30th May 2018
How do I get work experience or get a job?
I realise that there is a lot of advice and information available about how to get work experience and how to apply for a job. When I looked at some information recently I didn’t think it imparted the crucial bit, about being interested and engaged with your potential new working environment, so I wanted to share a few thoughts.
I absolutely know getting work experience and applying for a job is nerve-racking. Even those adults who have worked all of their adult lives and consider changing careers and jobs will procrastinate about it for weeks, months and possibly years. They will doubt their ability, their worth and find lots of excuses why they can’t do it.
So if you’ve never worked, you’re young and inexperienced, how are you going to do it?
Firstly, you have to remember young energy is infectious, and actually every business needs it. Contrary to what you may think, the business world likes young people and would be lost and dying without it. They love the fact you can be taught, you have no pre-conceived ideas (you may have but they don’t think you do!), you have raw energy, and your IT skills are better than most, plus you may offer new thoughts about processes. They know you don’t know the mechanics of their working structure, you may need training and for a while they will have to invest in you but if they get it right they have a great employee. Equally for work experience, an employer enjoys giving young people an opportunity, you can always offer to write blog on their website about your wonderful experience, businesses like to have their ego boosted, trust me!
What do you have to do to get the chance?
You have to convince the business you are enthusiastic, you are worth their time and investment and you’ll turn up every day and be eager to learn. In other words be keen, sound interested, be interested and find out about the business you want to work for. And please look happy, smile and dress appropriately!
What should I do first?
Sort your CV out. It takes time, possibly a day or two. Yes, it takes time to get a job. I always suggest keeping your CV to one page when you are young, employers don’t have time or the inclination to read pages of waffle.
Check your CV for grammar and spelling mistakes and seek help. Schools and colleges all offer valuable support but you have to ask for it. There is always help available if you ask.
Then write your letter to support your CV and address the letter to the specific business. Find out the name of the person who will be dealing with job or work experience applicants. Better still why not phone first, engage with the business and then ask if you can send your CV to them. This way you will be able to find out exactly whom you should address your letter to and be able to call back in a week to see if they received it.
Do some research, check out the business website, their social media sites. Take mental notes of things you thought were good, interesting and maybe something you thought was not that great. Be ready to share your information with them when you get a chance to show you are genuinely interested in their business.
The big question: why do you want to work for us?
Do not say any of the following, I have heard and seen this in correspondence, and I simply cringe:
Because my mum suggested I call you
My other work experience opportunity fell through
I don’t know but I think it would be ok
It’s close to my home
You really need to think of some genuine reasons why you would like to work for the business. Remember what we said at the beginning, a business would invest time and energy in you, if they believe in you.
And lastly, no matter how much your parents or guardians love and care for you, they must never speak to employers on your behalf.
You must do the work, the business is potentially employing a person they can engage with, who they can train and will fit in with their organisation and that isn’t your mum, dad, aunt or any other caring adult!
Good luck, you deserve a chance and you will get it, if you persevere.