Post by Emily Jefferies
I study BA English Language at Sheffield Hallam and as part of second year we all take part in a module named ‘Work-based Project’. This is where we are encouraged to contact various organisations and companies to gain some work experience. At the end of the year, we compile everything we have learnt, from both the successes and the failures, into a folder to present for assessment. I am still currently involved in this module and, although it has not been completely straightforward or without its problems, the key thing I have picked up from it is how to deal with each set back and move forward from it. This has built up my confidence as the idea of things failing doesn’t seem so daunting anymore; I am learning how I can manage complications and overcome obstacles.
This spurred me on to take some initiative and investigate possible opportunities for work experience in summer. I worked on creating a new CV and this is when I realised how important every little bit of experience I had gained over recent years was; every bit of volunteering, employment and writing I had done as it all came together to produce an impressive body of work. I then began researching internships and workshops that I could apply to, and asked around if anyone knew of anything I would be interested in. I cannot emphasise enough how surprisingly useful it is to simply talk to people and enquire about any experiences available that they know of; this is how I discovered both an internship and a workshop that appealed to me. The internship was for ‘Now’ magazine in London and I got in contact with one of their employees and sent in my CV. I then had a phone call in which we discussed further details and I was informed I had got a place on the internship for four weeks in May.
The workshop is with a company called ‘The Writer’; it spans over two days and is targeted to second year undergraduates each year. They offer some experience of writing in a professional environment, and ask that applicants send in a short piece of writing explaining why they want to take part in the workshop and why they should be chosen. I am awaiting their response but, regardless of what they say, I am pleased I tried for it anyway. I often used to not give things a go in fear of being unsuccessful, however since working on Hallam’s work-based project I have learnt that there is no harm in contacting people and sending in applications. If you are reading this and are also a student looking for some experience then I urge you to just do a bit of research, whether it be online or communicating with people, and just give the applications a go. Also, when working on your CV try to make it appeal to the areas in which you wish to work in or apply to. A bit of perseverance and initiative can go a long way, and it will be worth it.