It's coming up to that time of year again, where students are looking for work experience. Like a lot of employers my inbox is inundated with requests for work experience or support with finding people work experience. 

I am more than happy to support with this process, however there are a few things I need from you. 

1. Do your research: what type of business would you like to work in? Create a "wish list" a list of businesses that you are really interested in and you think you can learn from 

2. Do it yourself: its great to have supportive parents, however when it comes to real life getting your Mam or Dad to contact the employer will not work out. Use your parents for their networks - do they have a friend in one of the businesses  that you have identified? Is their business somewhere you would like to work? But when it comes to making phone calls or sending an email, do it yourself!

3. Prepare a covering letter stating why you would like to work for the business, what are your skills and interests, what would you like to gain from your experience, what can you offer the businesses? 

I appreciate that this can be a difficult and daunting step to take (especially if you don't really know what you want to do!). However, this is your chance to explore the world of work and either rule in OR rule out jobs, roles and industries as a career option. 

Employers prefer to hire people with work experience. There are many benefits to undertaking a placement:

Gain knowledge: Your academic studies can be enriched by the new perspectives, experience and commercial awareness that you gain while you are working in an industry environment.

Develop key skills: A work placement provides the opportunity for you to develop key employability skills that recruiters look for, such as problem-solving, teamwork, communication and time management.

Explore different career options: A work placement will let you 'try before you buy' and often gives you a taste of several different roles available within a company to give you new ideas about career options.

Secure a job: A work placement will give you a competitive edge when it comes to applying for jobs. Employers prefer people who have experience and it isn't unheard of for an employer to offer a role to students who have already completed a placement with them.

Work experience can help demonstrate to employers that you are ready for the world of work and will provide you with a portfolio of transferable skills, an understanding and appreciation of the commercial world and potentially inspire your future career direction.

Employers are increasingly looking for students who are able to combine excellent academic achievement with practical hands-on experience.

Good work experience should:— Teach you new skills— Highlight which skills you need— Let you explore a career idea— Connect you to people you could ask for help/advice— Illuminate how things work in that sector— Demonstrate your interest in that kind of work— Show evidence of your motivation for that kind of work— Provide you with a contact you could ask for a reference