How do I break into my chosen field if I can't afford unpaid work experience?

Published: 19 Oct 2015 By Niall Murray

Unpaid work experience or internships can be a great way for you to break into your chosen career, but unfortunately this isn’t always a financially viable option.

Don’t fear! There are other steps you can take to boost your chances of successfully achieving a job in the field of your choice.

Check out these tips that will help you on your way.

Fashion Shoot

It’s who you know, not what you know:

Networking is a great way to make new contacts and get your name known. Getting a break in your chosen field can often depend on who you know rather than what you know, so it’s vital you build a network of contacts. There’s also no guarantee it will help you land a job, but at the very least networking will help you find out more information about a company and the career path you want to take. The more you know the better your future applications will be. Networking may appear intimidating, but don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.


LinkedIn for the win:

Creating a professional-looking LinkedIn profile can make you appear more appealing and visible to employers. It doesn’t have silly videos or pictures like Facebook, but rather LinkedIn is all about business. Think of it as a digital CV – it is simple; a good profile gives a good impression. Be warned, a profile that looks like a dog’s dinner or is half-finished could harm your chances with potential employers.


Extra, extra, read all about it:

Another option that can boost your chances of breaking into the career of your dreams is taking extra qualifications. These can not only increase your skills and confidence, but also help you stand out from the crowd. It also shows employers you’ve gone the extra mile and gained more knowledge in your chosen field. There are numerous courses to choose from, so find one that suits you.


Never fear, volunteer:

You may not be able to afford free work experience, but volunteering in your spare time around your current job can be extremely beneficial. You aren’t put out financially like you would be with a free internship, but you gain important skills that will ultimately help your job search!


Be on the ball:

It should go without saying, but knowing the job field you want to go into like the back of your hand will help you hugely. The more you know, the better your applications will come across to employers and the more likely you will be to succeed in breaking into the career of your choosing!

Now that you are inspired to find your new role make sure you sign up to Job Alerts and we'll email you daily updates from your chosen industry.

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