‘Tis the season for work experience, vacation programs and internships! This is due to the fact that typically many of the bigger companies start to advertise their summer internship intake around the beginning of Semester Two. However, you don’t have to rely on getting an internship to get work experience. If you’ve got a bit of free time over your holidays, it’s a really great opportunity for you to approach companies that you are interested in working for and see if they will take on a work experience student. At the end of the day, the more work experience you have on your resume, the more employable you will be come graduation time.
Here are a few tips for approaching companies and applying for work experience.
Do your research. UniHub is a great place to start, especially if you are looking for a part-time job or course-related work experience. You can also do your own research – don’t feel like you can only approach household name companies. Smaller companies quite often take on work experience students, with potential added bonuses for you including experience in different areas of the organisation and more access to senior management.
Be strategic. Make sure you know what you want to get out of the experience, including skill gaps you’d like to fill. If you are clear as to why you want the experience, you will find it easier to write a convincing cover letter.
Determine the best way to apply. If you are approaching a small company, it may be worth going in person (make sure you dress the part!) with your cover letter and CV and be ready to explain why you’d like to work for the company. Most medium to large companies will have formal application processes and deadlines – make sure you are across all of these and get your application in on time. And we’ve said it once and we’ll say it again – write a tailored cover letter for each application.
Get insured. If you’ve found an unpaid work experience opportunity, you may not be covered by the company’s Personal Accident Insurance. Luckily, Curtin Careers, Employment & Leadership can provide current students in any year with free work experience cover insurance. Vacation or internship programs tend to be paid, so you won’t need additional insurance. For information on insurance eligibility criteria, read the Work Experience For Students information sheet available on UniHub.
Finally, know your rights. If you take on an unpaid work experience placement, it’s important to know your rights. There are strict guidelines around what constitutes work experience – please don’t hesitate to contact us with any queries or concerns.