A couple of years ago while the whole country was still coming down from the high of "Philip" -- Feel it -- (the 2010 FIFA would cup) one of my good friends left her job in corporate administration. A job we thought she liked and in which we thought she found fulfillment. But being in the middle of three stadiums on three different occasions -- one of which was the opening ceremony -- she knew filing and keeping schedules wasn't the best she could do. So she worked her notice period and spent the first two weeks thereafter thrilled, looking for things to do and erecting vision boards. She then spent the weeks after that eating ice cream and watching daytime TV. A month after leaving her job, she was in full panic mode. "I'm a 31-year old woman!" She would say during her panic sessions
She'd been in the corporate industry for close to eight years and had a great command of processes, the right amount of taking initiative and respect for hierarchy. When the second month after she had left her job to find her own Philip was about to end, she heard about a two-month internship with a stylist/designer/fashion editor.
She had always loved clothes and putting them together, so she took the job. The post had no pay. It turned into a year's full-time employment. My friend now runs a fashion consultancy cum small boutique where she engages with young designers and though not everyday is like those three 2010 soccer days, she is happy everyday.
Experience is an important feature for employers because it's insurance. For most it's even more important than formal training. All they need to know is that a prospective employee can successfully carryout tasks. You want to be a graphic designer? Design and know all your tools. Writers write. Be an action person.
For some employers hypothetical job experience done on hypothetical briefs for hypothetical clients is not enough. They need to know that you can function it a team, lead and follow.
This is where internships and learnerships come in. They are a great way to learn new skills and make for great entry into an industry. Not only do you walk away with valuable experience and an inside look and your dream industry you also make contacts.
You set the building blocks for your reputation in an industry. Internship level is also a wonderful place to find out if you're made for your dream job -- stripped of all the glamour outsiders often seem to see in careers. Another thing to note about internships is that they usually have no pay but some companies will give transport compensation.
A relevant internship with outstanding testimonials always makes for good reading for prospective employers.