Here you can find out more about the many benefits that are associated with Work Placement
Here you can find out more about the many benefits that are associated with Work Placement
What is work experience?
Work experience is a great opportunity that allows you to gain experience in the workplace, opposed to the classroom, which you’re most likely only familiar with. This small taste of what the working field is like, is a great way to discover whether that industry is something you’d like to work in, or if in fact it’s nothing like you’d imagined. At a young age, it is always expected that you know what you want to do with your life, but in reality, no one really knows! By accessing this experience early on, it can be very beneficial in determining what you really want from your future career. Some work experience opportunities may also come with pay, but nonetheless, there is no price on the value of having work experience.
Why should you take part in work experience?
As previously mentioned, work experience is a great opportunity that allows you to gain first-hand experience in the working sector. By discovering what’s for you early on, you can make the most of your time, working for what you want and where you want to be. In addition to this, having experience in the working environment can help develop your skills, which may further assist your access to the career you want. Such skills include time management skills, teamwork skills, leadership skills, presentation and communication skills, the ability to work with a diverse audience, working under pressure and so much more. These skills will not only assist your professional life, but your character as a whole. Having work experience on your CV is also a huge bonus when applying for jobs. Sometimes, work experience may be the determining factor between you and other candidates. If you have work experience, you are more likely to understand the work you’ll be tasked with much quicker and so, this is more desirable, as less training may be required. Moreover, having previous work experience shows your determination and passion to succeed in your future career.
If you take part in work experience and are able to make an admirable impression, you may also earn much more than experience. Some employers that you have completed work experience for may invite you to take part in an apprenticeship within the organisation, or even offer you a job! This may be something not accessible to others, particularly those who haven’t already worked within said organisations. Such opportunities may be considered rare too, particularly if you’re striving for a career in a ‘limited’ industry, where jobs don’t regularly become available in.
How to access work experience
There are many ways in which you can approach work experience. The main way to access work experience is via your educational institutes. If you’re in college or university for example, you may have courses or modules that enable you to apply for work experience, or placements as part of your studies. Placements are considered the same as work experience, however, as they are accessed through educational institutes, they may be considered more long term than generic work experience. By accessing work experience via educational institutes, you will likely have links to the industries that are more relevant to your interests, alongside firms that may otherwise not offer work experience to other individuals. By talking to the relevant staff member in your college, or university, they may be able to provide you with the information needed to apply for work experience and help find the role most relevant to you.
If you are not currently studying, work experience is still accessible to you! Educational paths are not for everyone, but this doesn’t mean you are excluded from these amazing opportunities. Fortunately, some institutes that are looking to host work experience may advertise this on local forums, or noticeboards in the area. Always keep an eye out for these, as an opportunity could come up at any time! Additionally, some firms may advertise on local websites, providing details on their ideal candidate and how to apply. Some examples include:
It may also be beneficial to look up opportunities online, as some businesses may advertise on their own websites. Searching something along the lines of ‘Lincolnshire work placements’ may give you access to further opportunities, or even searching ‘work experience at …’ for a specific business that you are interested in, could also provide you with relevant results.
Another way in which you could apply for work experience is by directly contacting the business that you’d like to work with. This is relevant to everyone, whether you are currently studying or not. By contacting a business directly, they will see that you are generally interested in the work that they do and this may help you stand out from others. It is not only beneficial to you, but to the hosting business too, as this may help increase their output, or enable them to give back to others, like yourself. There is no harm in asking and any attempt to contact businesses for work experience is great experience for you.
When applying for work experience, you should treat it as though you’re applying for your dream job. Employers want to see the skills and passion you have, alongside a thriving personality. If you are in an educational institute, it is likely that the staff around you will provide you with support with your application, but you can never have too much support.
Firstly, your CV is a very relevant part in your application. Your CV will likely be the first point of judgement from the employers, telling them a bit about yourself, your education and experience, alongside any additional skills you may have. Employers are looking to see your work ethic, your character and your punctuality within your CV. Don’t worry if you don’t have much experience, as you’re only young! You have a better chance of success if your CV portrays your passion and personality. For help on writing your CV, there are many resources online that can help with assisting the construction of your CV. Simply enter ‘how to write a CV’ into an online search engine for further support. One great example is https://www.cv-library.co.uk/career-advice/cv/how-to-write-a-cv-tips/.
If you wish to further develop the content in your CV and enhance your skill set, it is never too late. Volunteering is a great way to develop your personal profile and additional training, such as educational courses or basic medical training for example. For further information, read our Volunteering page.
