The Trials Of Getting Work Experience

The job market is fierce. You don’t need to be told that. I am sure you’re reminded of it by a well-meaning relative who doesn’t understand why you went to university, every time you go home. Along with a good degree, employers are wanting more from students than ever before; extracurricular activities, volunteering, sports and of course, the dreaded work experience.

The expectations that students might have completed a placement or two over the summer is slightly unlikely. But that students will undergo hours of tea making and printing in order to put multiple placements on their CV.

With the fear that many people are ahead of you just because they’re confident with what they want to do can be overwhelming – so here are five tips for getting a placement and calming your nerves about employment (even if it is just for a little while.)


CV’s and Cover Letters
  • Perfect your CV and find a good cover letter style. There is no way around this. Writing a CV is by no means the most interesting thing you can do with your Saturday afternoon but it will pay off and be highly beneficial. Websites like The Guardian, Prospects and us here at Student Wire offer great advice and tips on how to make your CV stand out. Even if you don’t have the most experience, it’s about making what you do have count.
  • Network like crazy. There is a famous saying ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know’. Saying that to a student who has spent £9000 a year on tuition is a bit of a kick in the teeth but it is partially true. Use this to your advantage. Get yourself to careers days and networking events, hand out some CV’s and chat to future employers. Come armed with questions and be confident, it will make you stand out and smiling goes a long way.
Use your contacts
  • If you don’t know anyone high up in the industry you want to go into but know someone who works in a relating industry, ask if there are any opportunities for placements or internships. If there is anything you can do, do it. An employer would rather see that you have gone out to get some experience than receive a blank CV.
Self Confidence
  • Get used to talking yourself up and build your self confidence. Everyone remembers the pain of writing a personal statement for university. The sheer embarrassment of having to talk about your achievements and strengths for 1000 words. But the truth is, if you don’t believe in yourself why would an employer? The only way an employer will be able to pick you out is if you can articulate why you think you’re best for the job. It’s walking the very thin line of confidence and arrogance. Become familiar with the middle ground and you’ll have no problems. 
  • Don’t worry. Everyone has been in the position where they are in a room full of people who seem to know exactly where they want to be in five years and already have all the credentials to get there. The reality is they probably don’t and feel exactly the same as you, they just mask it better. Utilise your student position and begin to build up your experience and reputation.


Don’t panic. Once you get the ball rolling with finding placements it gets easier, and you become more comfortable with the atmosphere. 

Feel free to let us know if you have any extra tips!!

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