Work experience is anything that gives practical experience, from working with a large city employer to working unpaid as a volunteer at the local wildlife charity; this is all work experience.
Employers increasingly, want new recruits to be able to add value to their company straight away. If you can demonstrate that you have already achieved a certain level of competence, you will be far more likely to get the job you want.
What are the benefits of work experience?
Securing some work experience whilst you are at university will help you to:
- Develop key employability skills
- Gain knowledge of an organisation or job sector and develop your commercial awareness skills
- Become self aware and resilient
- Gain experience of the working environment
- Put your classroom theory into practice
- Develop your networking opportunities
- Develop practical examples for job applications
Take a look at the types of work experience that are available to you:
Before embarking on any work experience it is important to consider your reasons for engaging in a work placement or seeking work experience. What are you attempting to gain? It is always useful to discuss your expectations with your tutor, Careers Adviser and even the employer, before you start. This will enable you to set reasonable and relevant objectives.
Record Your Experiences
It is always a good idea to record your experiences and activities that you engage in whilst undertaking any work experience. Things to note are:
- Projects you are involved in
- Skills you have developed
- Training you have undertaken
- Personnel and departments you have worked with
- Useful contacts you have made
- Personal reflection and thoughts about your experiences
The last point here is very important. The ability to record and reflect on what you have learnt, and then to articulate these thoughts to others, will become vital once you start to apply for jobs and attend interviews. Some questions to consider are: What went well? What did not go so well and what were the reasons for this? How could things have been improved? What would you do differently next time?
Useful Websites for Work Experience
Overseas Work Experience and Placements: