Emily McCarthy from the Work Experience Team explores five myths about work experience that could be holding you back from achieving your dream job.
It’s a given – the graduate recruitment market is highly competitive, and you need to stand out from the crowd, so what, if anything is stopping you from strengthening your position through work experience?
1. Work experience is hard to find
No it isn’t, it’s pretty easy, actually! Being a Cardiff University student puts you in a great position for gaining work experience.
The Futures Connect team within Central Careers are here to help; we work across a wide range of industries and sectors to bring in work experience opportunities for you.
By accessing the ‘Work Experience’ tab of your Careers Account you can access a whole range of opportunities just for Cardiff University students.
Osian Morgan got a summer internship with the help of our team. This is what he had to say:
“I would recommend work experience through the Futures Connect Team not only to develop skills that will be useful in the future, but as a way of being introduced to working life under the guidance of the university, rather than being thrown in at the deep end’
– Osian, School of Welsh, Completed Eisteddfod Internship 2018.
2. Work Experience – isn’t that just making the tea?
Work experience should be a way to inspire and open your eyes to a huge range of opportunities available to you. It’s a chance to develop your employability skills and build your professional network.
Internships through the Futures Connect team are structurally set up with organisations so you are likely to be given your own objectives to achieve or a specific project to complete.
Although making the tea will probably make you very popular in your new team you will be putting your skills into practice throughout!
“I have had so many different experiences in my internship from business events, networking to managing clients and getting my work published.”
– Bethan, MA Public Relations and Global Communications Management, Completed Digital Marketing Assistant Internship with Business News Wales 2018.
3. I don’t know what to do, so there’s no point!
This is a popular misconception! The point is, work experience can help you gain an insight into different industries and is invaluable in helping you decide what suits you. So in other words, work experience helps you decide what to do!
Our Insight scheme is the perfect opportunity to get a flavour of different industries. These short-term placements allow you to discover if an industry is for you, while gaining some of the vital skills graduate employers are looking for.
“It is very important to expand past the sole core of studies at university and gain other experiences.”
– Anna, BA English Language and German, Completed Proofreading German Texts and Preparation for Monograph Index Internship.
4. Work Experience at a large organisation is more valuable than an SME (small-medium enterprise)
Absolutely no way! There are huge benefits to getting work experience with an SME. The company is smaller, there are fewer staff members and there is always lots to do.
As a result, you may get to experience a much wider exposure to different roles and tasks.
What’s more, the retention rate at SMEs is really high – i.e. they often keep you on after the placement. What’s not to love?
“Working for an SME provides a greater depth of experience than working for a larger organisation. Due to the smaller size, you get to encounter a wider range of career areas.”
– Niall, BSc Computer Science, Software Engineer Internship at Simply Do Ideas 2018.
5. I don’t have the time for work experience!
We know that your studies take up lots of time and that students today have lots of pressures surrounding them, but the fact is that within a competitive and fierce job market, having relevant work experience is an important factor in helping you stand out to an employer.
The High Fliers 2017 report reveals that:
” [Graduates] who have had no previous work experience at all are unlikely to be successful during the selection process and have little or no chance of receiving a job offer for their organisations’ graduate programmes.”
So! Don’t waste time putting progress off or you will never get around to it.
You need a clear plan of what you can do right now to make your graduate applications as strong as possible. Whether you’re a first year or in your last few months as a student, it’s never too early to take action.
The good news is many employers understand that as a student you are juggling your academic studies, part-time jobs, social commitments and that you may struggle to find a chunk of time to dedicate to gaining work experience.
Our Insight and Classroom Experience opportunities are flexible and generally local within the Cardiff area, with many students completing them on a part-time basis to fit around their other commitments. We also advertise part-time internships or full-time placements over the summer academic break.
“I have just graduated and my friends without work experience are struggling to find jobs. Internships offer invaluable experience which have long-term benefits and give you a competitive advantage in the graduate job market.”
– Libby, BA English Language, Completed a Marketing and Communications Internship with Groundwork Wales 2018.
Get work experience – TODAY!
You can find all live work experience opportunities by selecting the ‘Work Experience’ Tab of your Careers Account.
Apply now. Gain Experience. Be Competitive.
Contact Futures Connect
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Emily McCarthy, Work Experience Team.
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