In this post, I want to focus on the phrase “getting your foot in the door.” This phrase was often spoken by my parents and grandmother in my youth, and I didn’t truly see the value of it then. But as I attended college and began working on my major, that phrase started to make plenty of sense. There are ways to obtain invitations and opportunities if one is proactive in their approach. Consider the following aspects:
- Clinical education: If you are entering a health profession, most likely, clinical education is required. As a clinical preceptor in the field of radiography, I always view clinical education as the first job interview. How a student performs can influence job opportunities in that field. Student positions are often available in many health professions, which can build experience, a great resume, and proficiency in the field itself.
- Student positions: Some students feel that these positions may not pay enough per hour, or may require more time out of their weekly schedule. But these opportunities don’t come often in some careers. It may seem like a huge sacrifice at first, but upon graduation, you will have experience in your chosen field already, and even if that particular institution can’t hire you full-time, your resume will look attractive to other places. Those places will know that you are able to handle working in that environment.
- Internships: Some of these are paid, and some are not. Similar to clinical education, internships puts a student in the realm of their chosen field, learning among professionals, and seeing workflow firsthand.
- Volunteering: If your chosen field offers volunteer hours, consider this opportunity. If you are happy, energetic, eager, and reliable enough to show up to a place knowing you aren’t being paid to do so, you will gain favor of those working there. Your work ethic and presence will at least gain you a strong reference or letter of recommendation to take with you.
- Positions not in your field: If you wish to work in places like hospitals, retail, or even the school system, sometimes working in your dream role doesn’t happen at first. For instance, to be a nurse, a student has to finish their curriculum and pass examinations. But in that time, working as a unit clerk, in environmental services, administrative assistance, etc. may build connections that can aid that student post-graduation. “Getting your foot in the door” really applies here because once a person gets employed in a system, transitioning to other areas may be easier.
- Networking Mixers: Free time is difficult to come by as a student, but by attending networking mixers, you can interact with people both in your field and out of it. Make a good impression on people, and even if they cannot help you directly get into your dream role in a career, they may know someone who can, and will again serve as a reference or write a letter of recommendation. This may take time and more than one interaction, but being around people who are going in the direction you want to go will only help you achieve your career goals.