Preparing for your future, Work Experience

Three reasons why work experience is vital

Emily McCarthy, Internship Project Officer, explains the importance of work experience…

In a fiercely competitive graduate job market, it is becoming increasingly clear that work experience is no longer an added extra but a vital necessity.

  1. It is what employers value more than anything!

 Within such a 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.”

The graduate market is highly competitive, so make your application stronger by gaining as much industry experience now as possible. What is going to set you apart in the growing pool of graduates? You may feel like you don’t have enough time to get work experience alongside your academic commitments, but it may be just as difficult once you’ve graduated and need to fund yourself as soon as possible. You could time your work experience so that it falls in university breaks or over the summer.

Top Tip: Gain as much experience as possible while at university as you can. The sooner you start the more time it will give you to make the right career decisions.

  1. It offers an opportunity for networking

A work placement/internship will give you the perfect platform for networking. This is a chance to leave a positive impression with those who are already working in the industry you’re looking at a future in. Connect with your new contacts on LinkedIn and start growing your network of industry contacts- you never know what opportunities might come up! Sometimes work experience results in an offer of paid work!

Top Tip: At the end of your placement email your supervisor to thank them for the experience.

You can ask permission to use them as a referee on future applications or request a Linkedin recommendation which you can add to your profile.

  1. It’s a great introduction to the world of work

This is a great learning opportunity to see first-hand what your chosen career is actually like. This will help you gain a better understanding of a career/ organisation and see which areas you enjoy and, equally as important which areas you don’t. You may find that the career your heart was set on isn’t right for you and it is far better to realise this early in order to prepare for a new career path. You will also have the chance to put skills that you have developed academically to the test in a real-world environment.

Top Tip: Keep a reflective journal throughout your work experience that can then help you with future applications and examples during interviews.


Hear why work experience is so vital from students themselves…

Feeling Inspired? Get in touch

Need some help finding suitable work experience? The Work Experience Team now has a dedicated space on the online Jobs Board, look for the placement section where we advertise our full range of opportunities. The team has contacts with a variety of local employers who target Cardiff University students and graduates specifically, so you are in a great position to get some invaluable work experience for your future careers.

Register here to be kept up to date with the latest opportunities.

You can also talk through your options face-to-face with a member of the team at one of our drop-in sessions held once a week between 13:00-16:00. Book in person on the day from 12 noon at the Careers & Employability front reception desk, 51A Park Place.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter, or email us at

Alternatively, find out whether your eligible for help finding work experience with GO Wales. If you are, get in touch with them by emailing

Read about Sara’s experience with GO Wales here.


The Cardiff Award is another great way of getting work experience!

The Cardiff Award offers a structured opportunity for students to improve their employability and gain official recognition for their development. Find out more here, or get in touch by emailing, or by telephone on 029 2087 6945.

Fancy getting work experience in a completely different country?

Find out more about Global Opportunities here.


Your feedback and help please

Have you found this blog post useful?  Please help us by commenting in the comments bar below, and if there is anything further you’d like to know ask your questions there too.

We’d also be grateful if you can share this information by re-tweeting or sharing with your fellow students who may find this useful – you can do this by using the share buttons or via twitter and facebook.


Best Wishes,

Emily McCarthy, Work Experience Team.


Your Student Life, Supported.

The Student Support Centre has a range of services dedicated to helping students make the most of their time at University, including Advice & Money, Careers & Employability, Counselling, Health & Wellbeing, Disability & Dyslexia and International Student Support.

The Student Support Centres are located at 50 Park Place, Cathays Campus and Cardigan House, Heath Park Campus. For further details of services, events, opening times and more find us on the University Intranet.


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