4.3 Tip 3: maximise your new skills and knowledge in future applications
During your work experience, you will have developed your existing skills further and perhaps gained new ones. Look back at the skills audit you completed in Week 3. Would you rate any of those skills differently now that you’ve completed your work experience?
When completing the written stage of a job application, make sure any new skills that are relevant to your career plans stand out. The skills-based CV you looked at in Week 4 is one way to do this.
If your new work experience is particularly relevant to your next step, use an eye-catching heading and put it near the top of the first page. For example, if you’ve done some work experience in the sector you’re applying to, give the first heading – after your contact details and personal statement – a sector-specific title to draw the reader’s attention, such as ‘Publishing experience’, ‘Healthcare experience’, ‘Manufacturing experience’, etc.
If you’ve got relevant experience that isn’t sector-specific, you could call that section ‘Relevant experience’. It all depends on which information you want to give the most prominence to in order to catch the employer’s eye.
On an application form, you can use your work experiences and the skills you’ve developed as the basis for some of your examples when answering the questions.
At some point during the job application process, your prospective employer will want to collect references from previous employers, describing your performance and contribution to the workplace. You could certainly use a relevant person from your work experience as a referee, but do make sure you obtain their permission before giving their name.
Finally, at interview, talk about how you proactively found an opportunity to develop your skills and give specific examples from your internship or work experience.
The key to a successful job application, whether at written or interview stage, is successfully matching your skills and experience to what the employer is looking for. If you can demonstrate that you chose to do work experience in order to develop the skills and experiences they value, and how your work experience did precisely that, then you will be a strong candidate for any future role.