Internships/Work experience – what counts…..?

work expereince

This week I ran a small group workshop focusing on internships and work experience, and just what these terms mean. The idea behind small-group work is that everyone contributes and learns from each other, and I’m delighted to say that everyone who came along contributed with a vengeance. It was great for me to be able to take a bit of a back seat at times whilst students shared ideas and experiences.

Following discussion, we concluded that different career areas offer different possibilities for gaining experience – and internships. If it’s law, business, finance, management etc you’re interested in, then you may well find structured internships in these areas – and we list a variety of internship recruitment sites via the Careers Service website.

For many areas of work, however, these structured internships just don’t exist, and you have to find other ways of developing your skills and experience. This can include:

  • volunteering,
  • involvement in clubs and societies,
  • applying for related work eg summer camp supervisor for teaching-related experience, care work for social work/psychology-related work
  • applying speculatively for experience – using traditional CV or via social media.

Some great sharing of ideas and contacts went on and we pooled knowledge of how to get more experience for areas as diverse as publishing and teaching and counselling.

The subject of using social media (particularly LinkedIn and Twitter) to network and find opportunities came up – essential tools when exploring some career areas, including media and publishing, though not limited to these areas.  We shared experience re using social media for gaining experience (read how one student used Twitter to gain experience) and I talked about the digital marketeers (who spoke at the recent CCCF event) who only read LinkedIn profiles, not CVs.

We concluded by agreeing that how you gain experience depends on the type of work you’re interested in. It’s important to know what skills and experience will be looked for in different areas of work, and think creatively about just how you could gain that experience and develop those skills.

A summary (not exhaustive) of resources to help you research opportunities for gaining experience is here for you to download PPLS work experience handout 2015


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