How to bag yourself a Summer Work Placement!

Summer is almost upon us and there’s never been a better time to bag yourself that all important work experience. There are endless benefits to having work experience; it can help you decide what career path to follow, it will look pretty impressive on your CV and the chances are you will develop new skills as a result. But how do you go about finding summer work experience? We’ve devised a list of handy hints and tips that we hope will give you some inspiration…

1.     Where, when, and why?

Okay so you’ve decided that you want work experience for the summer, but have you thought about where, when, and why?  Having a clear plan will help you to find the right work experience for you.  Try and set aside a few minutes to write down what you want to gain as a result of the experience;

  • To confirm a career choice
  • A foot in the door of an industry
  • To build new contacts
  • To learn new skills and knowledge in a work based environment
  • To help with a final year project
  • To help secure a job when you graduate

Also think about the type of company/industry you would like to work in and why, this will help you to focus on the task ahead.

2.     Broaden your mind

There are endless work experience opportunities out there that will help show case your talent, when searching for work placements always consider a broad range of opportunities. We once had a graduate with a Zoology degree who turned out to be a fantastic pattern cutter and went on to work for a fashion designer!

Employers are looking for people with transferable skills that can be used to help benefit their business; you don’t always have to have specific qualifications and experience. You never know it may turn out to be the best thing you ever did.

3.     Graduate work experience schemes

If you are staying in Wales for the summer then the good news is, you have the opportunity to apply for a GO Wales Work Placement or Taster http://www.gowales.co.uk . If not, there are similar schemes you can take advantage of such as;

Graduate Talent Pool (Covers the whole of the UK) http://graduatetalentpool.direct.gov.uk/cms/ShowPage/Home_page/p!ecaaefg 

Graduate Advantage (West Midlands) http://www.graduateadvantage.co.uk/

Graduates Yorkshire – http://www.graduatesyorkshire.co.uk/

The Times Top 100 Graduate Employers – http://www.top100graduateemployers.com/

4.     GO Wales Work Placements – all paid of course

By now we hope that you’ve heard about our fantastic paid work placements for students and graduates in Wales. If not, well you’re going to like what we have to say…

Work Placements last from between 6 and 10 weeks, all positions are in Wales and designed to help you make the best start to your career! Paid at a minimum of £250 per week, we have work placements in all industries and sectors. As soon as a placement becomes available, we post it onto our website http://www.gowales.co.uk for you to view and apply for the ones that interest you.

During a placement you complete a project for a local business, such as; a marketing strategy, a new website, office management systems, production of a corporate DVD, a new brand image, we could go on but we’d be here all day.

To make it easier for you to search for GO Wales summer work placements we now have an undergraduate’ search button on our website. We add around 15-20 work placements to the website each week!

5.     Applying for Work Placements

 As with all student/graduate jobs the GO Wales scheme can be competitive and we‘re sorry we can’t  guarantee everybody will get a work placement.  When you apply for each position we ask you to upload a CV and covering letter. This will be sent directly to the employer who will then decide who to short-list. Make sure you give yourself the best chance of being short-listed for an interview by tailoring your CV and covering letter to the placement you are applying for!

Many of you will be reading this thinking; ‘that’s just common sense’ the reality is that we often receive a large number of applications with no relevance to the placement. If you want to make a good first impression, spend some time looking at the job description and thinking about how your skills and experience make you the best candidate for the job.

6.     Hear about latest placements first!

Sign up for GO Wales summer Work Placement updates and receive the latest alerts straight to your inbox – https://www.gowales.co.uk/en/Graduate/Home/SignIn if social networking is more your thing we automatically post placements to our Facebook http://www.facebook.co.uk/gowales and Twitter pages http://www.twitter.com/gowales . If you’re really eager then we would welcome you with open arms at all three!

7.     Do It Yourself!

In some cases, you won’t always find a work placement that suits you, if you find yourself in this situation take the DIY approach.  Identify a few businesses that you would like to work for and write to them with a CV and covering letter explaining why you would like to do work experience at the business and what you could offer in return. Many employers will welcome the fact that you have shown initiative.

If the company is based in Wales you could always mention the GO Wales scheme; we may be able to offer a contribution towards your salary costs.

8.     Small businesses can be invaluable

In Wales the majority of businesses are classed as SMEs (small to medium sized enterprises) employing less than 250 people. You may have dreamt of working for a large multi-national organisation employing thousands of people but have you ever thought about the benefits of gaining experience in a small business? Being part of a small team means that you get to work on an incredibly diverse range of tasks often learning about the actual operation of running a business. Just ask a few of the students who have taken part in GO Wales Work Placements!

Good luck!

Good luck for your summer search, let us know if you have any questions and we will do our best to answer them. If you are interested in hearing more about summer work placements from a panel of experts; we will be taking part in a Question and Answer session on the Guardian Careers website.

Join us on Wednesday May 4th 1pm – 4pm. http://careers.guardian.co.uk/best-of-the-forums