How to Overcome the Work Experience Catch-22 – SJSU

Published: October 13, 2020 by iSchool Career Advisor

Do you feel stuck in the 22nd trap of needing experience to get hired but feel you can not get experience because no one will hire you? not to worry. there is a solution. Experience can come in different forms. You will want to start early as an MLIS student, be flexible, open-minded and think big.

  1. Start early – Once you can, start thinking about opportunities to gain experience and develop new skills. Open your eyes and ears to opportunities to use the skills you learn in the virtual classroom in a practical way. Do not wait until you graduate to think about experience. It is a process that is a part of your life as a student and goes hand in hand with learning your MLIS courses.
  2. Be flexible – Be willing to experiment and take advantage of the various opportunities that come your way. Think of each experience, whether paid or unpaid, as an opportunity to gain new skills and relevant experience.
  3. Be with an open mind – Consider opportunities you have not considered before; Get out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself. Consider expanding the scope of what is possible and be open to trying something new. You might just surprise yourself and find a new area of ​​interest. Being a student is the time to try something new and really test your career ideas.
  4. Think big – There are so many options to gain experience.
    • Consider Virtual Internship, Personal Internship or Informal Internship (using SJSU Handshake).
    • Check for a part-time job or a full-time job that is related or unrelated to your area of ​​interest (unrelated jobs have transferable skills and are completely considered experience).
    • Check out volunteer or project-based opportunities that have part-time hours or maybe a commitment only once a week or once a month.
    • And do not forget the skills you can gain through community service or your involvement in professional associations.
    • Be sure to include independent and group projects or assignments from your MLIS courses.

You have so many options to gain experience. The trick is to expand your definition of what is considered experience and be able to express to a potential employer how You have accumulated the skills needed to perform the job you are looking for. When you can do it, you will do it.


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