Thursday, 5 May 2016

Career Confusion: how to get work placements.

Firstly, I want to begin by saying that this post isn't meant to be arrogant or self-righteous in the slightest. Since gaining several placements at well known establishments such as Cosmopolitan and The Times; lots of people have asked me how I managed to bag work experience - so here's how:

  1. Update your CV - Having an up-to-date CV is critical when applying for work experience. This is your chance to best showcase your skills and talents; you need to prove why you're passionate about gaining this experience and why you will be awesome at it, too! I would recommend writing your CV in a professional, but passionate and enthusiastic manner. Also, I have found it helps to add a bit of slight colour to your CV - perhaps a colourful border or title headings - remember, 1,000s of people are probably applying for the same placement as you so this is a great way to spice up your CV and make it stand out from the crowd.
  2. Research who to contact - Make sure you do a bit of research and find the relevant address / email to submit your CV and cover letter to. Sending an application to the wrong address may result in your work getting lost in the post or a bad first impression - you don't want to appear lazy.
  3. Do some background reading - Make sure you know the background of the company you are applying for experience with. This is crucial as large companies will have 1,000s of people applying therefore you need to prove why you are best for the job. Lots of other applicants will be passionate about the company therefore you need to be able to show the same, but ideally, more passion than everyone else - having a key understanding of the company or brand will help prove this.
  4. Write a cover letter - When you apply for work experience I would always recommend attaching both a CV and cover letter - even if the application only asks for a CV. Once again, this enables you to highlight your passion for the placement and also gives you the chance to showcase a bit of your personality by introducing yourself in a slightly less formal way than your CV.
  5. Be flexible - As I have found, major companies and brands have no time to be going backwards and forwards with you in terms of dates - they can easily and happily find someone else to do the placement if you cannot make the date they suggest. On more than one occasion I have taken time out of university to attend placements and whilst this was risky because it meant added pressure in terms of keeping up with uni deadlines; it was 100% worth it. If you want it that much; you won't hesitate over something minor, such as a date.
  6. Be persistent - Busy companies get tonnes of emails and applicants through their PO Boxes daily and therefore don't be discouraged if you don't get an instant reply. I would suggest waiting a month or so and if you are yet to receive a response, contact them once more. If anything, persistence shows how keen and passionate you are.
  7. Don't give up -  If you want something enough; prove it - work for it and you will succeed. 

I hope this is of help to anyone struggling! x


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