Which Work Experience Placement is Right for Me?
Here at Spring, we are proud to support and nurture the next generation of PR professionals. We believe one of the best ways to learn about our industry is to simply have a go and, for this reason, we’re always pleased to welcome work experience placements.
For the last week we’ve been joined by A-Level student, Harriet Adams, who goes to Hardenhuish School in Chippenham. She got in touch asking if she could experience the working world of marketing and we jumped at the chance.
On her final day here, we wanted to know her top tips for helping your children to find the right work experience for them:
“At some point leading up to your post-school career, the search for a work experience placement becomes real. Finding a placement that is best suited to you is incredibly important, but the search can be daunting and seemingly impossible.”
Ask yourself the following ten questions before you embark on a placement:
What do I want to do in the future?
My top tip is to ask yourself this question. If you know what you want to do, then you are one step ahead and can start pin-pointing some potential types of jobs that could help in your journey to achieving your long-term goal. Take this opportunity to look for work experience that is related to the job you want to do or is at least in the same sector or industry as your chosen career path. Start researching what jobs exist within your field of interest and identify the ones that catch your fancy.
What will I benefit from the most?
It is important to keep in mind what experience or qualifications you may need for your future. In year 12/13 especially, your work experience should provide valuable content for your UCAS application. This could range from evidence of useful skills, qualities or knowledge that your future university or employer will find desirable.
What are my interests?
If you don’t know what you want to do in the future then thinking about your interests is a good place to start. Look at hobbies, sports, activities, and pass-times that you enjoy and think about whether you would enjoy and benefit from getting a deeper and more insightful look into the professional side of it.
What are my subject interests?
A good way to narrow down your work experience search is to look at the jobs associated to subjects that interest you. Here are some examples of how different subjects can help with different jobs:
English: Newspapers, magazines, publishing, writing, libraries, teaching, journalism
Maths: Accountancy, banking, engineering, computer programming, finance
Science: Veterinary, pharmaceuticals, zoos, laboratory work, medicine, teaching
History: Law, research analysing, librarian, anthropology, archivist, teaching
Religious studies: Religion, law, social work, research, teaching
Physical education: Personal training, sports coaching, exercise psychology, sports therapist
Geography: Green charities, environmental sciences, town planning, journalism
Business studies: Accountancy, public relations, retail management, general management
Photography: News, fashion, portrait and nature photography, film
What am I good at?
Identifying your current skills and qualities is a good way to narrow down the search for your ideal work experience placement. This can involve practical skills and characteristics that you possess. Certain jobs require specific qualities that may match your personality, so looking into what you are especially good at can be very useful.
Do I have any personal preferences?
Making sure your placement complies with any preferences that you may have could mean the difference between you enjoying your work experience and not. Such preferences could be: preferring to work outside, having involvement with customers, or even working within a small community instead of a vast body of people.
What are my values and motivations?
If your main aim is to please people, then maybe you should consider looking at jobs that have direct involvement with their customers. Even having personal values like being eco-friendly could mean your work experience search starts with looking into opportunities within companies that revolve around coexisting peacefully with the environment.
What jobs have I seen other people doing that I think look interesting?
If looking deeper into yourself (what you enjoy, what you are good at, what you value etc.) isn’t working, then maybe looking at other people may work better. By identifying interesting jobs that you have seen other people doing, you can take the opportunity to ask them questions like: “How did you get into this profession?” “What qualifications does your job require?” “What roles does your position involve?” And if you are interested, you could even ask them if they know of an opportunity for a work experience placement with their company.
Are there any practicalities that need to be considered?
How will I get to my placement? What hours work for me? Do I need to prepare for my placement? What will I need to wear? What dates am I available? These are the types of questions that you should answer during your search and especially before you start at your placement as they could pose problems that hinder you getting the most out of the experience.
What companies suit me?
Now, the final stage is to find out what companies fit with your requirements or desires. This requires you to do some final research – it won’t take too long as you should have already cut down the companies that aren’t fit for you.
“Once you have asked yourself all of these questions you should be well on your way to concluding your search for your perfect work experience placement. The final step for you is to contact the company or companies and ask.”
With the summer looming, your school-age children may be thinking about what the future holds for them. Getting some work experience onto their CVs is one of the most influential and beneficial things they can do. We as companies should be encouraging and promoting this to ensure the next generation is prepared for what a working life entails.