Another significant part of your application is your cover letter. A cover letter enables you to inform the employer on why you are best for the role, what you know about the business and why you want to work for them. CV’s can seem very monogamous, especially if many applications are expected to be made. A cover note can drastically set you apart from other candidates, with some recruiters being more drawn to this than what your CV states.
Before writing your cover letter, it is important that you conduct research into the company to gain further knowledge on what you know about the business. This is particularly important if you plan to directly contact the business based on your own interests. Knowing about current business projects can really show the employer how interested and up to date with the business you are, significantly setting you apart from others. Due to some candidates, particularly in educational institutes, having to get a placement, or partake in work experience, they may simply be applying for the sake of it, opposed to really wanting the experience. Setting yourself aside from these types of applications significantly boosts your chance of success. Employers also want to know what you can offer them, as if you aren’t able to provide something they don’t already have, they may not be willing to take you on. In this section, you should explain what you are able to bring to the business, including your passion and enthusiasm, alongside any relevant skills or other experience you may have. This shouldn’t seem too alike your CV, but written in a way to catch the employers attention. If possible, try and keep your cover note fairly short. Being concise and precise is a great way at getting your punctuality across. For further support on writing your cover letter, simply enter ‘writing a cover letter’ into a search engine, A few examples include:
The final steps
If you’ve managed to capture the interest of a potential employer, you should expect further contact. The most likely scenario is that you are invited to an interview, or several interviews in order for the employer to get to know you further. If you are invited to an interview, you should dress appropriately, in smart, or smart casual wear and remain formal throughout the interview- appropriate body language and punctuality too. Preparing for an interview can seem daunting, however, this is just an opportunity to further get to know you and what you have to offer. Many firms will conduct similar interviews, asking questions relevant to them, the industry and you. This is another reason background information is beneficial when applying for work experience, as a common question may be ‘what do you know about the business?’ or ‘why do you want to work for us?’
Preparing for an interview may calm your nerves and result in a confident interview. To prepare for questions you may be faced with, producing research online can help. Some results may be specific to the business you’re applying for, or generic across the industry. An example of what to search may be ‘interview questions for admin roles’. By showing the interviewer your ability to answer on the spot questions, you are portraying your preparation skills, alongside your ability to work under pressure.
It is possible that you may be asked to show a presentation within the recruitment stages of your application. This may be more likely in some job roles than others, for example marketing roles. If this is the case, you should come well prepared. It is ideal for your presentation to be visually appealing and concise, with you discussing freely, opposed to reading from the screen. Other tips include speaking clearly, making strong interactions with your audience and remaining on the project set by the firm. More tips may be found online, by looking up questions like ‘how to prepare for a business interview?’ for example.
After work experience
Work experience is often short term, particularly if it isn’t related to your studies. Work experience is always beneficial to your future, no matter how long you participated in it. However, for some, finding a job in the field you’re interested in is often difficult or inaccessible mainly due to educational requirements. If you don’t have the essential skills and qualifications required for your dream job, this doesn’t mean that you cant achieve your dreams. For some, returning to education is the first route of access, however, education isn’t for everyone- this is okay too. Fortunately, there has been a huge growth in apprenticeship opportunities. Not only does this benefit the businesses involved, but enables a new point of access for people who may not necessarily be ready to walk straight into a high job position.
Apprenticeships are growing in demand due to their minimal expectations, whilst still providing amazing opportunities. Apprenticeships are a new route of entering careers through on the job training and qualifications, whilst still being paid too. Although apprentice wages are much lower than standard working wages, the opportunities they can provide you with are often priceless. With an apprenticeship, you will develop qualifications and with this, grow through the business that you work for. For those eager to enter the working world, apprenticeships are great opportunities. Having work experience may lead to apprenticeship opportunities, that could further lead to full employment. Work experience can provide you with a foundation of skills essential to working in certain industries and the businesses involved. If you impress a business, they may want to keep working with you, but if you’re not fully qualified this can often be unsustainable. This is where apprenticeships come in. Although you may not be fully skilled currently, this will enable you to learn on the job and remain an asset to the business that’s willing to work with you. Apprenticeships often are several years long, but during this time, you may earn a qualification that may have taken much longer to achieve via more traditional routes. Apprenticeships are also a great way to gain work experience, which may make you more employable in the future too!
To access apprenticeships, your educational institutes may be able to offer support. However, if you are not studying, you can still access apprenticeships by contacting local educational teams, or via job sites. Apprenticeships are often advertised by recruitment agencies, often being more available between January and July, but not limited to. As this is a job, the application process should be treated like any other job application would be. In some situations however, directly contacting a company that you’d like to work with could be a great way for you to access apprenticeships, particularly as this shows your genuine interest for working with the business. For help and support for applying, view our employment support page.