Our Guide to Work Experience

Worried about getting work experience? Here are our top tips for gaining that extra edge, and what to do once you’re there, whether it’s mandatory for your course or to jazz up your CV; we’ve got your back.

Do your research

Look at everywhere in your area that has anything to do with your profession. It doesn’t always have to be exactly what you want to do; if it’s in the same line of work, it’ll count as relevant experience. And, when you’re applying for work experience, it’s always good to know what the organisation is all about.

matilda
Put yourself out there!

Apply to everywhere you can find, even the ones that you don’t think will accept you. You’d be surprised at what can happen if you just dare to ask!

hermione

Be polite when asking

Sounds obvious, but a well-written email, in which you’re polite, and grammatically correct, can make the world of difference. Say who you are and what course you’re doing, explain why you want work experience with that company specifically, and thank them for their time. You never know- they might just invite you in for a week!

alice
Don’t give up

If you’ve not heard anything back or been rejected keep going! Apply to everywhere and anywhere, and when you don’t hear anything back, send follow-up emails; often messages get lost in people’s inboxes, particularly in busy companies.

joey-doesnt-want-you-to-give-up-because-dinosaurs-dont-give-up
Be prepared

Once you’ve inevitably got your yes (from somewhere, whether or not it’s your first choice) you should make sure you’re prepared. Pick out your smartest clothes (unless your work experience is agriculture based; in that case, pick out your favourite wellies) and get them washed and ironed in time for your placement. It’s true that you should never judge a book by its cover, but it’s equally true that if the cover is nice it’s more likely to make a good first impression.
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Do everything they ask you to (unless it isn’t legal)

No matter how menial the task, it’s important to do all jobs that the company asks you to. A sunny demeanour and a willingness to spend the day filing paperwork and making tea¬†or coffee could just earn you an invitation to go back and do more.
from Devil Wears Prada
At the end of your time there, ask if they’d be willing to have you back

The worst they can say is no! And the more experience you have, the more contacts you’ll have.

hungergames

Have you got more tips on how to navigate your way through work experience? Let us know in the comments or @UoGNewspaper!

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