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How to: Get work experience May 24, 2008

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , , ,

How to: Get work experience.

Work experience is an invaluable set of skills and adventures to add to your CV, and having experience in the job area you want is looked on very positively by employers. Essentially it shows that you’ve taken the time and effort to find out about the jobs you want to do, and have been interesting enough for other companies to look at. That said, work experience is tough to get if you don’t know someone in the industry, so here’s my guidelines (from experience!) to finding a few positions.


Boring as this sounds, making lists of the possible companies and areas you want to get experience in the first step to finding a week long slot, or making some contacts in the business. I made long lists of advertising agencies and companies, and took it from there. And when I say a long list, I mean pages of everything from massive companies to the teensy little ones – all have different sets of skills and abilities to equip you with.

Make sure to use ALL your contacts.

Don’t pass up asking someone you know as cheeky, and always dig into your friend’s supply of family. Also, if you work for a company that has another area similar to what you are interested in, your boss will quite likely be able to put a good word in for you getting some experience. Nepotism is a vital tool and if you have the opportunity to use it, do. If you don’t know anyone doing what you want, however, don’t dispare – sheer determinism and a willingness to do whatever is asked of you (even if it’s only in related fields) will get you there.

Apply to (and email) EVERYONE.

Sitting back and waiting hopefully isn’t going to make anything happen. You need to put together a good CV (see your careers service at university, or even local companies committed to helping students get experience – i.e. www.prospects.ac.uk if you need to, they are dedicated to helping graduates or those who show that they are eager) and set up a great cover letter that tells people all about you and what you want. Then email or apply for all the work experience your research has thrown up, and email companies even if they don’t explicitly say they do work experience placements- it’s quite likely they do but keep it secret!

Do whatever it takes. Be creative, off the wall – just look at this CV I did especially just to impress people. If you keep asking “what makes a perfect CV”, ask for help!

4. Keep trying. Both local companies, dedicated projects/programmes and multinationals are worth exploring. Oh, and you could even go travelling for work experience – both America and Australia are possibilities if you’re adventurous and determined. Internships, voluntary work, and anything unusual or distantly related are valuable advantages.

I promise, eventually you will find something… and having one work placement under your belt will lead to more.

Final point – enjoy it once you get it. Volunteer for the dogsbody jobs, put a lot of effort it and who knows – you might even get offered a job at the end!



1. grezakster - May 26, 2008

Oh God, the irony of this post. I just had a very miserable week (well, 3 months) of trying to find a job. I’m only a rising sophomore in college so it’s harder. The wall street job market in NYC is sparse because of the faltering stock market. My temp job at AIG didn’t pull through because of it. All retail places I’ve attempted didn’t call back.

2. mysterycreature1 - May 26, 2008

God that sounds like a nightmare Grezakster! Not fun. Even so though, it’s keeping going that will find you one! Best of luck!

3. OneStep - June 16, 2008

I went down the same kind of route a long time ago – it’s paid of greatly since.

I even got my initial UCAS offer reduced on the strength of my technical work experience!

4. mysterycreature1 - June 18, 2008

Thats good. I’m a bit later than that stage, I’m just coming up to graduation and have been finding work experience for my last year. But I think I finally have quite an impressive cv, which is all down to work experience, and being bothered to work through uni.


5. OneStepAheadCV - July 10, 2008

I’m always shocked how many people don’t work through Uni – it’s so easy to do!

Well done! Good luck in your future career!

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