Everyone's telling you to get experience under your belt, but what do you do when the opportunities just aren't there? You've searched high and low for an internship/work placement/chance to follow someone round for the day watching their every professional move, and there just isn't anything being advertised.
Hands-on and legs-up
The good news is that just because there aren't opportunities being advertised doesn't mean they don't exist. But you need to be more hands-on in how you seek them out. Take advantage of networking events for students, which are often designed specifically to get you in front of the right people.
There are events held on and off campus across the country to help young professionals break into their chosen career. They might take the form of recruitment festivals, industry-focused seminars or conferences, but all of them will host a wealth of industry leaders eager to meet future faces in their field.
You only need to impress one person with a job opening and you'll have made a valuable first step on the career ladder, so set out to make a real impact. Read up on the event, and on companies attending and a couple of the projects they have worked on before you go, and enter the event flexing all your professional muscles. Participate in debates, ask questions, and remember guest speakers and address them after their speeches. They may not have a position available, but might be able to point you in the direction of someone who has and put in a good word for the lovely super-keen student they met at a conference last week.
Some industries are notoriously difficult to break into, so if you have your sights set on one of these, you're going to have to put in extra work to find the right position for you. Having identified a shortage in opportunities in media, we at Milkround have put together our own event to help media students meet potential employers. In spring 2014, we'll be hosting our very own Short Film Festival. The festival will showcase the work of students and graduates, and offer a money-can't-buy prize: a room full of industry leaders who get to see and admire their work.
But we aren't the only ones creating opportunities for candidates to meet employers, so if you're sick of hunting for work experience or internships that are better hidden than the Holy Grail, try changing your tactics and look for networking events instead. If you have the right attitude and impress the right people, seek and ye shall find.