Everyone encourages students to get any type of experience, but why? And does it matter the type of experiences? Learn different type of experiences and why it’s important to have them in preparation for future careers and how it can affect your college decisions. Note that we are speaking generally about these experiences and may not have specific information about a certain career.

What is a job?

A job is work or tasks that are usually paid. You can have a job at part time or full time, depending on the number of hours you work.

Why is it important to get job experience?

There are many reasons why it is important to get a job, but here are few reasons why:

    • Having a job allows you to gain experience and insight to a field of work that you might be interested in the future.
    • By working, you can develop skills you didn’t know you have or strengthen them
    • It will allow you to make connections to professionals and individuals in the field for future opportunities

Skills you can attain from work experiences

Skills you gain are going to vary on your employment but some skills you can gain are:

    • Communication skills
    • Time management skills
    • Work ethic
    • Customer service
    • Business processes
    • Direct service skills
    • Technological skills
    • Project management skills
    • Supervision skills



What is an internship?

  • An internship is a professional learning experience offered by an employer for a period of time. Internships can be paid or unpaid and can be full time or part time. 
  • Internships can be offered for just the summer or throughout the year. Internships can vary from a couple of weeks to months and years.
  • There are many fields/industries that may offer internships for example, in marketing, graphic design, IT, engineering, non-profits, etc.

Why is it important to participate in internships?

  • Internships provide students career exploration and development, exposure to the working environment of a particular career or field of study.
  • It’s important to participate in internships since it can provide you to have a competitive edge or advantage over other candidates for job opportunities.
  • Internships gives you real life experience and exposure to a specific field that will help you narrow down and focus on a career choice
  • Internships can lead to immediate placement of full time or part time employment opportunity at the company or organization after the period of the internship since you have already built and maintained a professional relationship with the employers

Skills you can attain from internships

Skills you gain are going to vary and depend on your specific internship but some skills you can gain are:

    • Cultural environment knowledge
    • Project management skills
    • Professional communication skills
    • Technological skills
    • Efficiency skills
    • Research skills and knowledge
    • Feedback from a mentor/supervisor
    • Connections to professionals




What is a job shadow experience?

  • A job shadow experience is when you can observe a professional in the field of work. You usually follow the professional to witness and learn what they do day to day and their tasks.
  • A job shadow can last from a few hours to a week or longer depending on the employer/industry. Job shadows do not provide any monetary compensation, you are receiving valuable insight and information from the employer/professionals. These experiences are free and professionals are taking time out of their schedule to accommodate you by showing you tasks, projects, presentations, information that might help you increase your interest in the field.
  • It’s important to note that most likely job shadow experiences are not as “hands-on” as a job or internship. It is going to vary but mostly, job shadow experiences are limited to observing the professional’s work day and listening to their explanation of their tasks, information, and details of their role or the industry. It will provide a space for you to ask questions that you have surrounding the industry/position/career field.

Why is it important to job shadow?

  • It’s important to get job shadowing experiences to have a glimpse into how it might feel working in the career field or industry. You can ask many questions you have of the field that will get inside answers to.
  • Job shadowing is a great way to explore an interest that you’re not quite sure that you want to fully commit to investing more time into. It is a low-pressure and low-commitment opportunity. You will be able to observe work and cultural environments which can be a deciding factor in choosing careers or fields of study.
  • Job shadowing can be very advantageous as it shows your interest in the field to professionals and a great way to connect and network with professionals for future opportunities.

Skills you can attain from a job shadow experience

Skills you gain are going to vary on your the specific job shadow opportunity but some skills you can gain are:

    • Inquiry skills
    • Networking skills
    • Communication skills

You might not attain necessarily skills, but you will gain:

    • Insight information to specific skills, work, tasks, projects, or type of work in a specific industry/field of career
    • Learn what is needed in terms of education, certifications, trainings needed for job or field
    • Day to day routine information
    • Cultural and work environment exposure/feeling
    • Professional contacts
    • Opportunity for internship or employment with the employer




What are informational interviews?

  • An informational interview is an interview/meeting to inquire or ask questions regarding a job, company, career field, or industry. 
  • These are usually set up by you or can be helped to be set up by teachers, guidance counselors, or program coordinators who support you.
  • Informational interviews are usually only one to two hours depending if there is a job shadow component beforehand or afterwards with the company. Or if there are any other components such as a tour, presentation, etc. 

Why is it important to have informational interviews?

  • It’s important to set up informational interviews to get more specific and insight knowledge and information on a position or field that you’re interested in. 
  • These interviews allow you to ask questions or address concerns about the job/field and can be further explored through conversation and follow up discussions and questions.
  • Informational interviews can help you better understand a job/field and allows professionals to help frame your thinking about the job or field as well

Skills you can attain from informational interviews

Skills you gain are going to vary on your the specific informational interview opportunity but some skills you can gain are:

    • Inquiry skills
    • Networking skills
    • Communication skills

You might not attain necessarily skills, but you will gain:

    • Answers and explanations of questions or concerns or confusion you have regarding the job, industry, company, or field.
    • Knowledge of required education, certifications, training, etc needed for the job or field.
    • Professional contacts and network

Want to know more information on what are informational interviews and how to start the process of securing an informational interview? Visit these helpful websites to get started: