Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Top 5 Tips for Avoiding the Catch-22 of Work Experience

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There is nothing more excruciating than not receiving work experience because you don’t have any work experience. By all means, if you have the contacts and the resources to secure work experience, then use them to your advantage. If like I was, you’re starting with no contacts at all, then have a think about some of the top tips below, and see if you can avoid that catch-22 of work experience.

1) Volunteer

By far the easiest way to gain initial experience is by working for your University/School. This could be by applying for a role on the University newspaper or magazine, working on events days or any other work for the University that will give you the key transferable skills, and will look great on your CV.

2) Local work experience

Usually, this will be easier than trying to gain a placement at a large well-known company. Therefore, do your research and have a look at what publishing companies are local to you. For example, I found a book publisher local to my hometown. I applied there and I was accepted shortly after. This meant that I was able to complete some work experience there when I was at home during summer. Additionally, because they were a smaller local company, my placement was a bit more flexible and cost me nothing in travel. So have a look on Google and see what companies are local to you.

3) Add originality to your application

Have a think about how you can be original with your application and/or how to show off your knowledge of the company. If you’re going for an editorial role, along with your application, send off a sample article that you would like to be published by the company – something original, which will suit their target audience. An employer will like the fact that they can ‘try before they buy’ as it were.

4) Send a personal letter (if possible)

It is difficult to do this for all of the companies that you apply for, but for the ones that you’re really passionate about, and especially the ones that give you a personal name to send your application to, then send them a letter instead of an email. It is much more personal and it will set you apart from the masses that email. Make sure you attach a cover letter, gearing it towards the company and really show off your knowledge of them.

5) Don’t give up

This may sound like an obvious tip, but the point is you need to be persistent. There is no use applying to only two companies per week, where applications are fiercely competitive. Of course, you should apply to wherever you like, but at the same time, you need to send out as many applications as you can because there is no room to be meticulous.

Of course, you can also use my blog and some of my other published work to receive some more advice from me. Specifically, look at my blog page ‘Where Do I Start?’ follow my advice and I’m sure like me, you’ll gain plenty of work experience. Some of my readers have already tweeted me and sent me emails about their work experience success stories when you get yours, get in touch. I’d love to hear from you.

Good luck in securing those initial work experience placements.

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