There is no doubt that work experience of some sort is something every employer or course provider is looking for on your CV. Work experience of any type is invaluable. Obviously, if you are sure of what you would like to do as a career in the future, it would be useful to select a work experience placement related to that area of work. However, if you are still undecided about careers, or unable to arrange work experience in your chosen area, then the fact that you have had any type of work experience will give you an understanding and appreciation of the world of work. This will allow you to develop transferable skills to go hand in hand with your academic qualifications. In this article, I will be listing 31+ ideas for work experience for you to put on your CV. Get ready to impress!
1. Become a Dog Walker
Dog walking is a great way of gaining work experience. This job demonstrates responsibility and resilience, not to mention it is great for your mental and physical health too! It is also a great idea for people without means of transport as it can be easily done in your local area, of course, within walking distance. You could even earn some money from doing it.
2. Volunteer with the Cubs/Brownies/Scouts/Guides
Volunteering at your local Scouts or Guides Centre sounds fantastic on your CV. Teamwork, responsibility, problem-solving, community spirit and dependability are just a few of the great qualities this experience would highlight – all things potential employers are looking for! Working with children is also good experience to have if you are planning a career in teaching or childcare.
If you are/were a member of the Scouts/Cubs/Brownies/Guides/Rainbows/Beavers at some point in your life this would be a great way to jump back into it and be a role model to younger children. Find out more on Girlguiding UKs Work Experience page.
3. Take Advantage of Networking
Take advantage of networking with your family and friends by seeking opportunities for work experience at their workplaces. Not all work experience is advertised. Often, it’s who you know, not what you know. Ask your parents about coming along with them to work and finding out what they do every day. Maybe your friends’ parents have careers that you are interested in – why not ask to do some work experience at their workplace? Ask people you know about their occupations and what they entail – you may discover a whole new career path that interests you!
4. Do Some Babysitting
Once again, this is a job which really showcases maturity and responsibility. If your employer sees that you have been trusted to look after someone’s children, they know they can trust you in the future. You may even be doing this without realising that it is work experience! Like dog walking, this is also an excellent way to earn money while you are still studying whilst also becoming familiar with working with children – useful if you are interested in pursuing a career with children in the future.
5. Volunteer at sports clubs/dance classes
If you are an active person, this is the work experience for you! Go to your local sports club or dance school’s websites and see if you can volunteer as an assistant. Not only will you be able to enjoy some physical activity, but you will gain work experience while doing it and improving teamwork skills to put on your CV along the way.
6. Become a Student Writer
Interested in journalism? Maybe becoming a student writer is the way to go. There are many opportunities for you to write articles as work experience – perhaps through your school or university’s student newspaper or even writing your own blog. Of course, you can also do it online. At Think Student, we have our very own student writing programme. You can find out more on the student writer page. Some writing opportunities may even offer pay, but even if they don’t it’s still an impressive experience to jot down on your CV.
7. Get Involved in Local Events/Festivals
Local events are excellent opportunities to gain some precious work experience! You could volunteer at stalls, work backstage at shows, or even perform in them! Interacting with the public is an incredible experience which rehearses skills vital to jobs involving social interaction. If you’re a performer, this is a fantastic way to showcase your talents while simultaneously gaining experience.
8. Volunteer in a Charity Shop
By volunteering at a charity shop, you are familiarising yourself with the customer service environment – something extremely useful if you are planning on taking up a paid, part- time job in the future. Social interaction with customers is an amazing way to build up your social skills and confidence if you feel you need to improve. Of course, this type of position could also lead the way to a future career in retail. Learn more on Oxfam’s Volunteering page or Cancer Research UK’s Volunteering page.
9. Work in a Café/Restaurant
Those of you interested in entering the hospitality field may consider taking up a part-time position at a café or restaurant. Whether its pot washing or serving food and drink, this will provide you with valuable, transferable skills for your future career.
Be sure to take note of the fact that children under 13 cannot be employed, and only those over the age of 16 can serve alcohol behind the bar. For more information, check out the UK Government guideline website.
10. Find Work in a Cinema
Social skills are extremely attractive to future employers. Work experience at your local cinema will give you plenty of opportunities to develop your people skills. This is also a fun idea if you are a film buff yourself. You could be working at the tills; ushering people to their seats or cleaning up afterwards – no matter what you do, experience is experience. Your CV will thank you for it.
11. Volunteer at a Television Studio
Interested in a career in television? If you are lucky enough to live close to a television studio, offer to volunteer. Work experience in an environment where you intend to pursue a career in in the future looks fantastic on your CV.
Keep in mind, you probably won’t be doing anything too important to start with but familiarising yourself with the environment is a good way to decide whether this is the career for you and to take a small step towards beginning your training! You can find out more on the BBC’s Work Experience page.
12. Do Some Shadowing with a Local GP or at a Health Centre
If you are looking to study medicine, the best work experience would be to shadow a local doctor/GP at their surgery or hospital. Learning about their day-to-day life working life would be a fantastic insight into the world of medicine. This work experience is unlikely to be paid, but I think the experience itself is worth its weight in gold!
