10 Ways to Gain Work Experience Faster While Still in School

You can still choose the right path to success. It is never too late.
If you are a student at University or at a vocational college, these are helpful tips that will help you gain the valuable experience very much mentioned in job adverts before you complete school. After a long period of interacting with industry leaders in your field, many of these will know you as a person and will be more than willing to give you a job or recommend you for a lucrative opportunity somewhere else.

So do not give up. If you start today, you will be working on your 'interpersonal', 'team work' and 'able to work under minimum supervision' skills very much mentioned on many curriculum vitae (CVs).
  1. Uganda Linux User Group. This a group anyone can join. You should join this group if you are an Information Technology (IT) student or if you looking to enjoy a career in IT. This is where you meet online/offline people both prospective employers, IT experts and free IT career guidance advice. Join the mailinglist here.

  2. i-Network mailinglist. Discussions on Information and Communication Technologies topics by experts in and out of Uganda. Anyone is free to join. Participate and contribute to relevant topics. Your contributions and willingness to help others will help you gain industry experts as friends who can easily recommend you for any job.
  3. To participate in ICT and development discussions, subscribe to our mailing list by sending an email to admin@i-network.or.ug admin@i-network.or.ug
  4. Mobile Monday Kampala (Momokla). This is a group of professionals in Uganda's telecommunication, academia, media and ICT sectors. It is part of a global network of mobile industry professionals and startups in 100 cities around the world know as Mobile Monday. This is a forum where you will interact with employers from the big telecom companies: MTN, Orange, Warid, UTL. It is free to join and make friends with your industry leaders.

  5. Online Groups such as Google Groups and Yahoo Groups. Search for groups in your field of study and ask to join them. There are groups on anything you are studying. This way, you get free knowledge and insights in your field while contributing about the experiences in your study. These are also often very good sources of where to get the information for your assignments.

  6. Use and search social media websites such as facebook, linkedin, twitter. These are the industry leaders in networking and sharing information on the Internet at the moment. Join and use them. Search for like-minded individuals for your particular field of study and make friends with them. 

  7. For example, if your dream is to work with CNN, start by befriending someone working for CNN and give them daily updates about what is happening in your area. You never know, you could be working for CNN before you even start your journalism degree.

  8. Join students groups at your School and participate in the events. This is very important because these will be future industry leaders in your field. For instance, join the school wildlife club, if this is your interest and if you want to work with animals in future. Through this pool of students interested in wildlife, you may find your future job or colleagues. It is often very nice to apply for a job at a big cooperation where the appointing officer (or human resource) is your former class or schoolmate.

  9. After you leave school, keep in touch with the others by joining the school alumni mailinglist , like Shack list and participate constructively. Often they post jobs, social events, school reunion events, scholarships. Since you are helping others, these same people will be helpful during your times of need.

  10. If your school does not have a mailinglist, I would suggest you create one using facebook page or group, like the Shack group. Most of your schoolmates are likely to be already facebook users making it much easier to connect and stay in touch via a facebook page.

  11. Volunteering. Consider working part time for a non-profit organization (NGO), school or company during the evenings after school or during holidays. You will gain lots of skills, industry experts as friends, recommendations and opportunities. By the time you are done with your degree, you may have an equal measure or more of working experience. In most cases, you will already have a high paying job already waiting for you too. Many young people do not understand what this is but this is the best way to gain working experience while still at school.

  12. Keep a blog of opinions about your career field. There are several free services you can use to start a blog for free: blogger, wordpress, tumblr. For instance, if you are journalist, write your own opinions about the stories making headlines in the country, most especially the controversial ones. 

  13. Do not loose contacts already gained. Make sure to check up on the people you made friends with (or contacts) occasionally. Remember to send a "happy birthday", write a short "hello" email or send a gift once in a while. Do not wait until you need the help of somebody you met 2 years ago, that you start to remind them about you. Make it easy for them to remember you by your name and not after a long explanation of about 5 minutes about how you met them.
Finally, the world moves around who you know and how people remember you. The more people you know in and outside Uganda, the easier it will be for you to move around from one country to another. It is now known as business networking. The more good you are at it, the quicker some doors will be opened for you.

To your success!

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