More than two thirds of Britain’s top graduate employers provide paid work experience and internships to penultimate year graduates as well as over half providing industry placements as part of structured degree programmes. The Graduate Market 2016 has seen the most paid work experience placements available on record in 2016. So what are the advantages of seeking out this form of paid employment whilst still at university?

Securing that dream job

Over 50% of graduate employers look for work experience when recruiting graduates. Showing relevant experience within an industry puts you at a great advantage. Not only will this show future employers you were able to take initiative early on, you may get a job at the end of it for next year. We have found a number of graduate employers solely recruit from their work experience placements or interns. 

Be the competition

By securing a work experience placement whilst still at university you will make your CV much more competitive when applying for graduate work. It will demonstrate your employability and that you have skills in the workplace. 

Finding out your strengths

If you don’t currently have much work experience beyond those 2 weeks you did at school you may not know how you fit into a professional environment. Spending a few months doing professional 9-5 work can be a real eye opener. You may develop new skills and learn something that can be applied to future job applications. Often placements can give you experience of a number of departments which is a great opportunity to find the perfect fit. If you’re not getting the experience you had hoped for, ask your supervisor and try and negotiate a bit of time trying something different. 

Finding out your weaknesses

Work Experience is a great learning opportunity and provides you with an opportunity to see what career fits.  By undertaking a vacation scheme or work experience placement you might rule out a certain job. It is much better to find this out early rather than during a full time graduate job. Use it as a positive point in interviews to show that you can learn from experiences. For example: ‘during my vacation scheme with XX I realised that I would flourish in a more technically challenging environment and see YY as the perfect fit”.

Getting used to the workplace

When it gets to the end of your degree you will have been living the student dream for at least 3 years. The workplace is very different to what you’re used to and can come as quite a shock. Being able to get up early and last a full day of work will put you leagues ahead competitors at assessment days. 

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Jazz Panesar is a Digital and Technology Apprentice at Severn Trent. Read Jazz’s story here.

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