Bear in mind the fact that hospitals and GP practices are busy places and have strict rules about patient confidentiality, so arranging a placement may prove difficult and should be done many weeks in advance.
13. Volunteer at a Primary School
Aspiring to be a teacher in the future? Why not volunteer at your local primary school? Helping in classes and with individual children e.g., listening to them read, gives you an insider’s view as to how to the classroom environment works and what to expect when working with children.
When applying for teacher training, previous work experience in a school is a really encouraging sign to your future employers/course providers that you enjoy what you do and are passionate about a career in education.
14. Work in a Nursery
Maybe you’re aiming to work with younger children? If you are interested in childcare as a career choice in the future, volunteering at a nursery/playgroup will equip you with the skills you need to look after children as your job, and it will expose you to the types of challenges you are likely to face.
15. Volunteer at a Library
By volunteering at a library, you are showing that you care about your local community while gaining work experience! This is the perfect work experience idea for someone looking to study English, especially Literature or perhaps History as you can not only familiarise yourself with many book titles but also develop research skills . However, it is a great thing to put on your CV no matter what subject you plan on studying in the future as it also involves transferable skills such as customer service, administration and organisation. If you live nearby, it would be worth checking out the British Library’s Work Experience page.
16. Shadow a Vet
Animal lovers, this is the experience for you. Shadowing a local vet, similar to your local GP, will give you an in-depth understanding as to what a vet faces in their day-to-day life. This includes examinations, operations and caring for pets (and their owners at times!). This experience is vital as a head start for this competitive career path.
17. Volunteer at a Local Radio Station
If you are interested in the entertainment industry or journalism and live near your local radio station, volunteering there would be a great way to upgrade your CV! Most local radio stations employ volunteers, and you can usually work as little or as much as you want to suit you. Like volunteering at a TV studio, this work experience is a good way to familiarise yourself with the unique environment the entertainment industry works offers. You can find out more on the BBC’s Work Experience page.
18. Shadow a Solicitor/Barrister
Planning on studying law? Shadowing at a law firm will aid you in understanding what being a solicitor or barrister entails and evaluating which branch of the legal profession you wish to take. You may get the opportunity to sit in with clients, draft documents and even visit court hearings, thus giving you a taste of law in action.
Citizens Advice Bureau (who provide free legal advice to the public) are also a good place to apply to do work experience which is focused on legal matters. This type of work will allow you gauge which areas of law you may be most attracted to and show course providers and employers just how keen you are to enter the profession.
19. Volunteer at a Food Bank
These opportunities are not only great for your CV, but also your community. Food banks are often looking for volunteers for tasks such as sorting the donations and putting together food parcels, especially during tough times like the COVID pandemic.
Having this on your CV shows that you are compassionate; care about your local community and have extremely valuable qualities as a person such as responsibility, maturity, teamwork and resilience. You can use the Trussel Trust website to locate your nearest food bank and sign up to volunteer.
20. Work in a Care Home
Aspiring nurses would greatly benefit from work experience in their local care home. Learning how to care for the vulnerable and how to communicate with patients are vital skills when working in this sector. Contact your local care home and find out if work experience is a possibility – perhaps you could come in once a week to assist the carers there, or provide company or entertainment for the residents.
21. Work in a Youth Club
If you have a local youth club, this would be another great place to gain experience in working with children. This will show off your skills in leadership, responsibility and being a role model to those younger than yourself. If you are considering a career in education, these skills would be especially useful to you.
22. Find Work Experience at a Bank
Work experience at a bank is an absolute must for students looking to study economics, accounting or any considering careers in the financial sector. Many high street banks offer work experience programmes, including HSBC and Barclays.
23. Volunteer in a Laboratory
Considering a career in STEM? Work experience is vital – explore whether you can go along to a laboratory and see what goes on. Chemistry, robotics, IT – every career path can be helped along with experience at a lab. Search online for labs close to you offering work experience or shadowing and see what’s available.
24. Find a Volunteering Role at the Theatre
Love drama? Volunteering at a theatre in your area could give you the push you need to pursue your future career- on or off stage. Catering, marketing and customer experience are just a few of the many different behind the scenes positions related to the theatre. Name a skill, and it’s probably somehow involved in putting on a show.
There are so many work experience opportunities in theatre companies up and down the country, including the Royal Shakespeare Company’s work experience programme for 13 to 18 year olds and ATG’s own work experience initiative.
25. Deliver Newspapers and Leaflets
If you have no idea what to do for work experience, a paper round is a sure-fire way to get something on your CV. It’s also a great way to improve your mental and physical health and, not unlike dog walking, it’s easy to do if you don’t have the means to travel far. It can easily be done in your local area!
26. Do Some Jobs for your Neighbours
Work experience could be closer than you think! Simply doing jobs for your family and neighbours can be classed as work experience. From washing cars to mowing grass, these seemingly menial tasks can really fill out your CV with skills, especially if you don’t yet know what you want to do in the future.
27. Work at a Museum
If you have a love of history and would like to make a career out of it at some point, work experience at a museum or gallery would give you a taste of what it is like to put your passion to good use.
