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5 top tips for students looking for work experience

This weeks blog is written by Molly Pritchard, Business and Management student at University of Central Lancashire. With a keen interest in PR and Marketing and one year left before graduation, she is currently on a placement with us at TigerFish PR. 

Here she shares some top tips for other students looking for work placements…

Gaining valuable work experience can improve employability, and give you a huge sense of understanding into the career you hope to pursue. With College Courses and University Degrees being mostly theoretical work, having the practical skills as well, can often be the decider at the recruitment and selection process. Whether it be a day shadowing someone within the industry or a year-long sandwich placement, it is definitely useful to explore different career paths and prospects before you set your goals on something which you don’t fully understand.

  1. Network
    Making connections is crucial within business, and when going on placement students often forget that you can learn much more from a company’s employees, than from the company itself. It can be both influential and interesting to absorb knowledge and skills from colleagues who have already “made it”. Also, it can be a great way to gain more opportunities within the future, as if you’ve made an impression you’re likely to be contacted first if something suitable becomes available, and knowing those already in the industry can be great for references.
  2. CV, Covering Letter and Interviews
    Before securing any type of work experience it is likely that the employer will want some information about you to ensure you are right for the role and the company. Make sure your CV shows off all the experience needed for the role, make sure your covering letter is specific to that company and role and make sure you are prepared at interviews, research your company and prepare in depth answers for common interview questions. It is also important to show your personality through all forms of communication as you may be perfect for the job description but may not fit the company’s culture.
  3. Make your own opportunities
    At most Universities there are advertisements for placements of all kinds. But if there is something you want to try out that seems unavailable through your sources accessible then speculative applications can be a way into organisations that don’t have work experience currently publicized. Most companies display contact details on their website, so it wouldn’t be hard to make a quick phone call or email to find out if there was any projects you could work on, plus it shows persistence and confidence.
  4. Always be prepared
    Whenever you have meetings with your employer or are going to work, always be prepared. Organisation is a key skill which most job roles either ask for, or presume you have. Bringing a pen and paper to a meeting not only shows that you are ready to begin work but it is also important to jot down any information needed for the work you will have to do (otherwise you may forget and find yourself asking questions which have already been answered).
  5. Don’t be afraid to ask questions
    However, don’t be afraid to ask questions as employers don’t expect students to know everything, which is why placements are so important as they allow practice and experience. If you don’t understand something within the job role, be honest and express your interest in improving on them skills.

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