Getting a work experience placement is on a lot of student’s minds and for many is a requirement of their course. But finding one can sometimes be a daunting task.
Here are my tips on securing yourself a placement.
Start applying early
Some agencies that turned me away said it was simply because they have other students in that week. There will be a lot of students in a similar position, so start looking early so you’re the first one to apply.
It’s not always possible, I know. But if you have more of a variety of dates that you are available then there’s more chance of finding a time that will suit the company and yourself.
Have a strong CV
Company’s won’t expect a comprehensive skill set and lots of experience – that’s what you’re aiming to get from this. But your CV and cover letter must still highlight your strengths and show positively what you would bring to the workplace.
Make it personal
Don’t start letters or emails with To whom it may concern or even Dear Sir/Madam. Take time to research the relevant recipient online, or if not call the company and ask who work experience requests are directed to.
Using the university’s careers and employability service put me in contact with someone who would later come to accept my request of a placement. I’m sure other universities have similar services, so use them, there’s no shame in asking for help starting out.
Know what you want to learn
I was asked in both my placements what areas I’d like to work on or skills I’d like to learn. Putting this in your covering letter, or mentioning it in any correspondence you have will show that you are looking to progress and better yourself – that is, after all, one of the reasons people look for work experience.
If you don’t ask, you don’t get
Not sure that you’re good enough for a placement at the company you dream of working for? Let them decide that. If you don’t apply, the answer is always no. If they do reply and say no, you’ve lost nothing. If they say yes, brilliant!
Until next time…