Written by our PR intern and university student Bridie Buckingham…
Work experience is something we’ve all heard of. Whether at high school or university level, every teacher I’ve ever had has stressed the importance of ascertaining some sort of experience before I graduate.
Being able to detail relevant work experience on your CV will help you stand out when applying for graduate jobs. It’s a real selling point to employers if you can show that you have experience in your field or have been able to hold down a steady job whilst studying.
Any sort of experience is better than none and luckily, there’s an abundance of ways to step on the ladder.
What Kinds Of Work Experience Is There?
For those wanting to take their first steps into the working world, an internship is a great way to start.
Internships are usually the first port of call when it comes to giving your CV an emphatic boost and can be very helpful in helping you navigate your chosen field. As well as this, internships can also be invaluable in deciding whether your chosen profession really is the career path for you.
Internships are also often very flexible in terms of duration with some lasting only a few days and others a whole year. What is perhaps worth considering is that in all cases, is that it’s best to start early, as the competition can be tough.
Perhaps one of the best things about university is the way in which you can introduce yourself to the working world at a leisurely pace.
Internships are not for everyone, however, there is something incredibly rewarding about getting a job to help with finances and experience.
If you don’t wish to commit to an internship, then what about a part time job for work experience?
Hospitality work is obviously the go-to industry in many instances, but anything goes. It all counts as experience and it looks far better on your CV than blank space. You can even squeeze these jobs into the summer holiday if working during semester time is too stressful for you.
Often overlooked, being part of a society can work wonders for your career prospects and give you some great work experience. It can offer you the opportunity to test your skills of organisation, delegation, events creation, finance management and more importantly, interpersonal relationship building.
You don’t even need to be high up in the ranks.
Simply taking up a role within a society shows a willingness to work together with others. It will hone your ability to work towards a common goal and help you network with others you might not otherwise have the chance to interact with on campus.
A combination of both the easiest and hardest thing to do, volunteering can provide many benefits to a future career (with the added feel-good bonus that comes from helping others).
It can be tricky getting a foot in the door initially – however it is worth the time and effort.
At the same time, volunteering can often be a far more exciting option than a paid placement – sometimes even leading to travel across the globe.
Put simply, volunteering your time can be an incredibly rewarding work experience in terms of personal and professional growth.
However, I know this isn’t for everyone as it wasn’t for me either. With financial situations as they are it can sometimes be hard to justify an unpaid placement over a steady income.
At the end of the day, experience is experience so don’t feel pressured to do the one that ‘looks better’ because any path you take you’ll be one step closer to that dream graduate job.
Whatever you decide, the bottom line is this: all forms of work experience are beneficial. I really valued my work experience, I met some great people and got to experience first-hand just what it was like to work in the PR industry.
In fact, I loved it so much that I decided to stay on and here I am 18 months later.