Work experience is an essential practice in the modern world which is necessary to build and develop new skills and aid the choices which a student makes about their future career path.
Nowadays, the job market is highly competitive due to the high rate of university graduates and qualified people applying for jobs, therefore work experience is necessary to stand out from the crowd and show that you’ve gone that extra mile and been proactive in trying to develop your skills and find which career you’re best suited to.
This time last year I had a vague idea that I wanted to go into a media-related career sector however which area I actually wanted to focus on still remained a mystery. Due to my confusion, I decided to apply for several different placements to complete over summer in order to help me begin to narrow down my options and to see in which area I could see myself in in the future.
I sent out many applications to different newspapers, magazines, advertising and marketing agencies yet only heard back from the three places where I completed my three work experience placements over summer. It’s important to remember the huge number of applications that these big companies receive every year, so that you’re not too disappointed when you do not hear a reply as there’s always next year, when your skills will have developed ever further!
At the beginning of the summer holidays I completed one week of work experience with the regional newspaper, The Western Morning News. I was given a lot of responsibility during this placement and felt like part of the team. I was writing small and large articles from 9am until I finished at 6pm, constantly receiving feedback and constructive criticism on my articles to help me improve my journalistic writing technique. I attended the two meetings held every day amongst the head editorial team in which they discussed the main stories of the day and of tomorrow, in which I got a real insight into how a newspaper is put together.
I then completed one week of work experience for the regional and well-known magazine, Devon Life, which gave me a good insight into the workings of a monthly magazine, however I was not given as much responsibility as I was given whilst working with the newspaper. I was mainly doing research into the magazine’s competitors by analyzing how many pages of advertising and features they had in each copy. This is clearly an essential task to undertake but is not the most interesting to spend time on. However, I was also able to write two rather large articles, and received feedback to help me to improve the articles, which appeared in that month’s magazine.
At the end of summer, I completed one week of work experience with the well-known law firm, Michelmores, where I spent the first two days in the marketing department carrying out market research in to the law firm’s competitors and assisting with the management of the company website, which I found insightful and enjoyable. I spent the last three days in various law departments, such as, property, litigation and employment to see if perhaps a degree in law would interest me. These three days were fairly testing but interesting nonetheless.
Now that I have completed these three work experience placements, I have a far better idea of the type of career that I would like to aim for. I have gained confidence, social skills and transferable skills such as organization and time-management, which will be essential for me in the future.
At the moment I am applying for internships for next summer; ideally I would like to do a placement with an advertising or marketing agency in France, as I am studying French, but I am also applying for placements in England and hoping that I receive some replies soon!
Isabel, BA Modern Languages (French) and European Studies (Politics)
Are you interested in getting internships like our blogger? The Careers & Employability Centre for University can help you. For further details check out our website. http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/generic/internships/index.aspx