The secrets to securing relevant work experience
Relevant work experience might be the single most important thing a recruiter wants to see on your résumé. But what is relevant work experience? Well, it’s past work experience that applies to the job you’re targeting in terms of the skills or knowledge required. It doesn’t mean you need to have held the exact same job title or worked in the same sector. As long as you do something that will help develop transferable skills for your future job, you’re on the right track. So, here are our four top tips to helping you secure relevant work experience:
1. Do your homework
When you’re looking to do work experience, it’s essential to start planning early. Begin by writing down a list of the businesses that you’re interested in working for. Take notes on their values, what the role entails and learn as much as you can about each one. Doing this will help prepare you for when you contact each business.
It’s also a good idea to connect with people that work for these companies on LinkedIn or via email. Here you can politely ask what they did to get to where they are and if they have any tips for you. A quick conversation will help you figure out if it’s the career path you want to take or not and, if you’re lucky, they may be looking to hire or can suggest somewhere else that is.
2. Finding the right work experience for you
It’s best to match your work experience to your desired career. For example, if you eventually want to work in medicine, it’s a good idea to get work experience in a healthcare environment to optimize your chance of getting the role. However, if you’re asking yourself, “What do I want to do?”, “Where do I want to go?” don’t panic. The best thing to do would be to look for work experience in an area you find interesting. This way you will still pick up plenty of relevant transferable skills even if the work experience isn’t entirely related to what you end up doing.
3. Follow them on social media
Follow a company on social media before getting in touch with them for work experience. Businesses often post company successes, informative blogs or fun news from their teams. So, by following them this shows your potential employer that you are willing to learn about the company’s culture, history and achievements. This will also give you an advantage during interviews because you’ll have a better chance of having a meaningful conversation with the person interviewing you.
4. Look for volunteering and charity work
Hiring managers are looking for candidates who can demonstrate passion, determination and proactiveness. So, by choosing to take voluntary roles or doing charity work, you tick all these boxes. These roles don’t just give a company a feel for your character and what you stand for, they can also bring you into contact with people who can tell you about job openings, training opportunities and support you in your job search.
Remember, work experience is usually unpaid, so if you’re taking time to gain skills, make the most out of them by documenting them on your LinkedIn and other online footprints. Make sure your investment in relevant work experience shows up on more than just your résumé.