Finding work experience


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Presentation by Claire Ward, careers adviser

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  • Make sure you make good applications & spend time on them- treat them like you would a job application
  • Finding work experience

    1. 1. Finding work experience, placements and internships
    2. 2. Session will cover: • What do you mean by work experience • Why should you do it? • How to set up your own work experience & finding contacts • Formal work experience schemes & internships • Volunteering • How Careers & Employability can help
    3. 3. What do you mean by work experience? Work experience is essentially any form of experience that you undertake to increase your understanding of work and could be: - Sandwich/ industrial placements - Work-based project - Work placements - Internship/ Summer Internships - Voluntary work - Work shadowing/ work tasters - Vacation schemes/ vacation placements
    4. 4. Definitions • Sandwich placements- assessed paid experience often 1 year, as part of student course • Work based project- specific piece of assessed work for a course based on some experience with an employer • Work placement- short period of work experience, paid or unpaid, and is part of course of study and an agreed period of time eg. social work/ teaching • Internship- placement within an organisation sometimes over the summer period (increasingly being used by large companies ) • Vacation schemes/ vacation placements- usually take place over summer or Easter vacations (and sometimes Christmas) and are similar to internships (eg. law firms) • Voluntary work- any type of work undertaken for no payment in your spare time (usually longer term) • Work Shadowing/ work tasters- observing a member of staff working in an organisation & so gains an understanding of what the job entails
    5. 5. Why should I do it? The Benefits • Confirming your career choices (or confirming that you have made the wrong choice!). • Establishing a network of contacts to be used in the future, maybe for further work-experience opportunities or to help with finding a job after graduation. • Having some relevant work experience on your CV – adds prestige • Gaining an up to date work reference • Seeing work from the inside and gaining a realistic view of what is involved. • Developing more flexible communication skills and self-confidence. • A chance to apply some of the knowledge or skills you have gained so far to the real working world. • Some organisations increasingly view placements as part of their recruitment processes- impress and you could land a job!
    6. 6. Summer Internships - Internships work differently in different sectors and in different companies - Large corporations in areas of business, finance, retail, pharmaceuticals, law, engineering & IT will often have structured schemes - Deadlines often Jan/ March time - Mostly aimed at penultimate year students but there are some for 1st years (HSBC 1st year summer internship, RBS Easter Insight, Ernst & Young 1st year programmes) - Other sectors such as International Development, media, public services, environment may not offer structured schemes and you may need to try volunteering or speculative approaches
    7. 7. How to find opportunities If you have a career area in mind, investigate if there are advertised opportunities in that area. Many companies offer formal schemes. General websites include: - – dedicated site - - - agency based in London - – searchable database of summer internships - 1-4 month internship Our jobs database: (search under vacation) If you know the specific area that you are interested in, try some of the sector specific links from our website. Look in:
    8. 8. Other examples of resources out there! - Engineering website - Paid project based summer work experience in science & engineering - internships in politics - Internships at the UN legal vacation schemes - continuous rolling programme of work experience placements excellent resource for searching 1500 global organisations (development)
    9. 9. Arranging your own Work Experience Before you start: - Set your aims and objectives and be clear about what you want to achieve from the placement - Research the occupation and organisation before you begin approaching them - Think about what you could offer them (skills, specific pieces of work) - Check out the National Council of Work Experience guidelines - Look at the Prospects Quality Work Experience definitions: (about work experience)
    10. 10. Creative Approaches- finding contacts • Friends, family, friends of friends .... Don’t be afraid to ask around. If you have any contacts, use them! • Academics, your personal tutor, lecturers etc • Contacts from past work experience, vacation work etc. • Vacancies advertised in newspapers at Careers & Employability. If you have seen a company that interests you use the contact details from the vacancy advert. • You can search for employers by name and type on our employer database: • Names in journals, magazines, reports, the press. • The phone book and Yellow Pages ( ) • Specialist directories and lists of companies • Linked in – growing in importance
    11. 11. Making Contact- How? Letter/email • Allows you to have control over the information you give the employer. • Gives the employer time to think about whether they can offer you experience. • You can send them your CV with a cover letter outlining why you are interested in gaining experience in their organisation. • Easy for employers to ignore an email so it is always a good idea to follow it up with a telephone call. Phone call • An initial phone call has immediacy but can put you (and the employer) on the spot. • If you do ring it’s important to think about what you want to say first. • Stay calm and collected to ensure you articulate your message with clarity.
    12. 12. Tips for Creative Approaches • Know exactly what you're asking for • The reasons why you want it- be clear • Why you've contacted this particular person • Show enthusiasm and some understanding of the career area you are exploring and also the organisation • Have a good, relevant CV ready to send • Use Sussex Plus! If you need further help, come and see us for a short interview or drop-in session between 10-4 weekdays- we can give feedback on CV/ Covering letter!
    13. 13. A selection of resources Research the career area first: - look at explore types of jobs/career sectors General links: - fantastic site – National Council for Work Experience - Graduate Talent Pool Volunteering: - Project V - lots of useful links to UK and overseas volunteering opportunities
    14. 14. What is Sussex Plus? • You have the opportunity to complete an 1-page initial webfolio, and a 3-page full webfolio. Write briefly about the skills you have developed through your studies, work, and personal life • This is great practice for applying for jobs • You will get a Sussex Plus certificate for your full webfolio • Send your webfolio to employers & stand out from the crowd! • For examples, see
    15. 15. How do I get to Sussex Plus? •Go to •Register using your ITS name and password •Log in. You will see ‘An asset has been shared with you.’ •Click on this. The 2nd item is ‘your initial webfolio.’ •Send us a copy to us in Careers for feedback •For help & advice:
    16. 16. Careers and Employability Support • Careers and Employability Centre information centre • Short interviews with a careers adviser • Review your CV/ application form/ letters • Events - GradFair/ LawFair/ employer presentations • Web based information and resources – look in research section of our website for further information about making contacts • Use Sussex Plus!