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Monday, August 13, 2012

Just say yes: applying for work experience, the dreaded rejection and silver linings


Emma Williams, regular TARGETjobs blogger is back yet another insightful blog.

Sending out cover letters, query letters and endless CVs with a barren inbox of responses can be dismaying; and believe me, the rejection emails offer a breather of relief sometimes. Relief that you have actually been acknowledged, rather than dismissed, laughed at or deleted from their inbox or ‘in’ tray. But as an undergraduate, it sadly is process that you get accustomed to. With constant reminders that not even a 2:1 result is enough to guarantee a place on a graduate scheme, work placements and stint of work experience in every field are rife with competition amongst conscientious students.

I wouldn’t count myself as an overly-ambitious student or an outright competitive person, but I am one that worries about my prospects after graduating before I’ve even finished second year. Scouring the web for feasible sites offering media work placements, writing opportunities or anything remotely to do with fashion has been a task and a half, with many of my polite and borderline-desperate emails falling upon deaf, or most likely uninterested ears. Though I didn’t have responses from some attempts and applications, this didn’t quell my determination to get experience—any experience, really— that would be relevant and worthwhile for my CV.

I’m sure many students would agree how annoying and frustrating it can be to not hear back from an application or carefully compiled email that you sent to an employer you would crawl for a day’s work at, but I can vouch for such experiences where even when you do get a response, and it’s a dismaying ‘no’, it doesn’t always equate to the end of your correspondence from them.

I recently applied for a two-week placement for a media event placement, and though my long-winded and carefully thought-out answers were not what the corporation were looking for, my enthusiasm and determination was apparent through my application and they offered me a volunteering role at the event. Disappointment was overcome by sheer disbelief, and I jumped at the chance to volunteer, and it was one of the most rewarding “work” experiences I have had. I met a lot of good contacts, had the opportunity to prove myself doing a little of the work I would have done at the placement and had a great insight into a professional environment. An insight I never would have been able to experience if I hadn’t been given a chance, and as a result I have been added to the corporation’s pool of volunteer names to be notified of future events.

Impressing and presenting your willingness to partake in any opportunity as experience for your CV will get you somewhere; if not always, it will eventually. This experience proved me wrong that not every unsuccessful application or email is disregarded. If you really show the experience would be worthwhile for you as well as for them by how much you’d benefit from working hard and immersing yourself in that industry and environment, then you’ll make yourself memorable and a frontrunner in the choice of people for future endeavours.

 Whatever you do, just say yes: you won’t regret an experience you can learn or gain from!

A great post for Emma and I hope you join me in wishing her good luck in her future and in her third year at university. If this has inspired you to look for work experience visit our work experience pages: