Each year there is a large pool of students graduating with similar qualifications. Before you finish your degree ask yourself these things:
- Does anything help you stand out from the crowd?
- Would an employer notice you above anyone else?
If the answer to these questions is no then you should consider organising some work experience for yourself.
If you have some experience in the industry, or even with the company you wish to be hired with, you are already a step ahead of those that have not. If you don’t have any working experience (even if your grades are good, or you have higher degrees) your chances of landing that dream job are much lower. In order to stand out, you need to show that you are ‘work ready’ and ‘employable’ – that you have the ‘Employability Skills’ (not just academic qualifications) that an employer is looking for.
Employability Skills are skills that apply across a variety of jobs and life contexts. They are the set of skills that employers are looking for in employees. They include: communication, teamwork, problem solving, initiative and enterprise, planning and organising, self-management, learning, and technology. You need evidence of these skills when applying for graduate positions and one of the best ways of gaining and demonstrating these skills is through work experience.
An important benefit of work experience is that it helps you to build a network of professional contacts. When you undertake work experience you gain a head start by meeting relevant professionals in your chosen field. Also be aware that a successful placement will result in a favourable reference something that will be very useful when it comes time to apply for graduate positions.
Industry experience will put you at an advantage, as future employers tend to consider prior and related experience as a plus when recruiting new workers. The fact that you already have some experience of the company may just be enough to enable you to establish a foothold when it comes to a future paid position.