Published on November 12th, 2012 | by Amy Edwards1
Work Experience In The Digital Sector – How Do You Get That Then?
By Amy @BubbleJobs
It goes without saying that experience is pretty essential when it comes to bagging a job in the digital sector. Think about it; with thousands of students graduating in things like Marketing, Computer Science and Creative Writing every year, apart from degree classification, there’s not that much to separate candidates… apart from work experience.
Just like an internship, work experience provides an invaluable insight into your chosen sector and can make all the difference when it comes to your CV and impressing a potential employer. Now, while work experience and internships are similar in nature, it’s important to point out that work experience is normally much shorter in duration and will be unpaid 9 times out of 10 (but that’s not to say it won’t lead to paid work further down the line!).
Whether you gain work experience with an online marketing agency or a direct employer, chances are you’ll learn how things work and will be given a number of tasks to complete which are part of the everyday business. If you work hard, there’s a possibility you may be asked back for paid work or the employer in question will remember you come graduation time so making a good first impression can be invaluable.
Hmm, so work experience is pretty important but how do you even secure any? While there’s no denying work experience in the digital sector is more competitive than an episode of The Apprentice (or even Junior Apprentice!), there are a few ways you can make yourself stand out from the crowd when applying for work experience in the digital industry – believe it or not, applying for work experience isn’t that different to applying for a job.
First up, get ahead of the competition. It’s all about giving yourself the best chance of success and the best way to do that is to apply before anyone else – but don’t just apply anywhere! Think carefully about what the organisation can offer you and what you’d like to gain from your work placement and go from there.
Next up; network, network, network. In this day and age, getting in touch with key players in the industry is easier than ever thanks to things like Twitter and LinkedIn so you really have no excuse. Don’t be afraid to approach people but remember to always be polite and professional – you don’t get a second chance to make a good first impression! Remember, it’s all about getting your name out there and known, particularly if you’re looking into a career in social media.
My next tip is to be flexible. Think about it; everybody is going to be applying for work experience in the holidays – why not ask for work experience one day a week for two or three months? OK, so the work experience might not be as ‘intense’ as if you were doing it for a solid week but volunteering for a more flexible period means you’ll get to work on multiple campaigns and really bond with the in-house team over a prolonged period of time. Similarly, don’t be lazy – do anything that’s requested of you (within reason) and don’t be afraid to stay late to show your commitment.
Known for being a bit sensitive? Sorry to say this but you’re going to have to ‘man up’! Companies in the digital sector get requests for work experience all the time – they can’t take everyone on! If you get a knock-back, take it on the chin and move on to the next – but make sure you ask why you were turned down – you never know, there might be something on your CV or application form that’s hampering your chances of bagging work experience.
Last but not least, you need to be dedicated. Simply having a couple of weeks of work experience under your belt isn’t enough in today’s society – it really is a case of ‘the more the merrier’. Undertaking lots of work experience will show employers you’re dedicated to a career in the digital sector and you have willingly given up shed-loads of your free time to pursue your chosen career – plus, it should also help you to work out exactly what kind of job you’d like in the digital sector once you graduate. With work experience, it’s a bit like ‘try before you buy’ – don’t waste the opportunity!