PLACEMENT A WISE MOVE
Use networks and cold calls to gain experience, Melanie Burgess reports
CAREER changers, unemployed jobseekers and school leavers alike can benefit from unpaid work experience but landing a placement is not always as simple as walking into a business and offering to work for free.
Some companies may not take on participants because of the cost of insurance to cover their presence, the risk to client confidentiality, or the need to provide training or health and safety briefings. But jobseekers should not let that deter them, as many firms are willing to host adult participants to showcase their career paths and help people get into work.
The 2016 Unpaid Work Experience in Australia report reveals about twothirds of students seeking placements as part of their studies at university, TAFE or high school have had this organised by their institution.
Other common methods include responding directly to an advertised opportunity, which 29 per cent of post-school students used, and leveraging personal networks such as family and friends, which 28.1 per cent of secondary school students used. For people seeking placements as part of Newstart requirements, most (51.7 per cent) have been helped by a job services provider and more than a quarter (27.9 per cent) have used a broker or external agency.
People who seek a work experience placement for reasons other than educational or government requirements are most likely to organise it themselves (60.3 per cent).
Entree Recruitment general manager Megan Nicholson says there is no greater teacher than life experience. “To secure a work experience placement, my advice would be to contact the business directly,” Nicholson says. “Send a letter explaining why you wish to complete a placement with their business and what you hope to achieve from it.
“Companies want someone with drive and passion for their industry.”
Once on placement, Nicholson recommends asking lots of questions and getting involved in the business.
“Identify tasks that need doing, and show initiative,” she says. “When you leave, keep in touch with the organisation. Send a thankyou letter for the opportunity, and connect with them on LinkedIn. This will show you are serious about having a relationship with them in the future.”
email questions to email@example.com