The below Work Experience Benefits show why work experience catapults your career forward faster than any ‘A’ in an exam:
Work Experience Benefits #1: Gain insight into 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 is 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.
Work Experience Benefits #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.
Work Experience Benefits #3: You learn a lot more than in Lecture Halls
Thinking about university now, 10 years on later, I’m certain I would have learned more from work experience than what I learned in lecture halls. (which was barely anything, as all I did was cram for exams, and regurgitate info based on suspected exam questions).
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, and my career path would so totally different. If I had of 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 and be streets ahead of where I am today. From talking to numerous friends on this, I can safely say they feel the same way.
Work Experience Benefits #4: No Strings Attached
It’s a great way to quickly test out very different careers without much risk. Many young people so 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 that you might hate but feel you can’t leave.
Work Experience Benefits #5: Adds to you 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.
Work Experience Benefits #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.
Work Experience Benefits #7: Help 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.
Work Experience Benefits #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 firm 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.
Work Experience Benefits #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.
Work Experience Benefits #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.
Work Experience Benefits #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.
Work Experience Benefits #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.
Work Experience Benefits #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
Work Experience Benefits #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 is lots of maths used daily in an engineering company, but the reality might be quite different.
Work Experience Benefits #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.
If you’ve any questions on work experience, assessment days, interviews, etc., feel free to get in touch via LinkedIn, I’d only be too happy to answer them. Thanks!
Below are some of the interviews that I’ve done with students who have recently finished their work placements with companies: