Do you want the good news or the bad news?
The bad news:
No matter what anyone says, getting work experience is not easy. You’ve got to be ready to put in the hard yards and even then, there’s still no foolproof way to secure the placement of your dreams. If only!
The good news:
We’ve put our heads together and come up with our top 3 work experience hacks just for you! If you follow these tips, you’re bound to find work experience this summer 🙂
1. Simplify the CV
So you want to prove to whoever’s reading your CV that you’re the person for the job. Great.
You’ve crammed in every last detail and possible skill to showcase your brilliance. Not so great.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to fill your CV with endless lists of all your skills and previous experience. In fact, a more simplified approach demonstrates an ability to select relevant info. and tailor it to your employer – an important workplace skill. Which brings us to our next point.
TAILOR YOUR CV. So if you’re applying for work experience in a law firm, think about whether or not you’ll need to include a paragraph on your part-time babysitting job, for example.
Rather than talking at length about every job/hobby you’ve ever had, in lengthy sentences, just pick the relevant points and condense them. Your CV is going to be skim-read, so the important information needs to be easy to find.
It can still be handy to give an idea of what you’re like as a person though (CVs can be boring) so it doesn’t hurt to include a few personal interests.
Volunteering at a local charity is an excellent way to gain great experience and do some good all at the same time. Charities are almost always looking for volunteers to help out in all sorts of areas, from working behind the till, to campaigning. It’s well worth exploring this online. Here are a few sites to get you started:
British Red Cross
3. Apply speculatively & make the most of your contacts
As unfair as it may seem, a lot of work experience placements do come down to who you know.
But what if I don’t have any contacts?
You’d be surprised how many contacts you do have actually. Other than the obvious – parents, teachers, neighbours etc, you should also think about other people who you could have in your network without even realising it.
For example, if you’ve got involved in a youth scheme like Young Enterprise, you might be able to contact a couple of industry professionals. It doesn’t hurt to try – employers will value your tenacity and initiative.
Does your school invite outside speakers to give talks to your year group? Make sure you show enthusiasm for their subject and ask for their contact details at the end of the talk. You never know who could be handy to know, so make as many connections as possible, whenever you can.
I STILL don’t have contacts
There’s still hope!
Official work experience programmes can be few and far between, especially if you’ve left it a bit late and missed deadlines already. So apply speculatively i.e. contact local companies that you know of and just ask them. Don’t forget to use social media too – you’d be surprised how many opportunities are available through platforms like Twitter.
It doesn’t matter if they don’t have a ‘work experience’ section on their website. Lots of businesses, especially some of the smaller ones, might not have a fully-fledged scheme in place but this doesn’t mean they wouldn’t be happy to have you on board for a week or so.
Time to start making those connections! Don’t worry if you get a ‘no’. Everyone’s had them. We know you’re fabulous so just be enthusiastic, friendly and sincere and you’ll bag yourself some amazing experience before you know it.
Want more tips? Tweet @BoomEdStudent with any questions/comments. We ALWAYS respond.