It doesn’t matter if you’re a graduate, or at university; it doesn’t matter if you’re about to go to university, or making your own way in the world – I can guarantee that getting a job or making a career is on your mind. Having a higher pay than your typical retail job brings its own benefits, in the short term and the long term.
However, starting is the hardest part. It’s difficult to get up those rungs on the job ladder when you’re missing that one vital thing: experience. It’s a vicious cycle: you can’t get a job unless you have experience, and unless you have a job you can’t get experience. Seems impossible, right?
Wrong. Work experience can help you break that cycle. Here’s why you should take on work experience ASAP.
1. Looks great on your CV
This point is very obvious, but the more work experience you have, the more you increase your chance of getting a job. Having written proof of the skills your employer needs ultimately means a lot more than verbal assertions. You’ve already proven yourself to be capable!
Actively searching for work experience before applying for your job also portrays you as a go-getter, which is what every employer loves.
2. Acquire skills you can’t be taught in education
Unless your course is vocational-specific, there’s a good chance that the skills your employers are interested in are the ones you have to learn outside of the classroom. Knowledge of different software packages, like Adobe or Microsoft Office, are required for certain office jobs, but aren’t always taught at institutions like university.
You can always take extra courses online or in the evening, but work experience can help to bridge that gap even more comprehensively – because you’re using them in the very situations you’ll need them for in the future.
3. Bolster your social skills
The work environment can be incredibly daunting, and going to work for the first time can be a nightmare for those of us who aren’t naturally outgoing – especially if your job is in a big company with a lot of expectations!
Work experience can be instrumental in keeping your nerves down and bringing your confidence up. Your employers will be aware that this is a learning environment for you, and they want the work experience to work as well as you do – if they’re a good employer, they’ll do whatever they can to answer your questions, get you settled into the work environment, and get you working at your very best.
When you go into your next job, you’ll already have an idea of what the work environment might be like, so your confidence will come much more naturally. You’ll find it a lot more comfortable, and will make friends even more easily!
4. Work experience gets you more work experience
Although work experience is essential, the industry you might want a job in might require you to get a wider range of experience and skills – that means another, or multiple, stints at entry level jobs.
Already having some experience can be a great way to make your CV attractive to other companies taking on placement workers or interns.
5. Essential networking
Networking is becoming more and more advantageous for employees, even for people starting out in the world of work for the first time. Getting in with the right people can mean that prospective employers have someone to turn to for an extra recommendation, and your closeness to other workers can mean you get to hear about new jobs and new initiatives.
Work experience can be the place to start building your network. Working alongside other employees, for however long, gets your name established as part of a company, and part of an industry. Their links and recommendations can be helpful, if not instrumental, into getting you up on the next rung of your career ladder.
6. Fit around your schedule
Employers are aware that candidates are often away at university for most of the year, or already have a job. That’s why a lot of work experience is designed to fit around your life.
If you’re a graduate, they often last for 6 months to 2 years; if you’re in uni, college or school, they can be fit into the summer period; others only last for a couple of weeks. You can make the most of your time without interrupting your already busy life!
7. You can only be unpaid for so long!
Work experience is perfect for getting the right skills on your CV, but placements are unpaid and some internships can be too (although they shouldn’t be). If you’re at a place in your life when you can afford to take on work experience and not receive a salary, that’s great! But that window of time doesn’t last long for a lot of people – often when you’re in university or having just graduated – so it’s best to take the opportunity while you can!