These days, there are many publications, websites and companies and advertise work experience places as if they’re jobs. When I was 15 and began the journey of tedious work experience applications, there were never magazines asking for workies during certain weeks like there are now. And it was more of them doing us a favour rather than us doing them one. Now, work experience placements are advertised with set dates on sites such as Go Think Big, with employers wanting to give those an opportunity (and probably would quite like an extra pair of hands… for free!).
Either way… you have to stand out:
- If you’re applying for a work experience placement that has been advertised with certain dates, there are going to be a lot of other people doing the same. Just like job application, there may be hundreds applying for that same position. Make yours different.
- If you’re sending a work experience application cold, they aren’t expecting it. It might get lost in their incoming emails each day, they might think to ‘go back to it later’ because they have other things to think about, or just ignore it because they don’t have the time for it at the moment.
Making your application something that catches their eye, makes them laugh, makes them LIKE you, and more importantly, makes them want to pick up the phone and give you a call.
LETTER. The old-fashioned letter. No one really sends these anymore because everything can be done online. If you’re anything like me, it’s rare to receive a letter, handwritten, and addressed specifically to you, that it makes it a bit more exciting. Obviously, editors of large national magazines and newspapers do receive personalised letters, but a lot less letters than emails! Make it professional, but personal magazine. Why not write on pink paper to Cosmopolitan…? Send it in an A4 envelope with a plastic folder, make it look more important than a usual letter.
TIME. If you do resort to sending an email, especially if this is the specific given instruction… when will you send it? You won’t be sending it at 9am on a Monday morning, or any morning in fact. You won’t be sending it on the weekend, to be in the ‘Monday morning email surge’. Pick a lull in the day to send it, and perhaps a quieter day such as Tuesday or Thursday. Don’t send it at lunchtime, or at 10am when they’re still going through last night’s emails. Try 3/4pm.
EXTRA. Do something extra, something they haven’t asked or don’t expect you to do. Everyone expects a cover letter, CV. What about a cover letter, CV, and a feature idea, or a feature idea you have laid out, or your CV in the format of a feature they do? The fact that you have put in time to do something they haven’t asked or don’t expect, as long as it’s relevant, will work in your favour.
CURRENT. Make sure you know their publication, right up until its most recent issue/articles. What do you like, what would you perhaps change (constructive!), what particularly stood out for you, what development ideas do you have?