Monday, 18 July 2011

Top 5 Tips to get you prepared for applying to work placements

Sometimes, applying for work experience/internships can be very time consuming. In order to minimise the time consumption, check out the top 5 tips below and finally prepare all your documents in advance.  

1) CV
As I’ve said previously, it is important to keep your CV up to date, and to make sure that it is geared towards your desired career (publishing). Even small lines that you can tag onto the end of your CV profile, such as ‘Once I graduate, I hope to gain a career in publishing’, will make a difference for the person reading it. However, you can be even more specific and concise and state, ‘Once I graduate, I hope to become a publicity assistant’ etc.
I will be writing more about CV composition and style in a future post, so watch this space!

2) Cover Letter
When you’re applying for work experience they often ask for a cover letter – specifically in larger companies such as Penguin and Vogue. A cover letter should be aimed specifically at the company, why you would like to work/to do experience for them etc, whereas a CV is more generic in comparison. The sufficient length of a cover letter is half to a page long, as this prevents any reader from getting bored – they probably have many applications to look through and you want yours to stand out. Personally, I usually start with a brief biography, why I want to work for the company and what I have to offer, this usually takes up half to three quarters of a page. Additionally, I would include anything that may benefit my application – talking about my blog and published articles etc.

3) Portfolio
This tip is really magazine/journalism specific. Many work placements in journalism ask for a sample of your portfolio (previous articles you have written). So, it would be beneficial to get started on a portfolio as soon as you can. It can even take the simple form of a word document. Work hard on your portfolio as this will be the crucial part of the application that employers will look at. It’s a good idea to get started as early as possible. Any school/university newspaper or magazine will be a great and easy way to get published. Be careful as this area is about quality rather than quantity!

4) Blog
Another tip, which is again magazine/journalism specific, is to create a your own personal blog.This can take form as your portfolio or a second way for an employer to analyse your writing. There is no harm in having either and even better have both. For example, I have chosen to start a blog to document my journey from student to intern, whereas my published works such as, short stories and book reviews are all in my portfolio. It is entirely up to the individual.
If you do have a blog which is not acting as your portfolio, it is still a ‘nice’ thing to mention in your application – remember if you do this, you should fully proof read and check your writing style, as potential employers will read it! (I should thank a fellow student of mine who pointed out a very big typo to me! Now, I make sure I write all my blog posts in Word Processor first!)

5) Optional additions
Provide a ‘Sample Article’ of something you have been working on that fits well to the magazine/website you would like to write for. For instance, if you’re particularly passionate about features, write a features article and explain this is the kind of article you’d like to write and have published in the magazine – the employer may love it and it shows a bit extra dedication!

1 comment:

  1. Couldn't resist quoting this text...

    '..i've been checking out your blog, it's so good and really helpful! Applied to a few more (work placements) this morning, and changed my cover letter after reading your hints! Whoop!' (Arabella)