Why work experience will land you your dream job
Posted by: Alex
Published: Friday, October 28th, 2011
If you haven’t done any work experience yet, you must add it to the top of your to-do list. Right. Now. It is an essential step everyone should take on the path to finding their ideal career. Plus is helps your CV stand out from the crowd.
You are sorely mistaken if you think you don’t need to do any work experience – not only does partaking expose you to potential employers and look great on your CV, but it gives you experience that you can’t buy, learn or read about anywhere else. It is a chance to see the inner workings of companies and gain insight into professional environments. And trust us, the goings on and dynamics within businesses are very different to how they appear from the outside.
In order to line up a valuable work placement, you might have to put in some time to find the right organisation and convince them to take you on. Here are some tips on how to go about it:
1: Think about what you enjoy doing (both in school, at your casual job and in your free time) and ask your teachers/bosses what kinds of careers are linked with those areas. The internet is an excellent resource that can be very helpful to do this.
2: Ask a mentor (teacher, parent, someone you admire) to help you write down a list of your strengths, as this might give you some idea of what type of work you would be good at.
3: Once you have an idea of a job or industry that you’re interested in, do some research to put together your relevant “wish list” of companies or organisations in your area. This may involve making a few phone calls, browsing online and picking up the trusty old Yellow Pages. And don’t be afraid to just walk into to offices and enquire at the front desk if the company offers work experience. Ask for the contact details of the person who coordinates placements. It is amazing where you can get by nicely asking someone face-to-face.
4: With your work experience wish list in hand, you can now write a letter or email to the appropriate person (the managing director if you’re not sure), setting out your request and explaining why you are interested in their company. And follow this up with a phone call a few days after they’ve received it. You should keep it brief, be very polite and first ask if they remember getting your email and if there are any work placements available.
5: When you secure a placement, make sure you find out before what your role will be, if there is anything you should prepare for and what hours you will be working. After you’ve completed your placement, sit down and make a list of what you enjoyed and what you didn’t like about your experience. This should help you make a decision about further experience and your future career. If all of your feedback is positive, ask the organisation if you can do some more work experience, or even part-time work in your holidays.