It's the well known professional paradox: You need experience to get a job but you need a job to get experience. So how should you go about improving your skills to make yourself as professionally marketable as possible?
First, ask yourself what you're aiming to achieve by acquiring more experience. A more impressive resume? Confidence in your field? Enhanced skills for a potential promotion? A new way of critical thinking? When you know your aim you can get the most out of your time and choose the most effective learning tools.
For example, if you're looking for better people skills and empathy, volunteering is a great way to encounter all sorts of individuals with whom you will have extremely diverse interactions. Stick around long enough and you may also gain more responsibility which will allow you increased leadership opportunities.
Or perhaps you are looking for tips in a specific trade. It is never too late to find a mentor. Say you want to start your own business and you have a family friend who has been incredibly successful with his own. Request if you can ask a few questions, take them for coffee. If you are willing to build a relationship and show enthusiasm, you will likely make a new contact that is willing to answer future questions that may crop up down the line.
Third, learn everything you can about the field of your interest BUT never be unwilling to change your ideas. It is important to discover what you don't know and show others in this field that you are invested enough to educate yourself about its intricacies. Knowing basic details will better set you up for learning more advanced info about this topic. Take photography for example. If you are looking for an internship with a professional photographer it is important that you present yourself with basic knowledge of a camera so that they can save time and immediately build on that knowledge on things such as technique. Many basic concepts can be learned in a book, it's those that cannot that you'll want to prepare yourself for.
However! Even once you have acquired years worth of knowledge, never be too proud to accept new information. Everyone has a different approach and being open to learning the most you can for as long as you can will help you hone your skills.
Finally, build a network. Remember how you found that mentor and had the opportunity to have all those questions answered? If you build professional relationships you will have an entire pool of knowledge you can consult. Furthermore, if these new professional relationships see your effort and interest, they may help you make new professional relationships or offer opportunities. Passion and openness to
Hey I'm Martin, and my goal is to help you reach yours. I love writing content about career advancement, marketing strategies, productivity, and much more.