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volunteering: get IA skills to get out of the no-experience trap

Pretty much every job ad asks for experience, which can make trying to break into a new field seem nigh-on impossible at times.

If you are trying to break into information architecture and hitting the ‘experience-required’ brick wall then consider doing some volunteering:

  1. The IA Institute is always looking for volunteers. There’s a list of opportunities on their website and most of them can be done anywhere in the world.
  2. Use the advanced search on do-it.org and select ‘computers, technology and website development’ to get results for charities looking for help with their websites. Or try idealist.org or the equivalent service in your part of the world.
  3. Approach a local charity direct and offer to help with their website. Usually they’ll be looking for help write, publishing and troubleshooting but you can start there and suggest other improvements as you go along.
  4. Get familiar with how people use technology – volunteer to help teach basic IT skills. Age Concern are currently looking for IT trainers and Help the Aged run a similar scheme. Schools and other community groups are often looking for help like this as well. Try the same computers search on do-it.org but narrow with the keyword ‘trainer’.

Volunteering gives you an opportunity to try out what you’ve read about, build up your portfolio and it is great experience at making IA improvements with a limited budget (or more normally, no budget). That’ll be attractive to any employer.

Written by Karen

June 24th, 2008 at 10:19 am

Posted in career,junior ia