the ropes. To learn more about mentor programs visit Mentor.org.

Be an Intern

Internships allow you to learn more about your chosen career path while actually working in the career field of your choice. You learn all about the job and you gain valuable skills when you become and intern.

Internships can be paid or unpaid but they are always entry level work. Internships last for a fixed term, teach you a variety of skills relating to the field in question and allow you a chance to network within your chosen profession.

An important thing to remember; once you are done your internship there is no guarantee that you will be offered a job with that company. To become an intern contact the company of your choice to ask if they have an internship program or visit GrooveJob.com Internship Listings.

Join a Club

It may seem like the last place you can gain experience or skills that look good on a resume but clubs have more to offer than merely adding to your social calendar. Some clubs have obvious vocational benefits, clubs like 4H or Future Entrepreneurs for example, but any club you join adds value to your resume.

Clubs that teach you skills are best but the simple fact that you devote time to a club shows potential employers that you have diverse interests and are able to make and keep commitments.

Volunteer Your Time

Volunteering is so obvious a way to gain specialized work experience that its’ value often gets overlooked. Teens are in the perfect position to take full advantage of what volunteering has to offer.

Because teens that live at home don’t usually have to work to pay bills and other living expenses they are in the unique and enviable position of being able to work for free. In being free of the need to make money teens are able to take advantage of the highly specialized training opportunities that volunteering has to offer.

Want a career with kids? Volunteer at a summer camp or youth group. Interested in working with animals? Your local shelter or SPCA chapter would welcome your help. Have an eye toward entering politics? Join a political party and when campaigns heat up gain experience and make contacts working for the candidate of your choice.

Think your future is in public service? There are many public service groups looking for helping hands. Want to dabble in the social issues field? Work for a cause with special interest groups that focus on the environment, health care, poverty or animal rights. Whatever your passion there is sure to be a group or organization looking for volunteers.

Volunteering is a win/win situation for everyone involved. Along with actual hands-on work experience you get the opportunity to network with people who could write you an impressive letter of reference to present with your resume when you go to look for a paying job.

School or Government Sponsored Work Experience Programs

In work experience programs you can gain skills and make some money.

Many schools have work experience programs that are available to students in their last years of high school. These programs work by offering school credit for students who have jobs. Depending on how your school has set up the program you may be limited as to where you can work. This has obvious disadvantages as it clearly limits the kind of work experience available to you. Find out more by talking to your teachers or guidance counselor.

If your school doesn’t offer a work experience program you may want to look in to government sponsored programs in your area. Contact your local Employment Assistance office to see if such programs exist in your area.

Formal education is not the only way to gain employable skills. You can get work experience, learn important skills and make contacts without ever paying tuition fees. While education is valuable it is not the only way to gain employable skills.

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