Whether you want to admit it or not, sooner or later, you’ll have to leave college or University. And that’s cool, isn’t it? You’ve already got your whole life planned and everything will be great and there’s absolutely nothing to worry about. Ok. Panic.
If you want to stand the best possible chance of finding a job when you finish college, then you should look to complete work experience before you leave. That way, you’ll show future employers that you’re confident, know how to work in an office environment and have the skills and experience to make a great first impression when you start your new job.
Below, we’ve put together five of the best ways to get experience and stand out from the competition.
Speak to your career advisor
Your college probably has a career advisor who can help you land work experience placements and internships. And even though you really don’t want to spend your free periods in a stuffy career office, you should take advantage of their skills and contacts while you can. Stop by and ask them for advice on how to land a placement – they probably have a huge list of companies that are accepting interns and work experience candidates.
Email companies direct
After you’ve finished putting together an impressive CV or resume, you should reach out to companies that you’d like to work for. Be professional, be courteous and keep track of who you’ve contacted and when. Even if the company isn’t taking on an intern right now, if you impress them, they’ll keep your details on file and get in touch when something comes up.
Not every work experience placement has to be related to the industry you want to get into – and volunteering is the perfect example of that. Consider lending a hand in a local charity shop, get involved in charity and fundraising events, and keep a track of what you’ve done. Volunteering offers you the chance to gain invaluable skills and experiences that impress employers – just remember to get a reference or a recommendation if you can!
Use job and work experience websites
You can find work experience placements on websites like My World of Work and college and University career websites. Some companies even advertise their unpaid opportunities on job sites, so keep your eyes peeled for the latest vacancy. Social media is also a good way to follow your favourite brands and be alerted when they open up internships, so consider creating a separate “professional” social media account that you can use for that purpose.
If you want to get into the competitive world of journalism or writing, you should start your own blog – or join a website like Fuzzable (more on writing for us here). Not only is it great fun to write about your life and the things you love, but it will help you improve your writing ability and stand out from other candidates. Heck, even if you don’t want to work in writing, having good writing skills will serve you well, as you’ll need them when putting together a job application or sending an email to a potential employer.
An empty CV will be a tough sell when going for an interview, so make sure you pack it with as much work experience as you can while you’re still at University. Whether you’re just starting your study or you’re close to the end – it’s never too late to make a start.