Okay, so how do I find work experience?
First, think about the kind of jobs you might like to have when you finish school. Work experience is a great way to explore careers you are thinking about to see if you like them or not. Youth Central have a fantastic resource on Career Planning that you should take a look at – it’s a fantastic site with heaps of stuff to help young people like yourself!
Secondly, you’ll need to start researching businesses and organisations relating to the field that you’re interested in exploring. A great way to do this is to jump onto Google Maps and look for businesses in the geographical area that you’re willing to travel to. The great thing about Google Maps (or Apple Maps, if you’re that way inclined) is that they list the contact details of the business, sometimes show photos and most of the time include a link to their website so that you can get more information about the business before talking to them. Some people have found it useful to use jobseeker websites to find jobs that may be of interest, and the contact the business to discuss work experience opportunities.
If you’re unable to find any places, always expand your search. That might mean using broader terms and looking in other suburbs.
Thirdly, network! It’s a really valuable tool for your to develop and use. Let your friends and family know that you’re looking for a placement and in what area. They may know of businesses or people who can provide opportunities. There are organisations that can help you search for placements or point you in the right direction for finding a business or organisation. You have lots of support around you!
Fourthly, ensure you bookmark businesses and contacts that are of interest, or write them down in a book, somewhere safe. We will use this as a checklist of people we have made contact with, recording the dates and outcomes of conversations or emails sent. Remember to have the following details listed:
- Manager’s name,
- The address of the business or organisation,
- Phone number and email address, and
- Any notes that might be helpful when contacting them.
Fifthly, you’ll need to actually get in touch with the people on your list and see if you can secure a placement. Some businesses may actually have a work experience application on their website. This is especially true for organisations such as Victoria Police and The Royal Melbourne Hospital. It is critical that you follow any instructions that they provide perfectly! If they do not have an online application for work experience, you will need to contact them directly, either by phone or by email.
Lastly, don’t give up! More often than not, students don’t secure a work experience placement on their first try. Don’t worry, feel easy knowing that you’re not the only one experiencing this! Finding work experience is like finding a job – it is going to be hard! Keep looking, broaden your search and ensure the businesses know you’re a reliable and hardworking candidate!