Suggesting ‘Networking’ to students as a way of finding work and volunteering opportunities often sees them recoiling in horror! The ‘N’ word seems to inspire ideas of nepotism and favouritism. However, hopefully the experiences of 2 PPLS students will help to dispel these myths.
Read on to find out how philosophy student Laura networked her way to a work placement in Public Affairs, and listen to how another Laura (45 second into the video) used a chance meeting at a wedding to land her first job in advertising and marketing.
‘ I was inspired to find out more about the world of Public Affairs when I went along to last year’s ‘Life Beyond your PPLS degree’ event and heard PPLS grad Katy Hetherington talk about her Public Affairs role with Standard Life (you can read about it here – Katy Hetherington Public Affairs Consultant, Standard Life.)
This prompted me to try to find out more by gaining some experience with a Public Affairs agency. Following tips from both Katy and the Careers Service website, from a starting point of knowing no-one at the agency, I managed to secure 2 weeks work experience.
I’ve outlined the process I went to below, so give it a go – it may well work for you too!
- I did pretty extensive research on the company before hand, making sure I knew who to ask for, who would be best to speak to etc.
- ask for a named person, be brave, and leave a message if they are busy and ask for someone to call you back.
- I called in the middle of the morning, so that people were likely in the office but not too close to lunch.
- I had already emailed in a CV, so I had something to refer them to and give a bit of structure to the conversation.
- Then when I finally reached the right person, who scheduled in a suitable call it was just a case of being prepared, being polite, trying not to interrupt the natural conversation and having a pen and paper handy to take notes.
- Due to the fact that I was calling them I had jotted down some ideas for arranging work experience and some questions I wanted to ask them.
I ended up being successful in persuading them to take me on for two weeks which was great! ‘ (Laura, current philosophy student)
So if you’re looking for experience, and you can’t find any adverts for what you’re interested in – give networking and speculative applications a go – you never know where it might lead. As well as the advice and inspiration above, use the advice in our ‘Finding unadvertised jobs’ section to get you started.