You may be cataloguing exhibits; leading guided tours or simply working in the gift shop – it doesn’t matter specifically what you are doing. By choosing this type of work experience, your enthusiasm for your subject will shine through to potential course providers and employers.
28. Volunteer at a Drama Group
Thinking of becoming a teacher or interested in performing arts? Volunteer at your local drama group. This experience can show you how young people learn and develop, while also giving you the chance to learn qualities that future employers will look for – teamwork, organisation, creativity and social skills.
29. Find Ways to Practice Graphic Design
Maybe you are a creative person hoping for a career in design? The best way to gain work experience in graphic design is to keep going! Keep creating and spreading it around, whether it be through physical copies of your work or sharing it on social media. It might even be a good idea to offer your work to charities in your area as you may make useful contacts and be taken on to create more.
Local authorities sometimes offer work experience in graphic design, doing things such as creating leaflets and posters. This all looks great on your CV, so get creating! For more ideas about this career path, check out the Youth Employment UK page.
30. Work at a Hairdresser’s
If you are looking to pursue a career in hairdressing or beauty, exposing yourself to the customer service environment is a must. Volunteer to help at your local salon. The tasks you do may be mundane at first (such as sweeping floors and making teas and coffees) but to say you helped in a professional business is a brilliant thing for future employers or colleges to see.
31. Work in Digital Media/IT
If you feel that your future lies in web development, digital design or media communications then you should seek out some work experience in the IT department of a business or local authority. Nowadays, most organisations have dedicated IT departments so there should be plenty of opportunities to get a foot in that door!
32. Volunteer with the Police Force
Your local police station may be able to offer you some opportunities for work experience. This will give you an overview of the different roles and situations police officers deal with daily and give you an insight as to how the force functions as a whole. Of course, bear in mind that your local police station may not have time to take you on, though it is always worth checking!
33. Volunteer for the Local Government
Your local council has a vast array of different departments to choose from when it comes to gaining work experience. Local authorities deal with, amongst other things: environmental matters; human resources; salaries/wages and legal matters and education.
Work experience with a local authority will give you an insight into how government works and the variety of jobs available in your area as well as providing you with a wealth of transferable skills.
34. Seek Out Online Work Experience
During times like the COVID pandemic, finding work experience opportunities is tougher than ever. Luckily, there are many organisations offering online work experience for young people during this time. Online internships are available with companies across the globe. You can find out more at the Barclays Life Skills website and the University of Nottingham Online Internship page.
35. Work as a Greenkeeper on a Golf Course
If you love being outdoors, and have an interest in golf, working as a greenkeeper on a golf course may just be the perfect work experience for you. If this is something that you would be interested in, it would certainly be worth enquiring with your local golf course. Work experience as a greenkeeper would show that you were able to handle responsibility, and communicate well.
36. Volunteer Working with a Charity
Although working at a Charity shop gives you an opportunity to do something good for your community, you may want to take a more hands on approach. There are many organisations who offer volunteering opportunities. For example:
The charities listed above are simply examples of places that you could volunteer. You should see what charitable organisations are looking for volunteers in your local area – there’s bound to be something to interest you, and it is something that will look great on your CV!
37. Get Some Experience in the Music Industry
If going into the music industry is your ambition, work experience in the area would be ideal! Although this may be hard to find, you can look at gaining work experience with institutions such as the BIMM Institute. As I said before, finding work experience in the area you are interested in going into is ideal, so it is certainly worth looking in the music industry if this is your passion (even though finding work experience may be tricky!).
38. Work in a Secondary School
If you are interested in going into education, work experience in any school is valuable, so working in a secondary school could be very useful – especially if you are interested in working with students at a secondary school age. You could enquire with the school that you went to, or any local school in your area.
If you get work experience in a school, you may have an opportunity to lead some teaching, work with students individually. You may also even be able to run some extracurricular activities. You will have the opportunity to develop your leadership and communication skills – all while gaining experience in the environment that you aspire to work in!
39. Shadow a Mental Health Care Professional
This is a similar work experience option to shadowing a GP, but is more suited to someone who is interested in going into the mental health field. You may be able to speak to someone like a psychiatrist, to find out whether you can shadow them.
Due to safeguarding, you may not be able to accompany them when they are working with all of their clients, but being able to speak to someone about what their job entails everyday could be valuable. If you can get in contact with someone in a mental health institution, there may be a variety of people and roles which you can find out about. Work experience like this shows future employers how committed you are to working in the field.
40. Find Some Experience with an Architecture Firm
If you are interested in becoming an architect, work experience with an architecture firm is something that will give you a good boost into your career. There are some architecture firms who offer work experience, and it is worth taking the time to research your options in this area. Some examples of firms offering work experience can be found below:
41. Work in Retail
If you are interested in fashion, working in a shop may not sound like the most exciting thing, but it is something that is related to your career goals, which is often easily accessible. You can take a look at job opportunities in your local area.
Working in retail will give you an opportunity to develop your customer service skills, and get you used to working closely with clothes. This is great for future employers to see.