Most jobs that are advertised need some sort of experience. Companies want comfort that whoever they are hiring can perform the task. Unfortunately, school (and anything that involves getting certifications) shelters you from real life and is useless when it comes to building relevant experience. Unless you go out proactively seek and create opportunities for yourself, you will be grossly unprepared for any role. Your career prospects will be dull or even non existent.
The common misconception most young people have is that they can only gain relevant experience through working at a similar job. This is not completely true. If you want to prepare to do something, just go ahead and do it. Take up a side project, build that app, start writing that book, go market that product. Most of us are stuck in the preparation mode. This applies even for people who want to change careers.
Seek out experiences that will help you build confidence and help you accumulate knowledge that you will need to build a meaningful career for yourself. Make yourself uncomfortable from time to time. For example, if you hate public speaking, put yourself in situations where you will be doing lots of presentations to others. Make a list of things that you think are valuable then seek out these experiences. Look for experiences that help you overcome your areas of insecurity. The more varied your experiences you seek out, the better it will be for you as you will develop varied skills.
Waiting for someone to give you a job so that you can gain experience is the worst best ever. Instead, look for ways you can learn by doing that very thing. Here are some other practical ways you can take your experience a notch higher.
“When we teach, we learn,” said the Roman philosopher Seneca. One of the best ways to learn and experience something is through explaining it to someone else. It does not matter whether you are an amateur or a seasoned professional. After all, teachers should not be seen as the source of all knowledge. Teachers should be seen as mere guides that facilitate the learning process. When you tutor others, you work harder to understand the material. There’s a lot of pressure on you to get things right.
“People who have never lived or studied abroad have a limited worldview that makes them feel so uncomfortable to change and entitled to their status.”-Chris Sacca
Travelling is one of the best ways to have new experiences and meet new people who have different perspectives about life. Getting the benefits of travel does not mean that you have to travel internationally. If you can afford to travel outside your country, well and good. However, don’t down play being a tourist in your own country. In Uganda (and many parts of Africa), we are blessed with so many cultures. Go and explore.
There are lessons you will not pick out form a book but you will pick out from your travels. You will understand why people live the way that they do and you will expand your awareness about certain issues like climate change etc. You will also develop a passion for learning.
You will not be able to experience everything on your own. But the good news is that other people have gone through things that we are yet to experience for yourself. Reading gives you access to learn from the writer you otherwise wouldn’t have been able to talk to personally. Our thinking and opinions are limited to our experiences. So why not pick up a book that exposes you to other people’s opinions and helps you revise your perspective on life.
Writing or blogging is a great way to accentuate your experiences. When you write, you are learning how to coherently present your ideas which is a valuable skill today. Writing helps you develop a clearer voice of your own. It is also a great tool for building confidence in your ideas and learning about yourself. Use it as a tool to grow as a person.