Why Is Work Experience Important? Employment

We’re all too familiar with getting the response from our job application stating that we have been turned down because other candidates had more experience. This can be frustrating, especially for students who are left wondering how they can get experience if no-one will take a chance on them. It seems like a vicious circle that’s difficult to break and we understand exactly why. However, considering work experience is one of the best ways to proactively change your fortune. In order to give you a good idea of what to look for and how to apply, we’ve put together the following guide.

What Types Of Work Experience are Available?

The type of work experience that you end up seeking out can depend on a variety of different factors. Things to consider before starting to look around include, but are not limited to the following:

  • How long do you want to work there for?
  • How much time do you have?
  • What career would you like to pursue?
  • Do you require a paid or unpaid experience?

A good understanding of the answers to each of these questions will increase the likelihood that you get a placement that’s useful to you. It’s important to understand that every company offers a slightly different work experience programme. Whilst some may offer a variety of unpaid or paid internships, others might not offer work experience at all. In order to conserve your efforts and time, it’s always important to do your research on which programmes are offered before starting to apply. Most companies will have a dedicated page on their website with all of the details.

How Can Work Experience Help Me?

As we’ve already discussed, one of the main reasons that people seek out work experience is so that they can apply for jobs with confidence, knowing that their CV is bolstered just as much, if not more than other candidates. After all, a recent survey showed that two thirds of employers look for graduates with relevant work experience because it helps them prepare for work and develop general business awareness.

However, work experience can help you in many more ways than bolstering your credentials. For example, if you’re keen on a certain career path, getting work experience in the industry can help you to decide whether you enjoy it enough to commit to the steps to get there.

Gaining work experience is also a great form of networking and can often lead to you being offered a job at the end of your time with the employer. As a student, having work experience can also help to improve your university or college work, as you’re able to put some experience behind the theory. On the other hand, having a good understanding of how to apply the theory in the workplace is also invaluable, with UCAS’s survey suggesting that one third of employers felt that applicants did not have a satisfactory level of knowledge about their chosen career or job.

How To Get Work Experience?

This really depends on the type of work experience that you’re applying for. Larger companies with more developed work experience schemes may expect you to undergo a full application process which will be advertised on their website. However, many smaller companies may just require a CV and cover letter.

It’s also important to note that just because you can’t see a direct advertisement on the website, that doesn’t mean that you should write the company off. If there is a certain place that you think would be great to get experience with, but they don’t have an obvious work experience programme, it’s still always worth enquiring. On these occasions, you can use the website or a tool like LinkedIn to find a relevant email address to send your CV and cover letter to, explaining why you would like to get experience there and what you could bring to the company. Often, these companies may not be big enough to consider a full placement scheme but could often use an extra pair of hands. From there, you may be required for an interview and eventually if all goes well, be offered the placement. For more information on interviews or how to write a cover letter and CV, you can check out our guides from our knowledge hub.

Do You Need Help Finding Work Experience?

If you’re now interested in securing a placement, but you still feel as though you would benefit from some advice, please get in touch. Our experienced and friendly staff can work with you to develop your skills and experience. Here at Building Better Opportunities, we work with people across Stafford and South Staffordshire to boost their career prospects.

In order to speak to our team, you can either pop into one of our drop-in sessions or call us on 01902 696 228. Thanks to our partnerships across the region, we can help you access the contacts to help you feel more positive about your future career.