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November 21, 2022, by Leah Sharpe

I Can’t Find the Work Experience I Want!

By Jo Workman, Senior Careers Adviser

There are a number of advantages to taking part in work experience. Real-life experiences in the workplace can help you increase your skills, give you an insight into a particular job or sector, provide you with networking opportunities, and give your CV a boost. 

But what if you have been scouring the web looking for work experience in something specific that you just can’t find? Here are four questions to ask yourself, to get back on track and find worthwhile experiences to help your career. 

1. Are you looking in the right/wrong place?

For niche areas, rather than generic job boards, there is often a more specialist outlet for advertised opportunities. This could be a professional body, such as a chartered institute or association, a specialist website, or even LinkedIn. Try googling the broad area of work you are interested in, and look beyond the usual jobs boards. 

2. Are you using an appropriate approach?

In some sectors, for example film, many positions are never or rarely advertised as they get plenty of people contacting them speculatively. If an organisation doesn’t look like they are advertising opportunities, it is worth contacting them to make enquiries. Even if they don’t have any work experience available right now, they might be willing to have a chat about the sector. Networking with contacts in the sector could also lead to learning about work experience if they offer this at a future date. 

3. Are you being too narrow? 

Sometimes, especially if you are looking for something really specific, it is tricky to find a good range of opportunities, or opportunities that are available at the time, or in the location you want. Our advice is to think about the broader skills and knowledge you want to gain, as this could open up more opportunities. If you really want fashion PR, would PR, or marketing in another area develop the skills that you could transfer?

4. Does it exist?!

Sometimes we search for a title or role that isn’t an actual role, but more of a theme. An example of this is human rights, which can be part of many job roles but isn’t often a job title in its own right. Try researching the roles that exist within the broader theme, for example for human rights this could mean advocacy, education, policy, research etc, and then investigate the work experience opportunities in these areas. 

Keep an open mind

But overall, don’t forget that any experience is ultimately useful as it allows you to develop skills in the workplace, such as working with others, managing your own time, organising projects, professional communication etc, and talk about them in applications and interviews. This is also worth bearing in mind if you don’t know what you want to do. By having an open mind when it comes to experience you may open up new ideas!

Explore our Work Experience webpages to find about about different ways to get work experience and what’s on offer at Nottingham.

Posted in Careers Advice