Woman smiling holding baby trees in a bucket

Get Work Experience to Get Hired

March 1, 2022

build contacts and confidence to land the job

Lots of jobs require experience to get hired. A lot of people think, “How can I get experience when I can’t get a job?”

There are ways to get experience when you’ve never had a job. The options below help you develop your job skills, work know-how, contacts and confidence. And having any of them on your resume can help you get hired.

School and Community Activities

Participating in clubs, sports, theater, music, dance, religious organizations and other community activities can be fun and develop your skills. Include these on your resume. Find activities through school districts, community education, local arts groups, religious organizations and the public library.

Volunteer Work/ Community Service

Volunteering is unpaid work. You can gain skills like writing, providing childcare, teaching, coaching, fundraising, mentoring, making sales, answering phones, organizing materials, doing construction, creating art and more. Call, email or stop at a nonprofit or school you’d like to volunteer for and ask about opportunities. Many provide training.

Job Shadows

Explore what a day is like in a career you are interested in by working with a Career Launch SD advisor to establish a job shadow with a local business. During the job shadow you can learn more about the business, ask questions and expand your network. Get a step by step guide to finding the right job shadow for you in the job shadow student handbook.


Internships are a great way to get experience in your relevant course of study, potentially receive credits, gain employer recommendations, learn directly from businesses and possibly be offered full-time employment with the company.

On-The-Job Training (OTJ)

An OJT is training provided by an employer to a paid participant while engaged in productive work in a job that provides knowledge or skills essential to the job. Commonly, the employer promises to hire the trainee upon successful completion of the training as part of the OJT agreement. Connect with you local job service office to find the right OTJ training for you.

Take the Next Step

To learn more about your work experience options, contact us to connect with your own career advisor.

Contact Us

"*" indicates required fields

By submitting this form, the Department of Labor & Regulation will collect and use information as outlined in our Privacy Policy
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Other Blogs


Boost Your Career

So, you’ve got your high school diploma or a GED® credential. Are you thinking you’re ready to take your career to the next level?
Read More

Job Hunting Tips

Currently there are thousands of job offerings on the South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation’s job search platform SDWORKS.
Read More

Future Proofing Your Career

How can you future proof your career when you don't know what the future holds? Career Launch SD is a good place to start.
Read More

Career Information You Can Trust

With hundreds of career choices how do you know where to start? Can you trust what you find? The Labor Market Information Center (LMIC) develops career materials you can count on.
Read More