Use net­works and cold calls to gain ex­pe­ri­ence, Me­lanie Burgess re­ports

NT News - - CAREERS -

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.”

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