Is work experience important? Five reasons why work experience is worth it

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Summer’s not just for holidays and having fun (although make sure you do that too!) – it’s also the time of year when lots of people do work experience

You might be wondering whether it’s worth the hassle when there’s valuable beach time to be had. We think it is, and here are five good reasons why: 

Work experience is good for your CV 

Scrap that, it’s not good – it’s essential. 

A 2015 report by High Fliers revealed that half of recruiters were unlikely to give graduate placements to people who hadn’t done any work experience.

When you apply for your first job, you’re not going to have a detailed work history to show off why you’re perfect for the role. So you need to think of other ways to prove that you have what the boss is looking for. 

If you’re applying for a job in a really popular industry, you’re going to be up against some stiff competition, so you have to make your CV stand out. 

Work experience shows employers that you’ve made the effort to pursue your career. Even if you don’t end up in the industry that you did work experience in, it proves that you’re putting yourself out there, exploring your options and preparing yourself for the world of work. 

You’ll learn some great practical skills 

Sure, you’ll probably spend some of the time sitting around or making coffee (although you’ll spend less time doing this if you ask around the office to see if anyone needs your help). 

But you’ll also learn about practical skills like teamwork, problem solving and communication, that can prepare you for the world of work. 

You can also see what goes on in the work environment (including policies and office politics) so it’s not such a shock when you start your first job. 

It’ll give you a career taster 

You might have dreamed of doing something since you were knee high. But unless you actually try it out, you don’t know if it’ll be for you. 

Getting some practical, on the job experience will help you to decide if you’re pursuing the right career, so you don’t realise later on that you’d be happier doing something else. 

For example, you may love animals but, after a week of seeing the highs, lows and gory details of working at a veterinary hospital, you might realise that actually, you hate blood and it’s not right for you at all. 

Some things that you absolutely love are best off left as hobbies or things to do in your spare time – which your job can pay for.  

So dip your toe in the water first before diving headfirst in. 

It could lead to a job 

When I was studying, I applied for a job at a company I really wanted to work for and I was gutted when I didn’t get an interview for the role. 

I’d already arranged to do work experience there that summer, so I went along to get some experience in the industry. By the end of my two-week placement, I’d been fast-tracked to the second interview stage. 

And a friend did work experience at one of the UK’s biggest advertising agencies. By her last day she’d been offered a full-time, junior role at the firm. 

There’s no guarantee of course, but work experience can get your foot in the door at a company and, if you impress them, can lead to a permanent job.  

It could give you the motivation you need 

It’s much easier to climb up the ladder when you’ve put the remote control down, got off the sofa, gone outside, and put your foot on that first rung. 

So instead of sitting at home thinking about how you’d like to be an astronaut, see if you can get yourself some work experience in the industry – and you’ll be amazed at how much more achievable it’ll seem once you’ve got going. 

Have we convinced you? Get started now by reading our guide on how to find work experience

If you’re super organised and you’ve already got yours sorted, good for you. Read our advice to help you get the most out of work experience.

Check out our jobs and courses board for current and future work experience opportunities. 

By Natasha Boydell 

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