City : Work Experience World : How to get Work Experience
How do I actually get work experience?
You can get work experience through your school or college, or you can try and get work experience yourself:
If you're getting work experience through school make sure to check with your tutor or careers advisors to find out how it works.
If you're hoping to get work experience on your own, check out the four steps below to see how to find opportunities and apply...
Step 1: Decide what you want to do
If you already know what experience you'd like then great, head on to steps 2, 3, and 4!
If not don't know, don't worry! Ask yourself the questions listed below to help you decide. Think about how the work experience you choose will give you the opportunity to enhance your existing skills and develop new ones.
(Alternatively you could check out the Careers Advice Centre for help discovering which career is right for you!)
- 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? (Think about activities, school subjects, and hobbies you do!)
- 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: Search and apply
To apply for work experience you can either find an advertised opportunity or ask the company or organisation you're interested in directly.
You can search for work experience opportunities to apply to online through O2 Go Think Big and Not Going To Uni. You can also search for local opportunities with the BBC, working in TV or Radio, or The National Trust.
If you're contacting companies or organisations directly to ask about work experience make sure to contact a member of the HR or recruitment team, and address them directly by their name.
Below we've listed some top tips for sending in a direct application...
- Research the company well and see what sort of skills they might want to see from you, or would be able to teach you.
- Update your CV so it's accurate and relevant to what you're applying for.
- Write a clear and direct Cover Letter explaining why you'd love to gain work experience with them and what experience you would like.
- Be specific with what experience you're looking for and why you are particularly interested in their work.
- Explain a bit about yourself and your previous or current qualifications.
- Always be polite and respect that they may be busy - it's good to let them know you can be flexible.
- If you don't recieve a response in 1 - 2 weeks, send a follow up email to check it reached the right person. (But remember to be respectful of busy schedules!)
For further information on applying directly to employers, check out the advice on the Prospects website.
Step 3: Interview
In some cases you may have to attend an interview for a work experience placement.
You should treat this like an interview for a permanent job, and be professional, smartly dressed, and prepare some questions and answers.
For more advice on acing interviews, check out the Interview Park, and follow the guidance as if applying for a job.
Step 4: Preparing for your placement
If you manage to get a work experience placement, now it's time to prepare before you begin...
Plan how you will get there. Try doing a dry run and figure out exactly where to go and how much you will spend on transport. For help with finding out where to go and public transport links you can check:
Make sure that you have enough money with you to get there and back and for your lunch if you need it.
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.
Prepare what you are going to wear the night before so you don’t have to decide in the morning.