In a previous post I wrote about my work placement experiences and how enjoyable and and beneficial they were to me, but I wanted to add a little bit more about how essential work experience is and the job advantages it can bring.
Not only is it common knowledge that work experience opens a number of doors but a study reported by the BBC found that graduates who have had internships or work experience were three times as likely to land jobs after their studies. It can seems daunting at first, applying for work experience and putting the skills you’ve learnt at university into practice, but it helps you figure out which work place/role you enjoy and what you’re good at and maybe not so good at.
Before I went on my first work placement I was adamant that I would love digital marketing and would definitely suit the job, however the role, responsibilities and everyday tasks didn’t play to my strengths and I learnt that actually maybe this job isn’t for me. I didn’t realise it was so focused on selling and targets and thats not a career I want to pursue. However without this experience I wouldn’t have realised this until I finished my degree, and by then it would’ve been a much bigger shock to the system.
“I had so many exciting moments on my placements where I felt a huge sense of achievement”
I’ve now done three weeks of work experience at two different PR agencies, and it has hugely improved my confidence in a professional environment and helped build my contacts. I’ve met a number of people who are industry experts and would feel comfortable contacting them in the future, which is something I’d never of expected before pursuing my placements. Its made me realise that the PR industry is what I can see myself in after university, but without this experience I’d never of known.
I had so many exciting moments on my placements where I felt a huge sense of achievement; I never thought I’d be working with real clients, publishing articles, writing press releases and hosting a launch party for a new restaurant in Cheltenham which I’d been working on all week. It was an invaluable experience, and everyone was so friendly, welcoming and went out their way to give me the best possible experience.
I’m so relieved that I decided to do some work experience during my studies because I can’t imagine going into the real world of work without these experiences under my belt. It’s helped me network, understand my strengths and weaknesses, build my contacts, learn a whole range of skills and get to know the industry a whole lot better. So if you’re still unsure about work experience my best advice to you is just do it, it’s where the real learning happens and you’ll thank yourself later.
The Guardian wrote an interesting opinion piece about work experience here – its worth a read: https://www.theguardian.com/education/2016/dec/28/university-holidays-more-important-than-term-time-work-experience-cv?CMP=share_btn_tw