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Jessica Barrett: Log on and learn

Post by
Jade Greene
Jessica Barrett: Log on and learn

Why remote work experience is just as valid as any other work experience.

Work experience and internships are known to boost graduates when they embark on their career journeys. Covid-19 has certainly shaken things up for students in the past couple of months in terms of finding work experience. We’ve had to get to grips with remote learning, online assessments and social distancing. Students and graduates are now faced with a dilemma: how on earth do we find work experience in the middle of a pandemic? There are many spanners in the works: we cannot shadow people in offices or enrol on in-house internships. Many people have had work experience cancelled or pushed back as a result of lockdown and the ongoing effects of the pandemic. If you’ve been affected, it is important to remember that online based work experience is just as valid and valuable as experience completed in person.

Challenges are constantly popping up in 2020, and we should try everything in our power to not let the turbulent jobs market hinder our careers, or our ability to develop professionally. There are so many webinars, courses and articles with advice out there just waiting for you. Here’s some information detailing the different types of remote work experience out there and their benefits:

Webinars and Talks

As offices closed their doors, applications such as Zoom, Skype and Google Meets were relied upon to facilitate business. The rise of these applications has led to an increase in the amount of skills based workshops given through webinars and online talks. Industry professionals are having to adapt to the way they run seminars, roundtables and conferences. Before lockdown, you may not have been able to attend conferences if they were hosted in cities too far away. Now, Zoom and Google Meets allows you to take part in all the online opportunities you wish.

The amount of webinars held by industry professionals has increased dramatically in the past few months. These sessions enable experienced CEO’s and department directors to spread their knowledge and give industry based advice to students looking to kickstart their careers. Webinars provide a much needed face to face element to remote work experience, as working on computers constantly can be demoralising. Another benefit of attending online talks is that they allow you to get a taste of what the industry is like before pursuing other work experience options, such as internships. Online platforms are vital for facilitating work experience as we are still trying to navigate life in the midst of a pandemic.

Remote Internships

Internships are widely thought of as one of the most valuable and educational forms of work experience. Completing a remote internship should be thought of as no different. Students in lockdown have regarded internships as one of the most beneficial forms of online work experience out there. Even though you work remotely, you are still able to absorb information about your chosen career and have the chance to develop your transferable skills. For example, communicating through email, phone and zoom calls provide you with excellent communication skills, and still teach you important aspects of office etiquette. You’ll strengthen your ability to manage your time, problem solve and hone in on your ability to work in a team. Just because you’ll be sitting behind a computer while you work does not mean that the experience is any less valid than completing an in-office internship.

Online Learning festivals

Online learning festivals are an amazing way to educate yourself about different aspects of industries you may be interested in. Spread out over a few days, learning festivals allow you to pick and choose which talks you want to attend. This way you can tailor the experience to fit you best. Enrolling onto online festivals has taught me lots about different roles and specialisations within the industry I want to have a career in. These festivals are great if you already know a lot about the industry and want to pick up some helpful tips and advice, but they are also amazing if you are completely new to the industry and still figuring out what kind of job you want to have. Listening to talks back to back within a learning festival allows you to absorb as much information as possible, but also helps you decide what kind of career you want. It really helps to hear from others who have been in your shoes, who have struggled to navigate job markets whilst trying to find work experience. Receiving advice from experienced professionals is invaluable to students and graduates right now.

Podcasts

Similar to the many online talks available on Youtube or over Zoom, podcasts are full of advice and tips to help you kickstart your career correctly. Hosts and guests often have years of industry experience, making podcasts an invaluable resource to students and graduates. From running industry specific Q&As, to people outlining a day in their life — there is so much information to absorb. Industry specific sessions are often run in series, allowing you to pick and choose which episodes suit you best. Podcasts are thought of as an educational medium where you can listen while you complete other tasks. Driving home after work? Washing up dishes from dinner? Walking your dog? So, utilise your spare time effectively by listening to podcasts while ticking off tasks on your to-do-list, podcasts are one of the easiest ways to educate yourself and develop professionally.

Newsletters and mailing lists

Although subscribing to email newsletters does not explicitly count as remote work experience, the advice and knowledge included in them is amazing. Are there companies or individuals in your chosen industry that regularly publish a newsletter? Do some research and see what’s out there. Make sure you sign up to newsletters that provide a quality insight into different job roles or professions, you never know what you may learn about how best to navigate the working world.

Online work experience will help you to achieve your career goals and develop professionally. Search online and scroll through social media to find these online learning opportunities, there is so much out there waiting to be found. Remember that even though Covid-19 has prevented in-person work experience, online based experience is just as valid and helpful.

Jessica Barrett is a recent English Literature graduate who now works as a Content Marketer and Freelance Journalist based in Cambridge.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of Jessica’s guest blog and listen out for her Podcast episode with us over at Class of 2020: The podcast, brought to you by The Branding Man.

Class of 2020

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