The Basics: Work Experience

According to High Fliers, an organisation that performs research into graduate recruitment, nearly half of all the recruiters warn that graduates who have had no previous work experience at all are unlikely to be successful during the selection process and have little or no chance of receiving a job offer for their organisations’ graduate programmes. Which just emphasises how important it is for students to get work experience while at uni.

What is it?

Work experience is hands on experience that will help you to discover if a sector or organisation is right for you. It provides an invaluable insight to help make decisions about your career.

Work experience will also build those vital ’employability skills’ required by the highly competitive graduate job market. Employers look for evidence of work experience in order to assess if you have real life understanding of the work place as well as the ability to do the job.

Whether you are a first, second or third year student, work experience, internships, placements and volunteering should be a major part of your university experience.

work experience

How can I get work experience?

There are various steps to help you find suitable work experience to build your skills and CV:

  • Know where you want to work?

If you have a definite career idea then it is good to start researching companies working in this sector as early as you can. Ask if anyone you know has any contacts in this area and see if you can get hold of any contact details so you can write and enquire about current and future opportunities.

  • No idea where you want to work?

If you are unsure what area you would like to gain work experience, then explore how and where your skills might fit by booking a careers appointment with a QM Careers Consultant. This 20 minute appointment will enable you to explore what your skills and interests are in order to work out where you might start to look for opportunities.

  • Thinking ahead?

It is important to start looking for work experience and internships at least three months before you are available to start as competition is high. Certain internships in large companies such as banking and finance will be advertised up to a year in advance which means it is important to think ahead.

How can I find out more?

Check out these websites to help understand the importance of work experience or to find out about opportunities exclusively for QMUL students:

www.careers.qmul.ac.uk/workexperience/

www.prospects.ac.uk/work_experience

www.careerstagged.co.uk//files/pdf/Exper_ExperienceMatters.pdf

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