Best Way to Get Work Experience

Every hour of work experience you have helps you learn something that will pay off in your work future. Even my first “real” job at Burger King taught me something: how to handle money (cash reg­ister), how to stay cool around people who are being total jerks (“Hey girly, I said extra ketchup-you call this extra ketchup?!?!”), and that I never EVER wanted to work somewhere that I had to wear a polyester brown and yellow uniform again.

But really, even the smallest of jobs you have now can help you along in the future—more than you know!

“It’s never too early to begin preparing yourself for your career,” says Maria Bailey, author of The Woman’s Home-Based Business Book of Answers and founder and CEO of “Even if you haven’t decided what profession you’ll pursue, preparing yourself for making a living is a smart strategy for life.”

Get Work Experience Best Way to Get Work Experience

So can you find the right opportunities to prepare yourself for a career you’ve yet to identify? It is not as much about the experience of a particular job. It’s in the characteristics you demonstrate. No matter what career you decide to pursue later, employers look for these elements of work ethic in any employee they hire:

  •  Responsibility
  •  Dedication
  •  Willingness to learn
  •  Good attitude
  •  Loyalty

And you can work in many ways to cultivate these characteristics. And then show in your resume that you possess them. The easiest Way to demonstrate your work ethic is this: work! This can either be through volunteer work or paid work.

Get work as a volunteer or intern. You don’t have to be paid to get work experience. Don’t count out volunteer work as an im­portant experience in preparing yourself for your profession.

Get a paid job. A paid job also offers an op­portunity to demonstrate your determination to work. Because you’re earning money, it also tells future employers that you respect money and have the desire to work hard for it.

Although it’s always nice to get job expe­rience in a field you hope to one day pursue, it isn’t always necessary. From babysitting to working on a construction site, life-guarding to scooping ice cream—all experience counts. A part-time position at Wendy’s demonstrates a strong work ethic as much as a part-time position at a prestigious law firm—as long as you work hard and win the respect of your employer. You may just think of making burgers at Wendy’s as a good way to earn some extra spending money, but it offers more to your resume. It shows that you have experience working with a major consumer brand, you learned to multi­task, handle a paycheck, and manage your time well at an early age. It shows a high degree of re­sponsibility to juggle schoolwork and a job. It is never too early to begin to prepare for the future. A strong resume will follow you for a long time.

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