Benefits of Work Experience for Students; 15 Big Advantages

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The below Benefits of Work Experience for Students show why work experience catapults your career forward faster than any ‘A’ in an exam:

  • Gain insight into the world of work
  • Develops your skills
  • You learn a lot more than in lecture halls
  • There are no strings attached
  • It adds to your CV
  • Makes you grow up a little
  • Helps you in interviews
  • It can get you a job
  • Helps you figure out what you like and don’t like
  • Gets your foot in the door
  • It gives you exposure to management
  • Gives you practical knowledge
  • Increases your motivation to do well
  • It puts school in perspective

Benefits of Work Experience for Students #1: Gain Insight Into The World of Work

You’ll gain insight into what people actually do for a living and how it differs from school or university.

When I did work experience 10+ years ago, I got to see how junior staff interacted with senior staff, how hierarchical it was, how quiet the office was, and what people actually did for a living.

It also gives you insight into how diverse the workforce is and the various backgrounds of the employees.

Benefits of Work Experience for Students #2: Develop Your Skills

You will develop useful skills such as communication, organisation, teamwork. It will also help your interpersonal skills and give you confidence in dealing with strangers.

The work experience students who come into my company start off as very quiet and shy, and by the end of their placement, they are chatty and confident.

The difference is night and day.

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Benefits of Work Experience for Students #3: You learn a lot more than in Lecture Halls

Thinking about university now (10 years on), I’m 100% certain I would have learned more from doing work experience instead of university.

(which was barely anything, as all I did was cram for exams, and regurgitate info based on suspected exam questions).

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If instead of 3 or 4 years at university, students did 50% theory and 50% work experience, I think the benefits to both students and companies would be huge.

In hindsight, I think if I did work experience in a Big 4 accounting firm in my degree, I wouldn’t have joined one of their training programs.

My career path would be so totally different.

If I had done two work experience placements as part of my degree, I think I’d have been so much more switched on coming out of university.

I’d be streets ahead of where I am today.

From interviewing 100 graduates 10 years out of university for my book ‘1000 Years of Career Advice’, I can safely say they feel the same way.

1000 Years of Career Advice Background; Picture of a Book

Benefits of Work Experience for Students #4: No Strings Attached

It’s a great way to quickly test out very different careers without much risk.

Many young people nowadays do several work placements in one summer which helps them figure out what they like and don’t like.

Being able to leave a work experience placement that you don’t like after a few weeks is much better than being tied into a permanent job. 

Sometimes in a permanent job, you hate it but feel you can’t leave.

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Benefits of Work Experience for Students #5: Adds To Your CV

The CVs of school and university students will all look more or less the same.

Work experience will add to your CV and help you differentiate yourself from your peers when it comes to job applications.

Even now, only a small percentage of students do work experience so it will really make your CV stand out from the rest.

Recruiters and employers will definitely look at your CV more favourably if you have work experience.

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Benefits of Work Experience for Students #6: Makes You Grow Up a Little

You will be given work and a deadline, and it will be up to you to ensure it gets done.

This is very different from school!

You’ll start to learn how to take responsibility for your work, be on time, be well behaved, etc.

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Benefits of Work Experience for Students #7: Helps You in Interviews

It can be tough to answer interview questions on teamwork and problem solving when you haven’t worked anywhere before.

With some work experience under your belt, you’ll be able to give plenty of examples of how you contributed and what you can bring to future roles.

Benefits of Work Experience for Students #8: It Can Get You a Job

If you do well, there may be a chance you can get an internship or even a full-time job.

Many of the work experience students that worked at my company were offered full-time jobs when they graduated.

Work experience can facilitate a ‘try before you buy’ approach for both the employer and the student.

Benefits of Work Experience for Students #9: Helps You Figure Out What You Like and Don’t Like

It can either confirm career aspirations, or it can help you figure out what you don’t want to do.

Finding the right career for you is all about trial and error.

If you don’t try different industries, companies, roles, how will you ever know if you like them?

A good work experience placement should give you a snapshot of what working in that career might be like.

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Benefits of Work Experience for Students #10: It Gets Your Foot In The Door…

Once you are in a company you have access to lots of people you can ask questions.

What do their jobs entail, what they like, what they don’t like, their background, etc.

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Benefits of Work Experience for Students #11: Exposure to Senior People

You will get to see how managers and senior executives behave and go about their daily jobs.

Some of them may be so impressive that you think you would like to do what they do.

If this is the case then you have a ready-made career path you can follow!

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image: daimler

Benefits of Work Experience for Students #12: Gives You Practical Knowledge

You will take back to school or university invaluable info on how a company works.

This will help to give real-life examples in exam questions or help you decide on topics for presentations/projects.

Confused about what career to pursue? Too much info on the internet? If so read the good and bad points of 16 popular professions 

Benefits of Work Experience for Students #13: Increases Motivation

Increases motivation to do well when you go back to school or university.

Studies have shown that students who have done work experience are more likely to obtain a higher result in their exams.

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Benefits of Work Experience for Students #14: Puts school in perspective

Working in a company while at school or university helps you to see how much or how little of what you are studying relates to the real world.

For example, a maths student might think there are lots of maths used daily in an engineering company, but the reality might be quite different.

In your teens and thinking of work experience? then check out my blog post here

Benefits of Work Experience for Students #15: Strengths and Weaknesses

It helps to identify what your strengths and weaknesses are; what you are good at and what you might need to work on.

You can compare your skills to other people in the workplace and see how good or bad you are.

For example, maybe you thought you were good at excel or coding in university until you saw how good other people were in the workplace.

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18 thoughts on “Benefits of Work Experience for Students; 15 Big Advantages”


    These are all really good points. I did work experience twice with different companies and found that it was helpful in learning on the job about how businesses work. It also highlighted areas I had to work on.

  2. Khushboo

    These are some great helpful tips. I guess it will help many of us. Thanks for sharing this with us.

  3. I never worked as student, it isnt really that easy to get a job as a student back in the ph. But i really hoped I did worked then.

  4. So true. I had internships in University and in grad school but placements are the way to go and I hope many student take advantage of the life-long lessons and advantages it brings.

  5. I totally agree. Work life is very different from school life and it’s really to the student’s advantage to get an experience working. Are there even any opportunities available for incoming college freshmen? It would be nice for them to test out the waters that early so they could change majors if they realized they didn’t want that kind of career.

  6. So true Cherrie, work experience is such a ‘try before you buy’,it’s madness that we don’t encourage young people to do more of it before spending thousands of pounds/dollars in university/college. One of my friends said to me: ‘We put so much research into buying a house or a car, but we don’t research all the possible career paths there is available to us? We just get offered a job, take it and hope we’ll enjoy it!’ Thanks for the comment!

  7. These are great ideas! I absolutely adore it! I think more students need experience, they learn so much more and grow a lot!

  8. Such a great and insightful post. No matter how much education someone gets, real life work experience is the best especially for teens and young adults!

  9. Dalene Ekirapa

    Gaining work experience is vital in developing one’s skills. As an interior design student, I must admit that work experience has made me more knowledgeable on the subject that I can blog about it.

  10. Couldn’t agree more with all the points that you’ve mentioned! The work experience gives a broader perspective and prepares students for real corporate world challenges!

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