In an earlier post (https://power-to-change.eu/career-tips-how-to-get-your-first-job/) I mentioned that my son was looking for a student work placement for June this
year. He has a good idea of what he wants to do when he leaves school and is therefore at an advantage to some of his peers because he can focus his hunt for a student work placement at one specific industry. He has approached a couple of companies already who, for one reason or another, are not prepared or able to take on students for 2 weeks work experience but thankfully this has not deterred him.
Although they are becoming increasingly difficult to come by, student work placements provide students with the opportunity to find out more about the particular career they are considering by giving them some practical experience at the same time as allowing them to talk with people who already do the job so that they can find out if it is something they are really suited for. In addition a work placement can help a student to stand out from their peers when they are applying to universities or for future employment. This latter point is particularly important since I read an article this morning which stated that the UK office of National Statistics shows a record level of unemployment in the 16-24 year old age range of 22.3% in the 3 months leading up to Nov 2011.
Finding a work placement can be difficult as not many companies advertise these positions. However, there is nothing to stop you from approaching companies directly and you can better improve your chances if you call up the company first and try to get the name of the person you need to contact as people pay more attention to letters and emails that are personally addressed (and it shows that you have put in a little effort to find out more about the company). If you are really struggling to get a student work placement in the area that you are interested, try and widen your options by thinking what might help to improve your CV.
(If you really don’t know what it is you want to do then be sure to fill in your email details and hit the subscribe button at the top right of this page as over the next few weeks I’ll be looking at ways to help you make that decision).
And because a student work placement plays an important role on your CV, you need to take the same care and attention when applying as you would for any job
application. This means being prepared.
Take time to find out as much as possible about the company and what they do as well as the industry there are in. Pay careful consideration when thinking about what it is you want to achieve from the work placement and talk this through enthusiastically with your employer.
Finally, stay positive, motivated and enthusiastic as these are characteristics that will encourage potential employers to find a work placement for you and if you receive a rejection letter, don’t view it as ‘rejection’ but as an opportunity to improve your application for the next time – if you are continually learning then you can never fail!