Potential employers expect more than just good marks when choosing job-seekers for interview. One of the best ways to ensure that your CV stands out from the crowd is work experience. This could be a part-time job in hospitality or retail, or a specialised internship – either demonstrate to a potential employer that you have work-based skills that are essential for you to succeed in the role that you have applied for.
Really analyse the work that you have done in terms of skills. You may have worked at your local cafe over the summer and think this isn’t anything to brag about on your CV – but it is. Over the summer you developed skills in organisation to ensure that you arrived to work on time; listening and teamwork throughout your shift; responsibility and reliability in money-handling (just to name a few). These basic skills are transferable and essential to any position, from executive to graduate level.
Learn more about your interests and abilities
Aside from enhancing your employability, work experience gained through a part-time job, internship or industrial placement can really help you learn more about your own abilities. When put in a new work environment, you’re encouraged to explore your talents and figure out what you are best at, and what you most enjoy. For example, you can’t decide that you enjoy or have a talent for riding a bike just from reading an article about the experience – you have to throw yourself in and learn this for yourself. Often you may surprise yourself to learn that a part of the role that didn’t really appeal to you is something that you are actually really talented at.
Study to Work transition
Weather you’re just leaving school or graduating from university, starting in the world of work will always be a massive adjustment. A bit of work experience will go a long way in preparing you for this. Work experience will give you skills that the classroom or lecture theatre may not necessarily provide, such as getting the job done in sometimes loud environments with many distractions; office etiquette; self-discipline; and working in a multicultural environment consisting of many ages, backgrounds and interests.
Possibility of employment
A final benefit of work experience is a possibility of a full time position at the end of your internship / placement. If you are able to showcase your skills, competence, and ability to fit in well with the team, an employer may want to keep you on permanently. Alternatively, you may make contacts throughout your experience that may put you that step closer to securing your dream job.
As the saying goes, any experience is good experience and will set you apart from other applicants in a competitive job market.