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The perfect work experience application

Part of my job as staff writer at Music Week magazine is to recruit and manage work experience people. And while some applications are good, most are pretty bad. That initial contact is the first impression a potential employer has of you and if you don’t impress, you’ve failed before you’ve even started. A half arsed two-line email is not good enough. And while Twitter is a great medium for asking questions, if you can’t work out someone’s work email address through a bit of Googling the vital research skills needed for journalism are seriously lacking.

I’ve got quite a lot of facets to my job – as does everyone these days – so it massively helps and impresses me if you put all the vital information (and not much more) in that initial email. Today I received THE greatest application ever from Sam Dix. I’m going to use it for this step-by-step guide that shows you how to do the same.

– First things first, who are you? What are you doing?

Dear Rhian

I am a 3rd year student at the University of Birmingham wishing to pursue a career in journalism.

Good, I now know you are a worthy candidate.

– Secondly, what work experience have you done? Do you have the skills to help us out?

I have attached my CV, my most recent published piece (an interview for the Birmingham Mail with Editors) and my most recent article (on militant feminist Robin Thicke).

Aside from this I will be returning to the Birmingham Mail next week and have a weeks work experience with Esquire in December.

Excellent news. Also worth mentioning here that Sam tailored his CV starting with, “Enthusiastic and creative 3rd year Political Science student with strong communication and organisation skills seeking journalism work experience at Music Week.” Nice touch – shows us you actually have an interest in the publication and are therefore likely to make the most of the opportunity.

– So when can you be available?

I am available w/c 30th Dec or 6th Jan. I am aware these are quite specific dates, if these are not possible I am also available through April, though that does seem an awful long way away!

This takes away another few emails going back and forth, saving me lots of time.

And that’s all you need.

Here’s some advice on how to make the most of that placement once you’ve bagged it.


About Rhian Jones

I am a freelance music business journalist based in London. My career began when I saw an apprenticeship with freelance education journalist Janet Murray advertised in the Guardian. I applied, and after a gruelling two-day Alan Sugar style assessment, got the job, quit university and relocated to London to pursue my dream of a career in the media. The apprenticeship ended on a high when I secured my first journalism job at Music Week. I spent my week days writing news stories, interviewing and learning all about the fast paced nature of putting together a weekly magazine, all while gaining invaluable insight into the inner workings of the music business. After three years and a few promotions, I left my position as news editor to go freelance in 2015. Alongside two regular gigs as London correspondent for US trade rag Hits, and contributing editor for Music Business Worldwide, I've written for publications including Company, Grazia, The Sunday Telegraph, the Guardian, The Independent, Music Ally, Billboard, The Journalist and Music Teacher.

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