9th Oct 2012
How to... Get A Work Placement
In a competitive jobs market gaining as much experience as possible is crucial to put you ahead of the competition. Work experience is also an invaluable insight into whether or not a particular job is right for you and is an excellent opportunity to make contacts.
WHEN TO APPLY
Work experience placements in popular industries often book up months in advance. It’s particularly important if you are looking for a placement that you know might be popular (if it’s a well-known company), to get in early and ahead of your peers.
BRUSH UP ON YOUR CV
If you’ve already worked before then you’re halfway there, and you just need to spruce up your CV a bit. If you’ve not worked before, you’ll need to make a CV out of what feels like nothing. But be creative with your experiences and as long as they aren’t totally irrelevant, and they can be used to prove you’ve gained or improved skills, then you can put them on your CV. Crucially, CVs also need to be tailored to the company you’re applying to. A great thing to do to show employers that you’re on the ball, is to set up a LinkedIn account.
ASK FRIENDS AND FAMILY
People you already know can be a really useful source of unexpected help in pursuing your chosen career, or even finding out what career path you want to take. Perhaps one of your course mates had a great placement last year, or maybe one of your family friends happens to work in a place that’s similar to one you’re interested in.
GET HELP FROM YOUR UNIVERSITY
Your careers department should have a whole library of resources on hand to help you get an idea of what companies do good work experience schemes and how to get them.
Some companies will have an online application form for you to fill out. If this is the case, make sure you read the questions carefully as sometimes these are designed to make you slip up. Be honest about why you want to work there, and do your research on the company and what they do.
Employers and people who take on work experience love it when people show initiative. A great way of applying for work experience is to find out who organises work experience from their website, and ring them up to ask if they have any spaces left. If you call them rather than just sending off a cold-email, they’ll get a better idea of your personality (and phone manner) and they are more likely to remember you.