Work experience is a great way to develop soft skills that employers look for alongside your academic achievements, things such as leadership, teamwork and commercial awareness. Having some experience behind you can also equip you with the knowledge and understanding needed to preform confidently in interview.
As well as internships and placements, you can gain work experience through career-related volunteering and short-term work shadowing.
The Careers Service knows how important work experience is, but also how difficult it can be to find. However, there are still ways they can help, and ways you can help yourself.
Careers Service support
- The Summer Experience Internship programme. is open for applications from pre-final year undergraduates offering opportunities to undertake an internship within the University. All SEI internships are paid, full-time and last up to eight weeks.
- Work Experience Bursary. If you’ve sourced your own experience, but money worries are a barrier to taking it, you might be eligible to apply for a work experience bursary. The bursary can be used to cover travel expenses, accommodation costs and/or dependent care costs.
- Workshops. Keep an eye on the Careers Service website for relevant workshops and meet the employer events.
- Online advice, including the Careers Service blog, which has plenty of posts on finding work experience. And don’t forget you can contact the Careers Service via online chat, drop-in sessions or one to one appointments.
- Volunteering opportunities. Both the Careers Service and Volunteering team have plenty of advice on finding volunteering opportunities and even have opportunities you can apply for.
Other things you can do:
- Make the most of networking. LinkedIn can be a quick way to connect with people, and ask about the possibility of work experience. You could try connecting with alumni who studied your course and get advice from them about how they secured work experience and whether they could support you. The Careers Service also have held sessions on making the most of LinkedIn that you can watch back on the You Tube channel.
- Make a shortlist of organisations you’d love to work with – then research the organisations and see if they have opportunities similar to what you would like to do and reach out, remembering a telephone call is harder to ignore than an email or letter.
- Reflect on your CV and think about what you can offer. If you feel you’ve gaps in your skills or CV why not consider making the most of free online courses. Especially at the moment, there is plenty of free online learning that can help fill in any skills gaps.