How to Get Vital Work Experience in a Science Lab
If you want to work in science, most jobs now require you to have at least some lab experience. But what if, like me, you have either been out of a lab for a while, or your degree has been all distance learning with little practical work? Here's a few pointers to get you started on the track to your vital experience.
There are a number of ways you can go about getting the placement you need, but the key thing is to push yourself forward. Nobody is going to throw opportunities your way if you don't go looking for them in the first place, so be proactive.
The main place people get their experience is through study. If you have the chance to get access to a lab setting, take it with both hands! This is often a cheap and easy way to find out more about the environment in a safe way, and is often available nearby.
If you know someone who has access to a lab, ask if you can accompany them, or if they can recommend you for a placement. They, or their colleagues, could prove to be a useful source of knowledge both about working in a lab and how to go about getting the jobs you want.
This can involve a number of methods to get the access you want. The first is through arranging work experience placements, which can be highly effective and very useful. This will involve a lot of contact to companies on your part, emails and phone calls to introduce yourself and ask for the chance to develop your skills. There are some key points to remember when you do this though:
- Prepare what you are going to say before you call or email, so you sell yourself to them, and be clear about what you want from them. However, don't be a suck up - if you are overly gushing about them, they may not take you on either!
- Make sure they know you do not want a paid role, you are looking for the experience. If they then offer you a paid role, it's a bonus.
- Research the company beforehand, and know what they do. It is essential you can show a keen interest in them, and also detail then what you can bring to them; a keenness to learn, and potentially to assist more and more in the lab work you are witnessing later on as your skills base grows. Ensure you make reference to any skills you already have that are transferrable to the role and may be useful to them.
You can also approach recruitment agencies, especially if they deal with jobs in science. They may be able to find part time or voluntary work in a lab which is ideal for you to build your skills and knowledge up.
And finally, good luck!!
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