Benefits of Work Experience
Why is Work Experience Important?
What makes you so different?
Whether you realise it or not each year thousands of students graduate from High School. In doing so they have demonstrated that they can complete set tasks, research and write assignments, work individually and as part of a group, and make presentations to class. So what makes you stand out from the crowd? Why would an employer notice you above everyone else? That’s where work experience comes in.
In order to stand out, you need to show that you are ‘work ready’ and ‘employable’ – that you have the skills (not just academic) that an employer is looking for, and skills that you can apply to the job you want. If you gain some experience in the industry or even with the company you wish to be hired with you are already a step ahead of those that have not. If you have zero working experience (despite how good your grades are or how many degrees you have or how your stars told you this morning that you would get the job or even how much you really really really want the job) your chances of landing that dream job are minuscule. So take my advice. The more experience you have the better and the more skills you develop (and put on your rйsumй) during your work experience the better.
So I need some skills?
Yes, yes you do. The students that show all or many of the following skills will ultimately achieve the most out of their experience and be much more likely to be asked back for future work or given endorsements from the employer about their ‘employability’. This is a key for your rйsumй.
- Problem solving (parent + car + me = lift to placement)
- Excellent communication and interpersonal skills (dealing with other
- employees and customers – always attempt to use sentences with more than one word)
- Time management (showing up on time and getting things done quickly)
- Professionalism (brushing your teeth and combing your hair is a start)
- Initiative (e.g. coming up with new ideas or ways of doing things)
- Teamwork (including being respectful to others)
- Working maturity (such as coping with long working hours and being prepared for challenges as they occur – try not to cry too much)
- Willingness to learn and be guided by others (you don’t know it all)
- Enthusiasm for the tasks provided (yeah, whatever, is not the best response I can think of)
- Computer skills ( you probably do know more than adults in this area)
- Demonstrate an understanding of the ‘business’
Without any work experience many of these skills may be missing or may be a huge learning curve for you – a learning curve your employer won’t want you to experience during your first job with them. So during your placement write down what new skills you developed and how they were applied to the jobs you did.
Hey I learnt a skill already, how to apply for a job!
The process of applying for jobs is really a job in itself! (Except you don’t get paid). The more work experience placements you apply for, the more confident you will become with the process and the more refined your approach and rйsumй will become (as long as you get feedback about what you did right and where you could improve your applications).
Get yourself a reference (…a what?)
By getting a favourable reference (a piece of paper from a third party that says you really are as great as you say you are) to add to your list of skills on your rйsumй you are much more likely to land a job. Also, doing work experience gets your foot in the door with potential employers which can’t be underestimated.