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A guide to approaching companies for work placement

By Guest Post | 30 October 2018

Completing your studies after years of hard work is a huge accomplishment, and it can feel like a weight off your shoulders knowing you won’t have to open another text book again! But sometimes, that sense of achievement is overshadowed by the idea of having to look for a job in your chosen field—especially if you have little to no experience.

Approaching companies and finding work placement might seem daunting, but with a little confidence and some perseverance, finding an internship or even landing a paid job is much easier than you think. In this article, we’ll give you some tips to help you approach companies for work experience, so you have the best chance of success before your interview.

How do you approach companies for work experience?

  1. Do your research.
  2. Work out the best way to apply.
  3. Reach out to the right person.
  4. Follow-up and follow through.
  5. Meet in person.

1. Do your research.

Your first step will be to consider the businesses or organisations you would like to work for, and then find out as much information as you can about them. Getting a work placement is much easier if you understand the business you are applying to. With Google by your side, you can quickly find out about the company itself, the types of people who work there and their hiring practices.

young woman doing research on laptop

To start with, you can visit the company website where you can find their mission statement, history, products and services as well as information about the company culture. You can also look at their social media channels to see how they communicate with their customers, and read up on potential interview questions.

It’s also a good idea to learn about the industry you wish to work in—this is a great way to impress your employer even if you lack the practical experience. Being armed with knowledge about the business and the industry will not only give you a leg up over other potential candidates, it also minimises nerves and boosts your confidence during the interview process.

2. Work out the best way to apply.

Does the company have a career portal for job seekers on their website? Do they prefer meeting face-to-face, or chatting over the phone? Some companies might have a more complex hiring process, while others are happy to receive your resume and go from there. Find out your chosen company’s preferred method of contact and reach out to them that way.

That being said, even if a company doesn’t specifically request a cover letter it can be a great way to introduce yourself and highlight your expertise alongside your resume. A cover letter shows you are professional and serious about work, but it also allows you to talk about your interests, career aspirations and what you can bring to the table.

dark skinned man talking on the phone in living room

3. Reach out to the right person.

Even if the company does not have any job openings listed on their website or other job sites, this doesn’t necessarily mean that there are no opportunities for you to get work experience. You won’t know until you ask! If you can’t find a particular person, find an email linked to the website and ask them to direct you to the right person. You can send a brief email Introducing yourself and expressing your interest in working for their company—be warm, friendly and courteous—it goes a long way!

4. Follow-up and follow through.

Once you have sent through an application, follow up with an email to the person responsible for hiring. Let them know you have sent your application, or if you went in cold (without an official application) reiterate your interest in working for their company and highlight the skills you have that will benefit their business. Often, managers are busy, but they always notice candidates who go that extra mile.

If you eventually do hear back from a company you applied to, but have taken a job elsewhere, ensure you have the courtesy to reply back telling them that you have found a new position, but would love to work for them in the future. It is polite, but also a good way to establish a positive working relationship that may benefit you in the future.

5. Meet in person.

Research suggests that face-to-face meetings are more effective overall than email or phone at generating a positive response. So, if you want to get a ‘yes’, it’s worth asking for a job in person. If you can arrange a face-to-face meeting with your employer, this is a great opportunity to get to know not just the company, but the people (or person) behind it. It’s more personal, memorable and can achieve greater results if you do it right.

young asian woman meeting someone in interview

Approaching companies for work placement will take time, but the right qualifications and a positive attitude can get you a long way. Building your skills and knowledge is one way to improve your chances of finding work placement.

From Accounting to IT and Human Resources, Upskilled courses offer you the opportunity to upskill and prepare to find valuable work placement in your chosen field.

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