#8. Work Experience - Get it before you need it.
The Velociraptor poses an interesting question and one that graduates regularly scream from the rooftops (figuratively speaking that is. Most of the time they just type in an angry fashion on forums. Occasionally, caps lock is fully engaged) If you've got your 'prepared for the future' hat on you'll know that in order to secure a job, or even to set yourself ahead of the crowd before you apply for an apprenticeship, school leaver programme or sponsored degree getting experience in some shape or form is almost a must have nowadays. If your school assists you in finding work experience as part of your curriculum, you're off to a winning start. However, don't just rely on them. Equally if they don't offer this, obviously you can't. So if you're in the latter category, or you just want to ensure you're setting yourself up well for the future, how do you go about getting work experience and how do you get the best from it? Here are a few tips to keep in mind: Friends and relatives Your first call should be asking around your friends and relatives to see if anyone works in a job that reflects your own career aspirations. Let your parents know that you're looking for work experience; they might have friends in that career. Even ask your own friends what their parents do. You never know who might be able to help. Basically, ask everyone, because the more people you know, the more chances there are to get experience. Be open-minded Let's imagine, for example, that you've decided you want to be a solicitor. That's excellent news. But you won't always be able to find work experience in that area. Don't give up on getting work experience though, it's all useful. If you can't find work experience that directly reflects what you want to do, find some that contains elements of it. Find some work experience in an office, so you get an idea of what the environment is like. Work in a shop to get an understanding of what it is like to work with the public. The list goes on, but some work experience is always better than none. If nothing else, it shows you have taken the initiative.
Who said you can't find your own way? The continuous growth of the internet has seen a dwindling number of young people who are willing to knock on doors and pick up the phone to call companies and ask for work experience directly. Don't be afraid to do this. It shows your willingness to work and companies will often be far more receptive than you think. Everyone knows how hard the job market is these days. Know why you're there Remember, you're there to get experience so try to be as involved as you can. Always be enthusiastic and keen to learn, the more you show this, the more opportunities the company is likely to give you. Give the best impression of yourself, even if you do end up making tea and coffee for a morning, the links you create now could provide you with a job much later on.
Next Week: #9 Heading to careers event? There's nothing to fear.