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Cover Letter Advice: Work Experience
Virtually every employer will ask for ‘relevant work experience’ as part of their candidate requirements. However, that creates another issue: how do you convince somebody to take you on for a week or two, with so many other students looking to do the same thing?
Since most employers don’t promote their work experience positions or actively seek out candidates, you must take it as a given that most of your applications will be speculative. You are going to have to grab someone’s attention and convince them of your worth without becoming an interruption. Everyone you will be writing to will be busy, so bear this in mind when preparing your covering letter.
The covering letter is the paper equivalent of that initial few seconds when we meet someone; much is judged upon little. The ultimate aim of the covering letter is to convince them to take you on for work experience. You must make it clear how you can benefit the employer with your presence for a week or two.
Consider the employers perspective. They will have to divert some of their attention away from their usual tasks to deal with your work experience request. As their time is very valuable, it’s important that you do not waffle and get straight to the point.
When creating your covering letter, it’s important that you follow a clear structure. Outlined below is a guide to help you prepare that all-important work experience covering letter.
Who are you & why are you writing to me?
You must let them know this within the first few lines of your covering letter; otherwise it’s unlikely that they will read any further.
Why are you looking for work experience?
Most companies will literally receive hundreds of letters and emails from students each year who are requesting work experience. As such, it’s important that you explain why you are looking for work experience and what you think you could offer.
Employers will be far more receptive to your application if you have taken the time to read up on their business and where you think you could contribute.
Why should I offer you work experience?
If you are fortunate enough to get some work experience, the employer will have to take time out during your visit to brief you and monitor your progress. This takes time; time that could otherwise be spent on other pressing matters.
As such, it’s important that you make it absolutely clear how and why you can benefit them. You have to build a case that makes somebody within the organisation stop what they are doing and take the time to consider your letter.
Right, so basically, if you want to write an awesome cover letter for a work experience placement, you need to be concise and highlight any benefits that may come from having you around. Remember that they get a lot of requests for work experience, so make it clear how you can genuinely offer them something!