Unfortunately, in today’s job market, having a degree, A-levels or relevant training isn’t often enough to land the ideal job. Employers are looking for candidates who show their enthusiasm through going the extra mile. This includes work experience, volunteer work and similar. If you need some work experience but have no idea where to start, have a look at these top tips.
Get on the Blower
Many companies will take people on for work experience without advertising it on their website or job boards. In a same way that it’s worth speculatively applying for jobs, it’s very worthwhile calling and emailing round some companies. Make sure you express that you could be helpful in some way – performing admin or doing something a little more related to your expertise. You may get better results than you expected.
Contact Small Companies
Many people assume that only big companies take on people for work experience. It’s actually well worth trying for small companies. They are less inundated with applications than big companies and are often a lot more flexible in terms of when you can come in. They also have less staff, meaning that they may give you some more important duties. It also means you will be rubbing shoulders with high-up employees, instead of going to a big company and never seeing the big cheese. These factors combined mean a smaller company could lead to you a more valuable experience.
The Early Bird Catches the Worm
A lot of people out there have similar ideas to you and want to get a placement. If you think you might want to do work experience in a year’s time – apply for it now. Companies often book work experience candidates a long time in advance because demand is high. The higher your availability – the more likely you are to be able to secure a placement.
Take What You Can
During your search you may come up against companies that can’t fit you in. It may be useful to ask to come in just for a day or so. This could either be on a weekly basis, e.g. every Friday for six weeks, or you could request a one-off day. Single visits but to numerous companies could actually be more beneficial, as it will show you different ways that businesses operate in your chosen field.
Volunteering doesn’t always involve painting classrooms or working in soup kitchens – although if that appeals to you then go for it. Charities and non-profit organizations still need things done such as accounts, marketing, admin, PR and more. They are much more likely to welcome help – especially if it won’t cost them a penny. This way you can help a good cause and help enhance your CV at the same time. For volunteering opportunities, have a look on vInspired.
Kevin Belliway is a resume writer at online resume services and an independent HR consultant. He spent two years living abroad and has a travel blog. His dream is to create a free course for students and adults on how to build a dream career.