TOP TIPS FOR NAILING WORK EXPERIENCE
We’re sure all students are sick of hearing how important it is to get work experience and how tricky it can be when you also need to earn cash during the hols.
But, don’t underestimate its value – not only will it help you stand out in employers’ eyes and show you’re dedicated to that career, more importantly it could help you decide what you want to do.
How to get it
There are many ways of securing work experience without having to do an official internship.
Ask your parents’ friends, your friends’ parents, your lecturers if they have any friends in your chosen profession. If you’ve got a weekend / evening job – is there anyone there who might’ve mentioned knowing someone who works in what you’d like to do?
Your uni will have loads of links with local firms too, so make sure you ask them about placements and work experience weeks.
If all that fails, google the firms in your city that you’d be interested in and give them an approach. Our tips for how to make your CV stand out are just as relevant for getting work experience, so approach them in a unique way to make you stand out from the crowd.
If you’re feeling brazen, even nip in and ask the receptionist about work experience. Often they’re the gate holders so if you impress them you might even get an intro straight away. Make sure you’re looking the part though and have done your research already if you try this approach as you never know it might lead to an interview there and then. See our top tips for interviews HERE.
How to make a great impression when you’re there
A lot of the same advice for interviews applies for work experience too, smile, be friendly, enthusiastic and interested in what’s going on.
We know an ad agency where the first job for anyone on work experience is to make a brew for everyone in the office. This might sound like a simple task, but actually it gets the student talking to everyone in the office to break the ice and gives them something to focus on straight away by making sure they get the tea and coffee orders right. It sounds simple but if this placement means a lot, the simplest tasks can feel daunting!
So don’t think that any tasks you’re given are too basic and are a waste of time.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions and chat, within reason, to the people you’re next to. They can be a mine of useful info about how they started in that career and what tips they have about how to get into it.
Do speak up if you’ve finished something and ask for more to do, everyone loves it if you’re hungry for more!
Don’t be offended if you’re asked to do something again or given constructive feedback. If someone takes time to explain things to you then it’s a compliment as it shows they think you have potential and it’s worth their while helping you rather than just asking someone else to do it instead.
Turn up on time, don’t take too long for lunch and leave on time/ later if you’re needed. It’s common sense, but it really just shows willingness and enthusiasm. Two things potential employers love!
A lot of us at Brazen started off on work experience and if you’re here at the right time, we still hire after work experience trials. So if you’ve loved your week or your fortnight ask to see someone senior towards the end of your last day and ask about the possibility of upcoming positions and what the current recruitment process looks like.
Finally, we can’t imagine any employer would turn their nose up at a thank you card or balloon as a way of making sure you stick in their minds after your work experience
Team feedback about work experience:
Ellen Bradshaw, senior account manager:
“My first job came about through work experience, I impressed them so I ended up staying on for longer, which eventually led to a freelance position. I’d definitely recommend doing as much experience as possible throughout uni and the holidays, as this can open up lots of opportunities and help you make connections in the industry.”
Rick Hollister, senior account manager:
“I was always told to get stuck in during PR work experience as much as possible, and that’s probably what lead me to end up helping at client events during and ending up sleeping on my manager’s sofa twice in two weeks. Great way to show commitment…”
Emma Trimble, group director:
“I got into PR after meeting someone in a club who asked me to come and do work experience at his agency. I went in for three weeks, was offered a job and have never looked back since! #alwaysnetworking”
Brazen is offering five students 121 interview training by Brazen bosses; five will receive CV writing masterclasses and advice; and one lucky grad will get their own video CV created and filmed by Brazen LIVE, the agency’s in-house production studio, which is headed up by an ex-BBC and ITV producer.
The competition is open to students from all disciplines – just enter your details on firstname.lastname@example.org, tell the agency why you deserve Brazen’s help and what your personal ambitions are. Just make sure you enter before the deadline of June 29th 2018 and Brazen will do the rest. Good luck.
Want more information? Contact us here