How important is work experience during university?
By: Izzy, redwigwam
University provides us with plenty of knowledge, and arguably some useful life skills. But many students leave completely unprepared for the world of work.
Graduates are usually quite familiar with the whole ‘we are looking for someone with more experience’ rejection speech, and it can feel incredibly frustrating.
You might feel it’s unfair. You’ve spent three or four years studying a field, only to be told your knowledge alone isn’t good enough. But unfortunately, most of the time it isn’t.
So, if you’re in university at the moment, and can’t be bothered (or feel like you don’t have time) to get some work experience under your belt, then here are a few reasons why you absolutely should;
The clue is in the name…
Any experience of a real job will provide useful skills or relevant working world knowledge. It enables you to peek into the world of work and will start to prepare you for what to expect.
It’s good for your CV
The world of graduate recruitment is a competitive one. So, having relevant work experience will help your CV pack a punch.
When employers review applicants, you will always look like a better option than someone who has no experience.
It shows willingness
No one wants to work for free. But unfortunately, many internships or work experience placements are voluntary and not paid.
But it’s not a reason to run away.
Think of the experience you’ll gain, and perhaps more importantly, the contacts you’ll make. You never know what is around the corner, or where an unpaid role might lead.
Plus, taking on work experience whilst juggling your studies (and possibly a part-time job), shows any future employer you are dedicated and willing to learn and put in time and effort.
Broaden your skillset
Even if you decide to head down a different career path after university, meaning your work experience irrelevant to your new direction, the skills you pick up will be relevant.
Any type of work experience will help you develop transferable skills team building, communication, awareness of industry, and initiative. Employers are looking for all of these skills at graduate level, and usually, it’s not so important where you developed them.
Understandably, work experience can seem like a bit of a chore or a burden when coupled with studies AND a part-time job. However, when university is finished and you are beginning your job hunt, you’ll look back at your years in university and be thankful that you took advantage of the work experience available to you.
It will be a big advantage when applying for jobs, and it will be a great personal experience too.