Does anyone have any tips for how someone not currently enrolled in school could get research experience? I've looked at universities near me, but it seems the research labs only hire undergrads/master's students at their institution. I never took advantage of these opportunities when I was a student, as I never anticipated developing such an interest in research/academia later on.

I'm not looking to get paid; I really just want to be able to prove on my applications (probably waiting a cycle for this very reason) that I am focused, as my profile would currently show both minor research and teaching experience in other concentrations, and as I said, the decision to pursue a Ph.D. came together later, rather than being some lifelong dream I always geared my choices toward. I worry that I will come across as not knowing what I'm getting into, not having the necessary passion, or not having refined enough research interests. I consider it especially concerning that I have a Master's degree in Strategy, but pursued no research experience at that time.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.