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Work Experience Benefits

Work experience, eh? Not just that week of helping out you do at your local leisure centre in year 10. Oh no, work experience can be undertaken at any stage in your educational life, usually in the university holidays and usually lasts for a week or so.

Be aware that work experience is slightly different to undertaking an internship. An internship usually lasts for a month or two and will be a structured programme whereas work experience can consist of assisting or shadowing another member of staff and completing ad hoc administrative tasks.

“That sounds rubbish!” No it doesn’t. Allow us to explain the benefits of work experience and then let us know how rubbish it sounds.

Experience

It may sound silly, but believe it or not, work experience is good for your… well… experience. Although you may think you’re interested in following a particular career path, you won’t actually know what the work is like until you’ve experienced it.

Maybe you were keen on becoming a journalist but the experience of a news room put you off the scent entirely? On the other hand, you might have absolutely loved your week shadowing a radiographer and are even keener to follow that career path in medicine.

Contacts

Regardless of whether you enjoy the type of work you undertake whilst on work experience, the people you meet will be handy contacts for the future. If you enjoyed your work experience, great! Why not ask if you can go back next vacation? If you build up a good relationship, you may be first in line for a full-time job with the company when you graduate.

Not that keen on a career in that industry after all? Not to worry. You never know who people know. It might be that whilst undertaking work experience in a production house you realised you actually want to review films rather than make them.

It might be the case that somebody at the production house has contacts at leading film magazines, opening a whole set of new doors as one appears to close.

Skills

You might not think that work experience equips you with the skills necessary for your desired graduate job, but when you think about it, they do!

It’s hard to say that you have acquired effective time management from your time at university when you NEVER turned up to a 9am lecture on time. However, your experience in the world of work is completely different. Not only did you turn up on time (woop!) you also juggled several tasks and priorities.

You might have also used industry standard software whilst on work experience, and worked as part of a team to meet deadlines. All these skills should be jotted down on the ol’ CV, which could be impress any potential employers.

So next time you think that work experience is a waste of time and taking precious time away from you spending time lounging around with friends, remember that you reap what you sow in terms of careers. Work experience leads to jobs – don’t forget that!