Work experience is an important way to work out what you might like to do as a future career, develop skills which will be of use in any working environment and potentially supplement your income whilst you are studying. In today’s competitive job market, it’s a necessity to have work experience on your CV, but finding relevant work experience (either paid or unpaid) is not an easy task.

Have a look at the different types of work experience below: 

  • Insight Events or Webinars
  • Volunteering
  • Work Shadowing
  • Internships
  • Gap Year Programmes
  • Apprenticeships and School Leaver Programmes

Many students worry about finding work experience which is relevant to their university course or future career, however, we all know that finding these opportunities can be difficult, and that you might change your mind later down the line – does that mean the work experience you’ve done is irrelevant? NO! Finding any type of work experience which builds upon your key skills is far better than nothing at all. It’s about the skills you develop whilst on your work experience that counts more than the companies you did work experience at.

After any work experience you do, make sure you take down the contact details of all the people you met – you never know when these might come in handy, or when your paths may cross again. During the placement be a pleasure to work with and always go the extra mile by being proactive, staying that little bit later, offering your assistance to everyone you meet, and be somebody they would want to see again in the future. At the end, thank them for giving you the opportunity, and if anyone has been particularly kind or useful then a box of chocolates or bunch of flowers will ensure they remember you.

Boost your chances of securing work experiences by:

DOING THE RESEARCH. Identify the field of work which you wish to enter, be sure that the company you write to offers the role that appeals to you. Go on to the organisation’s website. Look for a jobs/careers section – you could apply for an advertised vacancy. Read about their culture and latest developments.

BEING SPECIFIC. Always address your letters to a person rather than a ‘Dear Sir/Madam’. You are much more likely to get a response.

GETTING ON THE PHONE. Telephoning the organisation and ask if they need any temporary help. Send a CV with a cover letter or covering email.

ASKING AROUND. What do your parents, friends’ parents, teachers, tutors do? Can they help or put you in touch with someone? State your availability. Give a potential start date and indicate for how long you can work.

BEING WILLING. Offer to volunteer, come in for just a few hours. If that doesn’t work ask if you can buy them a coffee, or even just have a 15 minute phone conversation with someone in your job role – who knows what doors this might open…

If you are looking for some advice on how to showcase your work experience on your CV, application form or in an interview, check out our article.