Last month, I wanted to start looking for summer work that combined my passion for teaching with my language skills but I was unsure how to go about it. I saw an advert for a Careers Club session which encourages students to put their heads together to explore effective ways of approaching potential employers. Each session is facilitated by a member of the CAL Careers Team which helps to maintain focus and direction.
During the 15 minute session, the Careers Advisor asked the group to draw upon previous examples of work experience, particularly focusing on the various routes into different employment sectors. We discussed the advantages of taking time to acknowledge what it is you want from the company and to always be specific when requesting work experience. Using the examples below, the first is much more likely to receive a response than the second:
- ‘I am interested in the current changes to Family Law that your company are initiating and would like to spend a week shadowing one of the Legal Advisers working on the project. I am available between 6th June and 29th June 2015 and can provide my own transport and accommodation.’
- ‘I would like some work experience in Family Law in June.’
We also spent time discussing the benefits of calling companies in advance of applying for work experience and speaking directly to the person responsible for recruitment or outreach programmes as this shows initiative and commercial awareness.
After attending this Careers Club session, I researched some International Summer Schools and looked at various positions that coincided with my summer availability. I found a perfect position (English Teacher/Activity Leader), however I was disappointed to learn that the CELTA teaching qualification was a requirement. I decided to call the company and explain that I had three years of experience, working in different Summer Schools during which and I had undertaken welfare, teaching and activity leading roles and all of which I had thoroughly enjoyed. So, although I didn’t have the necessary qualifications, I felt my experience and enthusiasm for working with young, international learners would be sufficient for the role. I was fortunate enough to speak with the Head of Recruitment who was so impressed with my previous experience that he offered me an interview. A week later after a successful skype interview, I was given the job and I look forward to starting in July!
Thank you Careers Club for giving me the confidence to reach out and obtain a job that I otherwise would have dismissed!
By Rosemarie Waspe