Before you contact an organisation with a work experience request it’s important to understand what they do and the wider context they work in. Doing your research makes you look organised and shows that you are genuinely interested in the organisation.
- Internet search engines provide a quick and easy way to search for employers.
- Industry journals advertising permanent vacancies provide a great insight into employers working in the sector and how to get in touch. Also look in local and national newspapers.
- Industry professional bodies often provide details of organisations working in a particular field/sector.
- Lecturers and other contacts may be able to give advice and contact details of companies and individuals.
- Online directories for local businesses can provide the details of multiple organisations in a sector. Example directories for Birmingham include:
- Social media - LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter can all be extremely useful in finding out more about an organisation.
- Databases - the University's main library holds a number of databases which you may use to research organisations, including the Fame database, which provides access to 2.8 million UK companies and can be accessed via findit@bham.
Take time to look into the following areas:
- What are the core business functions, or areas of activity delivered by the organisation, and how is it structured?
- Are there any recent news items about them on their website or in the media? This may give an insight into new developments, achievements, or pressures facing the organisation.
- Have there been any recent developments or issues in the sector they are working in? How might this impact on the organisation?
- Do they have competitors, who are they and what are they doing?
You can look at their website, media articles, reports and other sources to answer the questions above.