If you’re looking for a graduate job you have probably come across this job requirement before: previous experience in a similar role required. Which can sometimes be frustrating if you have recently graduated and are looking for your first professional job. One of the best ways to get ahead is by undertaking work experience and internships. Even if it is for a couple of days a week over a short period of time, the experience is invaluable.
Contact companies directly
Instead of relying on Google to find yourself the relevant experience, you can skip this step and directly contact companies yourself. Ask if there is an opportunity for you to gain an insight into your desired job role and the industry as a whole. You could also ask to shadow someone in a position, you see yourself in. This will provide you with a great insight into what employees do on a day to day basis, within your industry of interest. If companies are not responding to your emails, don’t be afraid to ring! The worst they can say is no, so put yourself out there. To avoid coming across as though you’re desperate for a job and you’re begging for the position, limit the number of emails and phone calls you make to one company. If they do not reply, move on to someone else!
Update your LinkedIn profile
Update or even create a profile if you haven’t already! Set yourself a professional-looking profile picture, update your bio and fill in your educational details. Make it clear the industry you want to enter and that you are seeking work experience. Connect with people in the roles you wish to work in. You can then take it one step further and direct message them enquiring about some work experience or any potential openings within their company. They will be more likely to respond if your page is detailed and demonstrates what you are seeking and the position you are currently in.
Ask friends, family members and classmates for help
If your friends and classmates are working in roles within your desired sector of work, don’t be afraid to ask them if there are any openings in their company. They can also give you some great advice on how they landed the job and what they did prior to getting the job. These people will be more willing to help you rather than relying on strangers for help and guidance.
Look over your CV
Looking over your CV is worth doing, just to make sure it’s up to date and relevant to the companies you are approaching. Tailor your CV towards a work experience and intern CV rather than a full-time permanent position. To do this you will need to edit your bio and introduce yourself as a passionate individual seeking experience in your specific chosen sector of work.
Utilise your careers service
Make use of your university’s career service, they have great contacts from student placements and they may know of companies where past students have completed internships and are looking to fill a future internship role. Even if you have graduated don’t be afraid to get in contact as they will be able to point you in the right direction.
Look towards small companies
Don’t put all of your focus on contacting big companies for work experience. Look towards smaller companies and you might be more likely to get a response. Particularly if you are seeking a digital position, you could contact a small digital agency and ask about gaining some work experience. Some agencies state on their websites they do not have any current vacancies but they still give the option for you to submit your CV. This is an opportunity for you to get yourself out there without having to formally submit an application.
and finally… stay in contact!
Once you do gain some work experience or complete an internship, make the effort to stay in contact with the people you met during your time spent there. Connect with them on LinkedIn, as you never know if you have left a good lasting impression they may contact you in the future for a job opportunity!