City : Work Experience World : How to get Work Experience
There are a number of different ways of getting work experience. The information below and the steps on the progress tracker will lead you through the process.
Step One: Decide what you want to do
If you already know then great! If not don't worry, ask yourself these questions which should help you decide. Alternatively you could head over the Careers Advice building or check out the online aptitude tests on the “What job am I suited to?” floor.
- What type of industry would you like to work in?
- What type of work sounds interesting? (If you know anyone who does an interesting job, talk to them about it. Does it sound like something you might enjoy?)
- What makes you happy (What activities, school subjects, hobbies)
- What size company do you want to work in?
- What opportunities are available near you?
- What can you see yourself doing in 5 years?
Step 2: How to apply
How to apply will depend on the type of work experience you are applying for:
Through an agency:
The agency will usually have their own process for applying and they can advise you on what forms need to be filled out and how to do them.
On your own:
If you know where you want to apply and they haven't publicised then you should go to the office and ask to speak to a manager or head of HR. You should bring an up-to-date copy of your CV and a cover letter (there is more advice on how to write these two in the CV Hothouse). Make sure you’re clear in your head about all the skills you can offer them and why you want to work for that particular company (this is where your research will come in handy!).
Your career aspirations
If you know what career you would like to go into, then this should be a key factor in choosing the right work experience for you.
If you have identified a particular job then you can look at current vacancies for this job online to review the person specification and requirements.
If you are not sure what you want to do, then select a career you think you might be interested in and use your work experience to found whether it is right for you.
What type of working environment is right for you?
- Would you like to work in a shop, hospital, school, hairdressers, office, television or design studio, building site, garage, or maybe a laboratory?
- Do you want to work indoors or outside?
- Would you prefer to work in a small team or for a large organisation? Both have their benefits.
Finding the right working environment is really important. You can find out more about the organisation you are interested in by checking out their website and social media platforms e.g. facebook, Twitter etc.
Current skills and skills gaps
Try to find work experience that will give you the opportunity to enhance your existing skills and develop new ones.
To do this, it is a good idea to think about your current skills, your strengths and weaknesses and prioritise a few that you would like to improve during your work experience.
Think about your transferable skills like team work, presentation skills, communication, as well as more specific job skills like knowledge of processes or activities specific to a particular career.
Your values, interests and motivations
It is really important to review any work experience opportunities you consider in terms of your value base, interests and motivations. These are basically your core beliefs, the things that make you ‘tick’. If you end up selecting a position which conflicts with your beliefs you may find yourself in disagreement with the working practices and functions of the organisation you are working for. Watch out because it can be really uncomfortable and anxiety provoking when you have to work day in day out in an organisation whose ethics are fundamentally against your own.
As with your values, interests and motivations, it can be difficult to work in a job or an organisation which does not reflect your own personality preferences.
- If you like working and interacting with people do not select a work experience placement where you are working in isolation for a lot of the time.
- If you are an innovative and self starting individual make sure any position you consider give you the flexibility to come up with new ideas and to work independently.
- If you like to check things over with others and learn best when you have clear line of support, make sure your post includes a supportive line management, supervision or mentoring element.
When you apply make sure you give as much information about yourself as you can.
Make sure that you hand in the application before the deadline if there is one!
Step Three: Interview
In some cases you may have to complete an interview for a work experience placement. You should treat this like an interview for a permanent job, and the advice for succeeding can be found at the Interview Park.
Step Four: Preparing for your placement
- Plan how you will get there. Try doing a dry run and figure out how much you will spend on transport. Make sure that you have enough money with you to get there and back and for your lunch if you need it.
- Google Maps
- Bracknell Forest Buses
- The Train Line
- Make the employer aware of any health or medical problems you may have.
- Find out as much as you can about the company before you get there.
- Research them on the internet.
- Prepare what you are going to wear the night before so you don’t have to decide in the morning.
- Enjoy it!