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How to get last-minute work experience

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You’ve probably heard “having a degree isn’t enough” too often since starting university. Unfortunately, there is some reality behind this. Getting a good job in 2015 is difficult, meaning work experience has become a necessity for students. If you’ve had a busy year, and applying for summer placements was not at the top of your priority list until now, you’re not alone! Many students reach the holidays and realise they haven’t sorted that all-important internship.
The good news is, it’s not too late! Use these tips to help you find a last minute placement. 
Don’t be too picky
You may have an image of the perfect internship in your mind, but when applying last minute you can’t afford to be choosy. Work experience is never wasted, even if it helps you decide what you don’t want to do, so apply to anything and everything. The more people you contact, the more likely you are to get something. Try to be as available as possible as people cancel or spaces are sometimes left on internships. As unfair as it may seem, you need to be prepared to work for free as well.
Be proactive
It may be daunting, but you need to phone companies or visit them in person to give yourself the best chance of getting something. Emails can be ignored, but if you speak to someone directly, they have to answer you! Keep an eye out for opportunities constantly. Talk to friends and family, follow companies on social media and look out for job adverts. All the work experience I’ve ever had has been gained through talking to someone in person.
Make yourself stand out
If your CV and cover letter are outstanding, the person reading it will probably do everything they can to get you some experience. If you show potential, companies will want you as a possible future employee, just as much as you want them. Spend time on your application, make yourself stand out and always check for mistakes. 
Be open to something different
Useful, CV-enhancing work experience does not have to come in the form of a structured internship. There are lots of freelance opportunities, such as writing for publications, designing or building websites, producing films, making products to sell or offering your skills in make-up and hair. If you’re struggling to get work experience at a company, create experience for yourself!
Keep in contact
Depending on how late you’re applying, some places will say they are full for summer. If this happens, don’t lose contact with them! If you don’t get what you hoped for this summer, you could arrange some work experience for Christmas, Easter or even reading week. 
The most important thing is to put the effort in and be persistent! Don’t give up if the first company you speak to says they cannot offer you a placement. Keep trying and always be on the look-out for opportunities. If you do this you, should be able to find some work experience, even at this late stage.
How did you get last-minute work experience? Tell us in the comments below!
Photo: Dineshraj Goomany / Flickr

Lucy SkouldingHow to get last-minute work experience

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