In the market for work experience? If you’re not eligible to apply for formal vacation programs or paid internships, your aim could be get unpaid work experience – it’ll make you a more competitive applicant when you can apply for the paid stuff.
Whatever your objective, finding and securing work experience can require a similar approach to looking for a graduate job.
You’ll need to:
- Find and analyse opportunities – what’s relevant and realistic
- Be ready with your resume – skills based and up-to-date
- Have an idea of what to say to employers – such as why you’ve targeted their particular organisation in the first place
Here’s some more steps to consider when looking for work experience:
Step 1 Identifying organisations
One quick way to identify organisations employing people in roles connected to your studies is to look at advertised opportunities. If you know a company has a marketing team, for example, you can potentially approach them to find out if they ever take on students for work experience.
An advertised position might also provide a relevant person’s name, job title and contact details, making it easier to approach an organisation.
If you’re not on LinkedIn – join. Then, if organisations identify staff on their company website, do a search on LinkedIn to find out more about their backgrounds.
Develop a relationship with your lecturers. Talk to lecturers from units where you’ve done well and let them know if they’re ever contacted by industry – seeking engaged students – you’re very keen to gain work experience relating to your studies.
Go to information sessions or industry events. Make the most of every opportunity to build up your connections.
Step 2 Identifying your strengths
Prepare a list of your strengths, interests and career goals, and use this as the basis for a letter of speculation; a cover letter seeking out work experience opportunities. Don’t forget to consider your availability, and to let a potential work experience provider know you can provide work experience insurance.
Keep a folder of relevant jobs of interest – the point being to keep up to speed with the skills, and type of person, employers are looking for.
Step 3 Identifying your target audience
The more knowledge you have of a company, the more interested they may be in meeting you.
Find out about what they do – aside from knowing they employ people in your field of study. Go further than a simple website check, see if they’re listed on LinkedIn or other social media channels.
If you’re wary of connecting with potential work experience providers, try our Stop Googling, Start Networking module. Other related modules include What is your personal brand? and How do I get to know my industry? Modules are fun and interactive, and take about an hour at most to complete. It’s easy to access the Curtin Challenge modules, just log in with your student login and click on the Careers Challenge.