How do you get work experience in an industry without any connections?
"How do you go about getting work experience or an internship in the industry you want without having contacts or networks in that specific industry?"-Paige
To answer this question, we recruited a friend of LFC - Anna Jepson. Graphic designer by day, and super woman by night, Jepson has great insight on branching out into new industries.
Anna: This is the exact question I asked myself when I was fresh out of college. I am a self taught designer, and in full transparency, started practicing design in Google docs until I had enough money saved to buy Photoshop. Often times, success comes by creating opportunities when none exist around you. There are 3 ways to go about this:
Firstly, create authentic conversation around it. You never know who has a hand in the industry you’re wanting to work in. Whether it is a Friday night party, or networking function, be transparent about your career goals, and genuinely interested in learning from people and their experiences. On that same note, we live in a world where social media and online interaction is a huge part of how we do business. If you find someone online who inspires you, shoot them an email. At worst, they don’t write back, but at best, you get insight into your dream industry, and a brand new connection, all because you had the courage to type out a few sentences.
Secondly, insert yourself into the community, both locally and online. Most industries have networking events, online forums, chat hubs, and more. In this digital age, there are plenty of ways to network online and learn from your peers. If you don’t know enough about your field of interest, start researching! All the tools you need are right at your fingertips. Many of my weekends the first couple of years out of college consisted of photo walks and mock photoshoots with friends who were also trying to build their portfolios. Surround yourself with likeminded people, and work together to get to where you want to be. Attending lectures, watching movies, going to conferences, etc., can help pave the way to your dream job.
Lastly, and most importantly, remember hard work begets hard work. I’m still not working in the industry I want to be, yet I love what I do. I believe, if I continue to work really hard and refine my craft, it will take me to places where I will be able to meet people who can offer me the opportunities I’m looking for.