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The benefits of work experience

LeftColumnAs exam results filter in; many students will be adding their new grades to their “Education” section on their CV and that’s great, but what about the “Work Experience” section?


Many may not have thought about a work experience placement, or even considered it, as a popular misconception is that you will just be sat there – twiddling your thumbs or doing the filing.


In certain circumstances you will get the chance to take part in some interesting tasks that may make you look at your potential career path a little differently. Alright it is true, some work experience does involve seemingly menial and repetitive tasks; and although you may not think it, they are important to the smooth and effective running of a successful business.


The point is that whatever the work experience placement; it is important that you take part, and if you’re still not convinced; here are our top three reasons why you should.


1. “Try before you buy” – Work experience gives you a great opportunity to try the various career options and choose the right sector that will suit you without committing to anything. Want to explore what it’s like for a world leader or a smaller local business? Look at which direction your career path will need to take to achieve your goals? Or just want to get an idea as you don’t have a clue… then work experience is a chance to immerse yourself in the world of work for a week, the summer break, or even a year and answer some of those all-important career questions.


2. “Stand out from the crowd” – In an ever-changing employment landscape; it’s important that you invest your time in ways that will make you stand out to potential employers. Work experience does just that – it shows passion and interest in your future and gets you “workplace ready” – building on “soft” skills such as team-working, communication and commercial awareness that employers look for and aren’t taught in a classroom.


3. “In it for the long-term” – In some cases a work experience placement can lead to multiple placements with the same company during summer breaks, and in others it can lead to full-time employment after you’ve finished your studies. If you show commitment, passion and enthusiasm to return to an employer time and again; it certainly impresses.


Of course, I have left out the obvious – work experience equips you with the knowledge and tools to enhance your applications and interviews, whether that be for further study or to enter the world of work. Because you’ve put yourself out there and got stuck in; you’ve helped to differentiate yourself, an important thing to factor in when you’ve got competition. So next time you are at a loose end for the summer? Or have a spare week? Why not approach employers of interest and ask about a work experience placement – go on, you’ve got nothing to loose and some great skills to gain!


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