how to gain career experience right out of college

  • career advice
  • June 14, 2017

You’ve worked extremely hard and earned your undergraduate degree in finance or accounting. Great job! But now, it’s time to join the real world, and you need a job. Despite your best efforts, you still don’t have a gig lined up and it’s summer. What do you do?
 
It may feel like the “chicken and egg” scenario: You can’t get a job without experience, but you can’t get experience without a job. Learn how to boost your resume and build your network, even if you don’t have that first job out of college.
 

The good news.

For college graduates looking to land their first position, Randstad employment experts advise candidates to be proactive, flexible and creative. The good news is new entrants to the job market can bolster their resumes with internships, volunteer work and community activities — anything that demonstrates a strong work ethic, solid communication skills and technical aptitude.
 
Here are five tips for recent finance and accounting college graduates looking to broaden their work experience.
 

Look for an internship. 

Taking an internship when a full-time position isn’t available may be a new graduate’s best bet to gain hands-on learning in the workplace. Interns not only develop essential workplace skills, but they also build their professional network. And these days some companies are paying their interns exceptionally well; interns at Facebook could earn up to $8,000 a month this year.
 

Go part-time.

Part-time work is a great way to gain experience and showcase skills to a potential employer who may not have the resources to extend a full-time offer right away.
 

Volunteer your services.

Helping a community organization or trade association in finance and accounting is a great way to keep your experience current and expand your network.
 

Make the most of your current gig.

Even if your current job isn’t in your field or industry of choice, look for creative ways to enhance your skills. Volunteer for assignments beyond your job description. Most employers today are happy to have an employee willing to take the initiative.
 

Explore temporary options.

Staffing firms frequently have temporary assignments for which students or recent college graduates may be a match. Those assignments can allow you to boost your skill set and may lead to a full-time job down the road.
 
If you do opt to work with a staffing agency, Randstad employment experts offer four tips to get the most out of your temporary assignment:

  1. Give it your all. Approach each assignment as you would a full-time position.
  2. Mix it up. As possible, choose among a variety of diverse and challenging assignments to build your skills and resume. 
  3. Learn and grow. Take advantage of free development and training opportunities offered through your staffing firm.
  4. Talk to your manager. Inform the hiring manager about your availability for full-time work. 
 

Bottom line.

Even if your immediate career outlook appears a bit murky after graduation, don’t be discouraged. It might take a while to land that exciting job in accounting and finance, but with persistence and flexibility, you'll no doubt succeed.
 
Find out the moment opportunities become available by signing up for Randstad's job alerts. Just tell us the kind of position you want, and we'll email you when we find it.