February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 34

FUTURE LEADERS

A student delegate at the 2014
NRPA Congress networks with
other members from the field.

How Do I Overcome the Experience
Requirement on a Job Application?
Tips for students to improve skills and use knowledge beyond the classroom
By Mary Tapps, Jared Dowis and Tyler Tapps, Ph.D.

M

any students struggle with having the correct skill set or knowledge base for a job in recreation. Students continually hear the
calls for more experience; however, it is sometimes difficult to obtain such experience. While this presents a challenge for students
who may not have the work experience preferred, there are certain things they
can do to give themselves a competitive edge. Students can use current or future
skill sets and knowledge to bridge to their next professional endeavor.
Bridging is the process of preparing
yourself for your next position by developing the skill set necessary for that
position. When attaining full-time experience can be difficult, students can prepare themselves for that job opportunity
using R.B. Kauffman's bridging theory.
Skill Sets
In developing your skill sets, it is important to take advantage of your academic

32	 Parks & Recreation

advancements as well. Internships are a
way you can gain professional experience and begin networking contacts and
skills that relate back to the classroom.
Typically, internships are offered when
students have completed all course
work or during the summer of their
junior year. Scheduling the internship
after the course work makes it easier
for students to apply all the knowledge
learned throughout the curriculum.

| F E B R UA R Y 2 0 1 5 | W W W. N R PA . O R G

Perhaps one of the best ways to gain
skill sets would be to volunteer in your
community. Volunteering can give students a way to see work in a realistic
sense. Always keep in mind that when
choosing a place to volunteer, select
one where you would enjoy working.
Volunteering highlights your willingness to be involved with that facility.
Another way to advance your skill
set is to earn notable certifications.
Professional certifications allow students to bring more to the table in
job applications and interviews. At
Northwest Missouri State University, the faculty give students multiple
opportunities to complete concentration-appropriate certifications. Continuing your education is profession-



February 2015 - Parks & Recreation

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of February 2015 - Parks & Recreation

February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 1
February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 2
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