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Out of your comfort zone

June 11, 2020 by Susan Surgener

Out of your comfort zone

Once you have a first job, it’s a far easier jumping off point to the next one! As a uni student, what you should be looking for next is experience related to your studies. Even in those degrees with built-in prac units, like teaching and allied health professions, you should still look for opportunities to gain more related experience.

Why is degree-related work experience so valuable?
There are a few key advantages:

  • Directly related experience lets you put your skills and education into practice
  • Allows you to find out about your strengths and weaknesses
  • Gives you an insight into your chosen field
  • Provides the opportunity for you to build industry related contacts
  • Secures the-all-important referee – the person who’s going to say you’re brilliant, friendly, reliable, and a great team player – or something similar!

How do you find work experience?
Think about your degree. What are you studying, what field are you working towards? Who’s employing in your field? Check out UniHub to see what work experience opportunities are currently available.

Consider approaching smaller, local businesses. Larger organisations may offer formal vacation work, so often won’t be in the market for taking on students outside of these programs.

Talk to people – other students, family friends, lecturers. It’s likely your very first paid job was secured through personal networks e.g. friends and family, or a friend of a friend – someone put your name forward. You can work on finding work experience the same way.

Consider voluntary work. For example, if you are ultimately looking for a professional job working with young people, look for organisations that directly connect to kids or youth. Volunteer positions are advertised on UniHub, Volunteering WA and Seek Volunteer. You could also approach not-for-profit organisations, or get involved with Curtin Volunteers!.

Making contact
It’s up to you to make the contact. Work out your timetable and when you are available. When you’re approaching an organisation, you’ll need to be clear on what days and the number of hours you can commit to.

You’re also going to need a resume and a letter of speculation – a cover letter that introduces you, and asks if an organisation is interested in taking you.

We can provide guidelines around what a work experience opportunity should entail, as well as supplying free work experience insurance for Curtin students.

One of the key interruptions to student life during COVID-19 has to have been the added difficulty in securing work experience. Loads of students get geared up to find work experience relating to their degree at the beginning of each semester. Hopefully, things are starting to ‘normalise’ and you can now get back to looking for work experience.

There’s a bit of work involved in finding work experience and you’ll need confidence. But, it’s worth putting yourself out there – the experience can prove priceless.

If you’re looking for support with finding work experience, attending a relevant Graduate Gateway workshop might be helpful. Check out the full schedule of online sessions.

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