A beginner’s guide to work experience.

This post is aimed at people who are just about to go into the world of work and are looking for work experience to put on UCAs forms. I’ve volunteered and worked, alongside my studies, since leaving secondary school when I was 16 years old. During those 4 years I have learnt a lot about how to get work experience and how to improve my job prospects. Now I’m writing it down here to hopefully help and inspire some young people on where to start with job hunting.

1. Create a CV.

A great place to start is with a CV. Creating the physical document will help you see where the gaps in your knowledge of work are.

There are plenty of CV templates online to download which can help structure your CV and make it stand out.

Start with your contact details. Underneath that section should be your education history, then your work experience, achievements,skills, hobbies, and references. Presumably you have been in education most of your life so as that is you main achievement, that goes before you employment history. Your referee will be your tutor at school, or another teacher who knows you quite well. Alternatively, just write ‘references available upon request’.

It is important to write anything that is true and makes you look good. You like badminton? Write that down in your hobbies section! If you are struggling to add things to your hobbies sections, join an after school club or start a blog or scrapbook.

2. Not all job vacancies are advertised.

Walking around your local town centre and handing out CVs to shops is a good way to get potential employers to notice you. However, it is important to know not all jobs are advertised. Let me elaborate…

3. If you are trying to get work experience for a future career, search for the job you want.

I wanted some experience working in museums so I tried to find vacancies. When I was searching I couldn’t find any jobs going so I emailed museums instead.

Emailing companies with your CV and politely asking if they have any space for you to volunteer or do a work placement is a good way to search for work experience.

I got the placement because I sent an email. The worst that can happen is that they are not accepting job applications at the minute, or they could not reply altogether. It’s not the end of the world.

4. Volunteer.

When I was 16 I found it hard to get a paying job. In fact, I was 19 when I finally got a paying job. Up until that moment, and still now, I would volunteer.

Charity shops and libraries rely on volunteers so asking them if they have any vacancies is a good way to fill up your CV and to learn vital skills needed for working.

If you are writing a personal statement for university, it looks great when you say you spend your free time volunteering.

5. One week of work experience is still work experience.

So you emailed your CV to a company and they let you volunteer there. However they only offered you a week.

A week is still work experience. Put that placement on your CV. You do not have to write on your CV that is was only a week. Emphasise the skills you learnt during your time there and your CV will look amazing.





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