Though you’re probably ready for a break, the summer holidays can be the perfect time to get some work experience in. Here’s how I went about it…
Doing an Arts course, you’ll be told often that it’s not enough to simply graduate with a degree alone. Work experience is increasingly important and can teach you valuable skills, open up doors, and provide some great things for your CV. Marketing and PR are incredibly competitive industries, so it pays well to get some work experience in these sectors whilst you’re still at university to give you a head-start. While it’s good to build up a good portfolio of work placements, you don’t always have to work your socks off to get them.
I’ve had week-long placements here and there, and I’ve done them during the Uni summer holidays. Taking a week off my part-time job, I’ve benefited from spending time in these industries. I’ve had various weeks at marketing companies, and for the entirety of the summer between my first and second years at uni, I spent one day a week in a museum’s marketing department helping them out with a variety of tasks.
How did I get these placements? Well… here’s how…
Firstly I completed a CV and covering letter (mention your course, that you’re at uni and that you’re looking for experience). Tailor the cover letter for each company, which can be done really easily just by changing the name of the person you’re writing to and a little bit about the company and why you want to spend time working with them whilst keeping the bulk of the letter the same. Make sure to be polite and enthusiastic!
In your cover letter, make sure you put a date/dates down for when you’re available. For example: I am available for the whole of June. This makes it easier for companies to arrange something with you.
Secondly, get Googling. Look for places in the area (either Cardiff or back home if you live in a town/city) that take your fancy… have a look to see if they take on work experience people and if there’s a protocol. If not, make a note of their address or email address. I found around 15 companies that took my fancy.
Then, get emailing! It really is this simple. Send a copy of your personalised cover letter and CV to each company
Wait for your replies! In some cases you might only get 5 out of fifteen companies replying to you, and some of these might be rejections, but you should get at least one company offering you a place. Be flexible and try and accommodate them. If you don’t receive any replies and get a whole lot of rejections, just try some more places. Think outside the box!
Work experience really is a case of writing off to see who will give you a chance, and though it is frustrating, it can be very rewarding.