Work experience – how important is it? In a word – very.
Many employers will take it for granted that you will graduate with a good class degree, but what many of them will be particularly interested in is what experience you can bring to the role.
You don’t need to be a seasoned worker. Employers look for what experience you have when recruiting , because it shows you have some idea of what it’s like to be in the work place and you will have gained some skills to use in their company.
Work experience is also a good way for you to try out different types of work in a sector, to see if it’s really the job or company for you. You can also make some valuable contacts through work experience – ones which could be useful when you’re looking for that graduate job for when you finish your studies.
There are lots of different ways to gain experience. Formal internships with large graduate recruiters are only one type of work experience. Not everyone will secure this sort of internship and, indeed, it might not be the right sort of experience for everyone either.
Shorter placements with smaller companies can be just as valuable – potentially giving you an insight into the wider company, as well as skills which can be transferred to any other work place.
The Student Internship Bureau also advertise vacancies for the summer months. These paid, project-based opportunities are a great way of gaining some challenging and tangible experience.
Work shadowing, insight days, employer visit days and network events will also add to your experience. So, don’t dismiss these seemingly ‘lesser’ opportunities.
Voluntary work is an equally important form of work experience. You may be a volunteer, but you’re still employing the same skills and qualities you would in a paid role. Many employers (particularly those in sectors such as heritage, not-for-profit, and social/community work) will welcome voluntary experience in candidates, as it shows commitment, motivation and a pro-active approach.
If you would like to find out more about work experience, see our information sheet, How to get work experience and internships. We also have further information and ideas about relevant work experience in specific sectors – see the Job sector pages for more.
So, take some time now, to get some work experience for this summer.
Don’t miss the YorHired summer internships and work experience fair on Tuesday 2 February, 12 noon – 3pm in James Hall.