It’s has been drilled into all of us from day one of University that work experience is the best way to improve your employability after graduation, but lots of the time it can seem very difficult to get with lengthy processes that take a lot of time and energy. I have been lucky enough to secure a few different placements for the summer and one of the main things I have learnt are that there are lots of different ways to approach getting an internship, not all as difficult as you would think.
One of the first, and probably the most successful ways of getting work experience is to ask your family if they know anyone who works in the industry that you are interested in. Last summer I benefitted from my sister working in HR at a company, as she was able to ask around in the marketing department if I would be able to complete a placement at the company. A week long placement organised by my sister’s contact resulted in an eight week paid placement – you never know where things will lead!
If you have time, internships with large companies are great to have and are often well paid. However, the application process can be very long with extended questions and a number of online tests. After this, if your application is successful you will then probably have to get through a telephone interview stage and assessment centre. These schemes are great if you already have lots of work experience and are involved with extra-curricular activities at University, but I have found it can be a struggle to find lots of examples if you have not completed a great deal of other placements.
Another consideration if you are struggling to find something, is to complete an unpaid placement, as they can be much easier to get. If you are in the position to be able to do this it can be a much easier way to get work experience. As I am interested in going into PR I have done lots of research on placements in PR and found that companies are always very keen to take on interns, but rarely offer paid work experience. However, we are lucky enough at Birmingham to benefit from the opportunity to apply for work experience bursaries, so this should be another consideration if a lack of funds is holding you back!