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7 Ways to Gain Work Experience

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One of the best ways to appeal to prospective employers is to show that you have already demonstrated the skills you need to succeed in a working environment. There are many different ways of doing this, so it can be confusing to choose which is the best option. Here are seven different potential ways you can get valuable work experience.

1. Internships

One of the most popular ways of gaining work experience is through an internship. These can be paid or unpaid periods of work experience that usually last a couple of months. Internships are primarily aimed at students and recent graduates, and so are commonly held during the summer, but can be found throughout the year. They can be advertised on Google, directly on company websites, and on sites such as LinkedIn. It is also possible to submit a speculative application for an internship by emailing the company directly. 

2. Virtual Internships 

Virtual internships are similar to normal internships but are done remotely, something that has been necessitated by the pandemic. Virtual internships are important as they are a way of gaining practical experience even if you are unable to commute to an office on a regular basis. They also allow you to intern for companies that are either a long distance away from you, or even in a different country altogether. While the latter option may require you to be multilingual, it is a great opportunity for those who are able to successfully apply to one. You can find openings for virtual internships in the same places you can find regular ones, but you will have to be careful as to which one you are applying to. You can find out more about how to find an internship and a virtual internship on the national careers service website.

3. Work Placements

An alternative way of finding work experience is through a work placement. Work placements usually last one year and are done as part of a university degree. This helps you gain practical experience as part of your education, something that is more appealing to employers than if you had just spent your entire time at university. If you are not assigned a placement by the university itself, a good place to go for help is the university’s own careers service, who are likely to be very experienced at helping students find a work placement. Similar to internships, it is possible to ask for a work placement by emailing the company you want to do the placement at directly.

4. Volunteering 

Another, more accessible way of gaining work experience is through volunteering, something I have personally been involved in. While with all the previous examples, you have to go through an application process, it is generally much easier to volunteer your time somewhere such as a charity shop or an animal shelter.  you can learn how to deal with customers and resolve their various queries and begin developing transferable skills that you can take with you when applying for other work placements/internships. . An additional benefit of volunteering is that you can do it at a time that suits you, doing it at the same time as studying or a part-time job. 

5. Shadowing 

Shadowing is another effective way of getting practical experience, this involves following a professional as they complete their daily tasks, attending briefings, and potentially even helping them directly yourself, although the latter is quite rare. The advantage of shadowing is that you can witness firsthand what they do instead of simply reading about it, with shadowing being similar to an apprenticeship in this respect. It is much easier if you are able to stay connected with professionals you met during internships or placements, as when you are applying for roles within the same company/industry they will be more likely to accept you than they would if you were a complete stranger. You can also contact your family and friends to ask if they know of any available shadowing periods, or if they know anyone who could accept you themselves. 

6. Apprenticeships 

Apprenticeships can be especially useful if you are either younger or intend to go into a career that does not necessarily need especially high academic qualifications. Apprenticeships usually last a couple of years and focus on a specific profession or trade, such as agriculture or the arts. At the same time, an apprenticeship will also allow you to study more conventional subjects on a part-time basis, such as English and Maths, resulting in a GCSE or equivalent. Similar to internships, it is possible to apply via the relevant website, although UCAS has plenty of useful resources to help you find an apprenticeship. 

7. Part-Time Jobs

A further option for gaining work experience is through a part-time job. There are plenty of different opportunities and areas to do this, giving you no shortage of options. This can include jobs such as retail and hospitality, although you may have something else in mind that would be better or easier for you. These jobs are easy to find online and there are usually plenty of openings, simply due to the sheer number of companies that need part-time employees in order to operate effectively. You can also visit these jobs directly to ask for a job if you prefer, especially if they have a notice outside stating that they are looking for employees.

Overall, there are numerous different ways in which to gain work experience, with both long and short-term options. Each one has its own advantages, meaning that it is very likely that one of them will benefit you greatly as you attempt to make yourself appear more appealing to future employers. For more helpful tips, check out the Graduate Coach Digital Marketing Internship, which can give you the skills to make you highly employable in the digital sector.