Work experience is an excellent way to find out what careers you are interested in and improve your employment prospects by gaining experience and demonstrating commitment to a career. Remote work experience is an increasingly common option.
Finding a placement
Finding work experience can be challenging. The points below might help you make the most of available resources and target your search to opportunities relevant for geographers.
Reflect on what you want and where it may take you: Reflect honestly about the sectors you’d like to work in, and what skills you would like to use – this can help you narrow down your search to relevant schemes or companies. Find out more about geographers’ career paths, reflective professional practice and recognising your own geographical skills in our resources.
Get in touch directly: if you have spotted a company, project or individual whose work you are especially interested in, consider getting in touch to see if a one-off work experience or shadowing placement is possible. Remember to be specific about your interest and goals, and of course be polite and professional.
See our directory: browse our directory of geographical work experience placements for ideas and opportunities and our jobs in geography page for links to companies that may offer relevant work
Finding a remote placement
Work experience doesn’t just mean a week in an office. The pandemic move to hybrid and remote working means remote/online/virtual work experience is more viable than ever.
Be realistic about how you can work remotely: the time you can commit online may be more flexible than normal, depending on your study or employer. Be clear about how much time you can realistically commit and stick to agreed work patterns rather than letting work run over. Remember you may have also less structure when working remotely, so be proactive about checking in with staff and asking questions.
Adapt your aims and expectations for online placements: As ever, consider the skills and experience you’d like to develop, and whether the placement being virtual offers different opportunities. While online placements are almost certain to involve writing or technical tasks on your computer, there may be scope to, for example, talk to and learn directly from staff.
Try to get involved and network remotely: opportunities to chat, network and learn from colleagues won’t be the same when online – but do ask if there are any opportunities to learn from colleagues remotely or take part in work, events or activities with colleagues via group calls.
Stay professional: you may not be in a company’s workspace, but stay professional. As you will probably be on video calls, you may also want to choose a well-lit place to work with a neutral background.
For more tips on virtual work experience, see:
Alternatives to work experience
Work experience isn’t the only way to build employability. You can also try volunteering to demonstrate interest in a sector and gain experience, or take part in online courses to develop skills. You can find more volunteering advice and links on the NCVO website and Gov.uk.