How to find work experience placements

Deciding to find work experience placements is a really positive career move. Many colleges and universities arrange internships as part of their course. Some companies also advertise internships online. But if you are starting from scratch, follow these steps to land your dream role...

  • Decide on how long you want to intern for. You'll need to have clear dates in mind when you start applying to companies. This could be for one week, three months, every Friday for six months... be realistic about your commitments.
  • Make a list of companies that you would like to intern for. Try to research a few back up choices as well. Find the email address of the HR department and if possible, the name of the HR/recruitment manager.
  • Spend some time working on your CV. Make sure that it is focused towards the industry that you are applying for.
  • Write cover emails. These should be edited for each different company that you apply to. The opening line should explain that you are looking for an internship opportunity. The first paragraph should be a summary of who you are what you want to achieve. The second paragraph should describe why you want to work with this company and what you think you will gain. The third paragraph should discuss what you can offer the company. The fourth paragraph should mention practical arrangements like dates, length and interview availability. Finally, thank them for their time.
  • Attach your CV to the email and proof read everything at least three times before sending.
  • Remember to optimise your cover letter (and even CV) for each company you apply for, and never put more than one address in the 'Send to' bar.
  • Secure your references. Let them know that you are applying for internships and make sure you have their permission to be contacted by employers.
  • If invited to an interview, remember that employers are looking for interns that are passionate, hard working, eager to learn and enthusiastic about the company.
  • Don't be disheartened if you don't get a response from all the companies. Most companies are keen to take on hard working interns, but in a busy office unsolicited emails sometimes go ignored. If it's a company that you would really love to work for, don't be afraid to make a follow-up call about a week later.


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