Well – hopefully not too much! Short of writing out the entirety of The Twelve Days of Christmas and depressingly finding we have enough deadlines and reading to fill all the categories, we can probably agree Christmas (especially in final year) is not the relaxing, feet up by the fire, eating mince pies kinda time we’d all be hoping for/ very much needing right about now. christmas-1-copy

But do not despair! If you are absolutely dreading having to start looking for work experience, or if you’ve left graduate schemes for next year to the last minute here is a really exclusive, super duper secret top tip…  Go and talk to people! Seriously, that’s all it takes to get started. Don’t email, don’t call – actually go in person and have a conversation. Weirdly this is so rare that it takes many future employers by surprise and the results are usually fruitful. Don’t go expecting to be given a job on the spot, but have a clear idea of what you want to achieve from your inquiry and don’t leave until you have acquired the next step (contact, appointment etc.) on your grand plan. The key here is to be polite, interested and relaxed. Have a conversation, make it light and easy – present yourself, what you study, what you’re interested in and why you would really like to work for this company in particular and how much you would give to be part of their team. If you think this is naive and won’t work, here’s why I think this is the ultimate go to on a ‘why not?’ tactic.

Smile – it confuses people.

~ Oscar Wilde

Recently I met a friend of mine from school in London for the day. During our hugely in depth catch up about literally everything it turned out that she wasn’t at all sure what she was doing next year once she graduated. We were walking pastThe Royal Academy of Artsjust as I was hearing all about the work she had been doing for a PR company and really enjoying it. Like me, she studies Art History so I dragged her in to the RA to talk to someone there about the opportunities for grad students in PR. We ended up talking to a lovely man – Andrea – at the information desk, who gave us a few names and numbers to call. He also told us the best departments to apply to and what to say when we called. Not only this but he sent us to his friend in Saatchi Gallery who he used to work with. Off we went and had a great conversation with Tommaso.  The result? Some very useful contacts, numbers, email addresses and memorable exchanges. christmas

So, here is your Christmas holiday homework – go and talk to the company you want to work for, or that you find interesting, or that you could get work experience in…and see what happens. What have you got to lose?!

Should you need some pointers and help from Careers Network don’t forget the CAL Careers team will be offering face to face appointments during the regular university opening times which you can book via Careers Connect. You can also email via Student Help to request feedback on applications and CVs, as well as ask them any careers questions. The University will be closed from the 23rd of December- 3rd of January.