No matter what stage you're at in your education, taking on work experience can add serious value to your future career prospects. It can help you land your first job, narrow down your career path and prepare you for entering the working world.

But finding these placements can be tricky. Particularly as they're often not always advertised in the same way that job vacancies are. Therefore, finding a great placement can require a little extra work. 

But don't panic! There are some simple steps you can follow to help you find the right work experience for you. 

Decide what you want to do 

At this stage, especially if you're still early on in your education, you won't be expected to know exactly what you want to do for the rest of your life. If you're one of the lucky ones who does, that's great!

After all, when it comes to finding a work placement, it can be helpful to have a better idea of what you're looking for. Consider some of the industries that interest you and begin writing a list of potential job roles or companies that you'd like to work for. 

This will also depend on your local area and the types of businesses that are nearby. By doing a bit of research early on, you'll be in a much better position when the time comes to start actively searching for work experience. 

And don't worry if you're unable to get a placement in your desired field – everything is a bonus! Any experience you take on will help you strengthen your transferable skills, gain some real world insights and give you something to talk about on your CV.  

Prepare a CV 

Before you start approaching companies about work experience, you'll need to have a basic CV that explains who you are, what your background is and why you're hoping to work in their company. 

While preparing a CV might feel like a daunting task, especially if you have no real experience or haven't been taught what to include or how to put one together, it doesn't need to be. 

Check out online templates and remember, employers don't expect you to have experience at this stage. So, focus instead on what you do have! 

What interesting topics have you enjoyed studying in education, are you a member of any extracurricular clubs or are you working on any projects in your spare time? These can all be included as they provide essential skills that you can shout about on your CV. 

Ask around 

Before you turn to the internet to help you on your search, it's helpful to do some networking. Start off small by asking your friends and family if they know of any businesses offering work experience placements. They may be able to help you out, or point you in the direction of someone who can. 

If this doesn't throw up any results, refer back to your list of potential roles and companies and take the old fashioned approach – going in to ask! 

Visit local businesses or perhaps even recruitment agencies to see if there are any placements available. Remember to take your CV with you to give to any interested parties. 

Search online 

Nowadays, the internet has opened young people up to a huge range of opportunities. You can use online job boards to search for placements, or engage with companies through social media. 

If there's a particular company you're interested in, you can connect with them through platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook and send them a message asking about the availability of work experience within their company. 

Even a quick Google search can throw out some helpful results, so make the most of the resources available to you. 

Stay positive 

You might not hear back from companies right away, but don't be disheartened. Keep going with your search and you'll eventually find a placement that's right for you. 

This is particularly true if you've contacted some larger companies, as you'll have to do more to impress them and secure a placement. 

Therefore, it's often a good idea to start with smaller local business, as these are usually the ones that are looking for extra help and are able to be more accommodating.

That's not to say you shouldn't get in touch with bigger companies. Create a standout CV and show them what you can offer. You might just find your dream placement.  

Are you ready to start your search? 

Spend some time thinking about what you want to do and put together a basic CV to get yourself started. Once you've done this, you're ready to begin your search

Whether you choose to look online, or make a visit to your local high street, any work experience you secure can add great value to your CV and career prospects. So don't delay – start your search today! 

This blog was written in partnership with CV Library.