Building Experience


Careers/internships/jobs/what have you are hard to find.

Let’s be honest, here. We’re in recession, some would even call it a depression. The economy’s down, and while a lot of companies are willing to take on unpaid interns, the market is still a bit more slim than it has been in the past.

This is the time for building experience, without necessarily having a job. I’m finding new, interesting ways to do this everyday, and it’s exciting!

I’m an interactive media studies major, with specialization in design. This, in a nutshell, means I do graphic design on crack. I’m also an English minor, meaning that any freelance or volunteer writing jobs are a great addition to my bank of experiences. While this can’t necessarily be applied to any career field, it’s important to look around, do some research, and figure out what volunteer opportunities can be considered “career builders.”

Since age 15, I’ve been doing low-key graphic design work. In the last year, I’ve had two pretty significant projects: business cards, and the body wrap of a truck. Yes, I designed a truck. It was a 14-hour design job, and I learned a lot about PhotoShop and designing for 3-D objects. To see my truck, click here. Owned and operated by Dan Dandurand of Momence, IL, and sponsored by the Kankakee County Corn Growers Association, this E85-powered competition truck is the cornerstone of my graphic design portfolio.

You’d be amazed how many people would be impressed by that. Apparently, designing body wraps for pro-stock pulling trucks is a rarity.

I also write occasional pieces for small, local newspapers and journals. My favorite to write for is the local Farm Bureau newspaper. In fact, I’m scrabbling last minute to do a special commentary piece on wind energy and it’s introduction into our county. This will be my third piece for the publication, and I’m incredibly excited about it.

See, it doesn’t have to be hard to find interesting experiences in your field. It takes some research, some networking, and a lot of ambition. A great place to start for these types of opportunities is childrens’ organizations. 4-H and FFA projects range across a wide variety of areas. You could be the mentor a child needs to finish their computer programming project for 4-H. You might be the marketing intern who could help an FFA member sell a few more of their SAE items. High school organizations can always use a volunteer, especially specialized ones. You could assistant coach the math team or tutor kids in biology. These opportunities are all around.

You just have to be willing to pursue them. They could make all the difference in your hunt for internships, and, in the long run, or search for a career.

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