Work experience helps graduate employment
By Pamela Head,
Graduates with work experience are three times more likely to land a job offer than other students, new research suggests.
A study by High Fliers Research has found that 36% of applicants who had completed an internship or other type of work experience with a graduate employer had secured at least one job offer by March this year, compared to just 11% of those with no experience.
Martin Birchall, managing director of High Fliers Research said: "Our latest research highlights that work experience is no longer an optional extra for university students; it's an essential part of preparing for the graduate job market. Students who just focus on their degree studies without spending time in the workplace are unlikely to develop the skills and interests that graduate employers are looking for.”
This news drives home the point that taking on work experience, internships or volunteering during your degree is essential. Anyone who has read my blogs will see that this is a common topic that crops up a lot. And that’s because it’s important. Having experience in the field you want to enter is crucial if you want to be a step ahead of all the other people on your course. If you’re doing a vocational subject like forensic science or psychology, the chances are you’re all thinking of the same career.
Quite often your university will assist you with this, offering volunteering opportunities, related societies you can join while you’re studying or even paid internships or local jobs.
For more creative and media-based careers, an internship is not just needed to get you ahead of others, but essential to get into the field at all.
With more and more universities – the University of Kent being one – passing motions banning the inclusion of unpaid internships as “immoral” and unhelpful to students because it reduces them to what is commonly referred to as slave labour in their eyes, the job market is even more difficult to get into.
These students scour job sites, newspapers, even send their CVs in on the off chance that something might happen, with no help from their university at all.
With 100 applicants for every one job in the media, it seems like an already impossible task just to get your foot in the door.
So my advice for you is this: If you are studying, or about to go to university this September, think ahead. For the first time in your life, you’ll have three months of holidays to fill up. No essays, no books to read, no deadlines, no exams. You may be looking at this time with longing eyes, urging time to speed up so you can get to June and do nothing. However, the novelty will wear off, university will come to an end eventually and you will find yourself wishing for something to do.
So why not take advantage of the resources at your fingertips and the helpful university staff who want nothing more than for you to be employed upon graduation (it makes them look good, you see), and keep an eye out for any chances to meet people and get some experience in a field you’re interested in.
Put yourself one step ahead of that annoying guy next to you in that lecture who stinks of stale vodka and falls asleep half way through. You can do better than him, so make things easier for yourself when you graduate.
theunipod has work experience opportunities this summer.