Build Experience

Step Four: Build Experience

Don't get trapped in a career you don't love. In Step 4 of the exploration process, you’ll start acquiring real-world experience in the field you’re most interested in. You’ve already researched careers with our IU Career Guides in Step 3, which means now you can focus on the opportunities that will accelerate your career planning.

Best of all, we classify the work you’ll do in this step as experiential learning—which means you can leverage it as marketable experience on your resume.

Ways to build experience and enhance your resume

Getting involved with any student organization can help you to gain experience and network with students who have similar interests and goals. Look for the Student Involvement Fair at the beginning of each semester to investigate a variety of options. Keep in mind that you can join a student organization any time of the year.

Visit your career advisor,, or the Get Experience section of the Career Guides to explore the various student groups on campus.

With over 800 student organizations, from the Environmental Law Society to the Sweet Potato Club, you'll be able to find something that you can get excited about at Indiana University. 

Some clubs have clear ties to a possible future careers, however, all of them can help you to build transferrable skills. For many student groups, part of their mission is to help members with career development.

Start your search for internships as early as your freshman year. Make the summer between your freshman and sophomore year count. Visit your career coach and the Student Employment website to learn more about strategies for finding the perfect internship.

The workforce gender equity gap is multifaceted and real. Learn how career development can help you challenge the status quo, build valuable experience, and advocate for your career through IUB Women Rising.

Part-time jobs not only provide a paycheck but also create opportunities to explore your career journey. If you haven’t received a work-study award, don’t worry! There are plenty of non-work-study jobs available on and off campus too.

Work study is a form of federal financial aid that can be earned through part-time student employment. Learn more about work study jobs on the Student Employment website.

Service Learning is a component of some classes, allowing students to help the community and apply what they are learning in the classroom and gain real-world experience.

Many academic departments and schools include a service-learning component in their curriculum. When registering for classes look for service-learning courses and sections of courses that include a service-learning component. You can also visit your academic or career coach to learn more. 

A list of service-learning courses can be found in the Office of the Registrar's Special Course Listings (choose the current semester and then select "Other Special Course Offerings")

Study abroad experiences are a popular option with students, but did you know they are extremely valuable for developing your future career?

Students often think of study abroad as an opportunity for personal growth and developing a broader global, cultural understanding.  These benefits can also help you with your career discernment and development process by immersing your in foreign languages, global cultures, internships, and strengthening transferable skills in an international context.

According to the Office of Overseas Studies, “At Indiana University you can make overseas study a part of your regular degree program, whatever your major. You can spend an academic year, semester, summer, or even a few weeks abroad while earning IU credit.” If you are considering studying abroad, be sure to meet with an advisor in the Office of Overseas Studies.

If you've never done it, looking for a summer job may seem intimidating, but it's really not. Summer is a great time to explore the world of work and build transferable skills that will transfer from one job to another. Doing something fun should be a priority.

Visit the Student Employment website for more information.

Undergraduate research is a great way to combine academic interests with hands-on experiences.

You don’t have to be a graduate student to start conducting research. Many academic departments offer research opportunities to undergraduates. Not only can you gain hands-on experience through research, you can also explore new, creative ideas and investigate real-world problems and issues. It’s a great way to start building experience for your resume.

You can start reading about the fascinating research happening here at News at IU or the Journal of Undergraduate Research, which publishes annually through IU Scholar Works.

Volunteering with an organization you are passionate about can help personalize your time at IU. It is a great way to learn about specific fields and organizations, network with others, and develop skills.

You can visit IU Corps to learn more about volunteer opportunities in the Bloomington community. Volunteering can happen any time. Find something you love to do and get started right away.

IUB Women Rising

The workforce gender equity gap is multifaceted and real. The equity gap adds up to serious opportunity and economic losses over the course of a career lifetime. Learn how career development can help you challenge the status quo, build valuable experience, and advocate for your career.

IUB Women Rising

Get ready for your next opportunity

A student employee restocking an item in a retail store
A student employee working at a computer with a headset on
A student employee writing his initials on a schedule whiteboard

Write a Professional Resume

CDC Resume Tool

Tailor a Cover Letter

Cover Letter Guide

Prepare for an Interview

Interviewing Guide

Network to build experience

Hoosier Connections

HoosierConnections is a great way to connect with professionals to set up job shadowing opportunities and informational interviews. These help you start building on-the-job experience. Networking with professionals can also lead to internships and other experiences.



LinkedIn connects students and professionals to make them more productive and successful. The Indiana University Bloomington Alumni Group has over 225,000 members. It's a powerful tool and a great place to connect with professionals no matter what you are pursuing. Learn more through LinkedIn for Students.



Informational Interviewing

A 20 minute conversation will result in you learning more about the career field, will help you expand your network of career professionals and possibly lead to other contacts, or even jobs, within the profession.

Informational Interviewing Guide

Next Up: Step Five

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