It can often be a difficult decision to work for free so as to make a head start on your career. However, internships, work placements and apprenticeships can all help you make valuable industry contacts and decide whether a career is right for you.
While the fact that these opportunities are unpaid might put some people off, they do still offer plenty of other benefits that you’ll find valuable in your career. Here are our five reasons to say yes!
Gain hands-on experience
Employers like experience. There is nothing more appealing than knowing the person they are about to hire won’t need any hand-holding and can get stuck in to the job straight away.
Look for opportunities that will offer a formal training programme and a reference, and allow you to gain marketable skills. Gaining good experience now will make you a more attractive candidate later.
Boost your skill set
Value can come in many more forms than money. If you find your dream job requires skills you currently lack, then go and develop them. Look for a placement that offers you the chance to gain the skills you need to boost your CV. The effort you put in will be repaid when you land that dream job in the future.
Show off your work ethic
Gaps in your work history usually prompt questions from potential employers. In some cases, recruiters will filter out candidates with unexplained gaps on their CVs, lowering your chances of getting an interview.
Taking a placement can keep your work history constant and show a potential employer you are hungry for work and success. It demonstrates that you’re not the kind of person who will just sit on your hands, but that you are always on the lookout for ways to be productive.
Expand your network
It is great to have contacts in the industry – but you can’t make contacts without meeting people. Placements help you to network by putting yourself in an environment where you can meet new people.
You also never know who other people might know. It might happen that the boss of the small firm where you intern regularly has lunch with the boss at your dream employer. Build a good reputation and your name could be recommended without you even knowing it.
Check you are on the right path
You might believe that one area of your profession is right for you, whether that’s based on your personal knowledge or on advice from friends or family. However, you can’t be certain until you try it.
Placements offer you the opportunity to test the water before you take the plunge. If you don’t like it, you can easily change course – but you may find something unexpected grabs your interest.
To keep yourself ahead of the other candidates out there, make sure you consider all the tips above, and look out for placement opportunities if you find yourself in a gap between jobs. Search RICS Recruit for placements and other positions today.