5 Steps to getting work experience:
1. Make a plan.
2. Prepare your introduction.
3. Have a CV.
4. Make contact.
5. When the employer says yes.
Getting the right work experience, along with a sound qualification, can make you invaluable to employers. Many employers will want to keep employing an intern who impresses them – even though they didn’t initially think they had a job to offer. Gaining work experience can help to develop many skills [working under pressure, interpersonal, communication, decision making skills, showing flexibility etc]. We hope the following hints and tips will help you get started on your new and exciting career path.
This will become your blueprint to finding a successful work experience placement. Make sure your plan includes companies in the type of job you are interested in. Make a list of companies and organisations that suit you either by looking at company directories or the Golden Pages.
Include the following in your plan:
• Names, addresses and contact details of organisations you would like to work for.
• Outline the available hours you have to work – if you are only free on weekends, check if the business is open during your available time. If the business works late evenings can you be available for any/all of these. Be sure you aren’t expected to work very long hours or run yourself ragged.
• Remember - some work placements are paid, some aren't, it depends on the job.
• Put a time limit on when you want your work placement to end – if you are only available for 6 weeks then you will want to let the employer know this.
How are you planning to present yourself to potential employers? Remember first impressions are made very quickly and getting it wrong, at this stage, can be very difficult to come back from. Always dress professionally when making a personal introduction – be clean and presentable.
Plan what you want to say and prepare any information you might want to bring along – qualifications, cover letter, CV etc.
Tailor your CV and cover letter to suit each company. A generic CV can be off-putting to employers – remove anything that isn’t relevant to the company/job you want to do. You will find more CV writing tips by clicking here.
Talk to your training centre about any employers they may have links with – employers will often ask colleges about their students. Talk to friends and family to see if anyone has a contact that could be useful (after all, 70% of jobs are not advertised!). Use the seasonal rushes to your advantage (Christmas) – many employers have additional needs during short term seasonal changes. Tell them what type of job you're interested in and when you're available for work experience.
Before you start work experience check with your employer the hours you're supposed to work, what you should wear and who your contact person is at the company or organisation. Always arrive on time. When you start, ask about exactly what tasks they expect you to do. Clarify what is expected of you and if you have any questions about the work, don't be afraid to ask, as the employer will be happy to have you ask a question rather than do something wrong.