20 years ago, it would’ve been a case of making a few phone-calls and getting your Mum or teacher to put in a good word for you. But now, work experience is a whole other ball game. As more and more people are graduating, opportunities for jobs straight out of university are becoming harder to come by. In steps the dreaded: work experience. So why do we need it now?
Well, look at it from the employers’ perspective. They want someone who can prove that they are worthwhile to the company. Sifting through over 50 applications for one job role means that you get the same buzz-words repeated over and over. If you have a section marked ‘work experience’, this is bound to get a big stamp of approval and will give you an edge against other prospective applicants.
It doesn’t just show that you’re self-motivated enough to get a placement, but if you have learnt a particular skill (Adobe software, Excel) then this is something the employer can potentially use. Not to mention the confidence you will gain from completing work experience.
Work experience isn’t just useful for your job applications. If you are a bit stuck on what route to take when coming out of university it can also broaden your knowledge and give you a real-life insight into what jobs are offering. For example, if you think you might want to go into the publishing industry, then you could apply for placements in newspapers, magazines, books etc. It is a fantastic way to narrow your choices down!
Here are my top tips when applying for work experience:
- Follow companies on Twitter.
A lot of companies such as IPC Media advertise their latest job/intern opportunities on Twitter, so get following! (You might want to filter out some of your angry rant tweets if so…)
- Update your LinkedIn profile
You can connect to different companies on LinkedIn and as soon as you get a placement, update your profile so that companies can see you are actively pursuing work.
- Always keep your CV updated
Obvious really, but you never know when you might find an amazing opportunity and need to send off a CV ASAP!
If you’re finding it a bit difficult tracking down placements, here are a few websites to get you started:
This has loads of information on different job roles and advertises lots of internships and placements
Amazing site if you are after any media-based job roles, which are notoriously difficult to come by! Updated daily, this should be your first stop.
Brilliant for searching for work experience placements in big companies. You can search in specific locations and then decide the length of time you want to do a placement for.