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Getting work experience as a student

Hi, I'm Molly and I want to talk to you about finding part time work and placements during your studies.

Getting work experience as a student

Part-time jobs and unpaid or voluntary work experience are really good to have on your CV. Rumour has it, most employers now look for experience just as much as qualifications! They show that you were actively working whilst at university which proves you are great at time management. Things like this really boost your CV. It shows that you have a strong work ethic, plus employment also helps you to learn new skills which you can mention in interviews or on your CV.

Employers ideally want you to have experience in the field that you would be applying for. If not, you should have experience which you can transfer to this field. For example, if you're wanting to be a journalist and you’re studying journalism, you could write for your local paper as many times as you can.

Your tutors push you to get as much work experience as you can in 3rd year but I’d suggest also getting it in 1st and 2nd year. Your 3rd year will become more stressful due to the amount of university work you need to do – so try to prevent adding to that stress by getting your work experience in as early as possible.

My advice for getting experience in the area you’re interested in is to contact businesses and people that you want to work for, send your CV to someone specific if you can, if not to the recruitment team. If this doesn’t work, go into their office and prove to them how much you want it. I don’t think that many people bother to do this anymore, and it can be really powerful. Whether you manage to secure a few days a week working for the company, or even just a one off day shadowing in the office of a key institution - it all adds to your personal CV for future work.

You can also use job sites such as Indeed.com as they advertise work experience programmes and placements, not just full time employment. Don’t just browse these once and move on - keep checking back every few days to check for any new updates. I’d advise applying for placements and part time work particularly at the start or end of the academic year. This is when previous students will have left companies for new jobs or to move to new cities. Get in there quick because they go fast! Apply for what you can, try and experience different areas of the job that you're interested in. It all goes towards helping you to get a better job in the future.

Your CV should be around two pages long. This means that you need quite a bit of work and experience to fill two pages. There are people on hand at university to help build your CV so make sure you use them whilst they are available to you. Your tutors and course leaders will also help you to find jobs and work experience. Use them as personal references on your CV too. They will have contacts with people in the industry, and they will help you get in contact with them.

Placements are also something to look into. A placement can either be a part-time job whilst studying in an area that supports your studies, or it can be a year-long placement where you work after your 2nd year of university for a year, before your 3rd year. A year long placement can be really useful for getting into certain industries. You just need to weigh up the pros and cons of this – one con could be that it extends your university experience for a year. One pro is that you’re more likely be offered a job at that same company after graduating (I’ve heard of this happening a lot!), plus you’ll make lots of employer contacts and build relationships with great companies. You’re also going to look far more mature to future employers after holding down a full time job for a year. Speak to your tutors about these opportunities and they can help discuss them further with you. They are worth looking into.

Good luck with getting that experience and building that CV!

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About the Author

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Molly

Hi I’m Molly! I’m currently a second year student studying Journalism and I love it! It’s my passion to write and express my ideas through writing. I’m here to give some advice and my ideas on university life!

Enjoy! Molly.

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