Work Experience

Work Experience: Is it worth it?

Being accepted into University is fantastic; getting a good degree is even better. Although studying gives you a truckload of invaluable mental knowledge, it only gets you so far. Employers want to know whether you can hit the ground running and start working straight away – they want to hear about your actual physical work experience.

Isn’t it impossible to get work-experience?

People seem to think that work experience is all about getting the biggest, most infamous corporation to take you on for a few weeks so you can brag to your friends and prospective employers. This is rubbish! Applying to work for a smaller establishment can give you the opportunity to try a wider variety of roles and responsibilities, as there is generally a smaller workforce. Depending on the sort of industry you are going into, you might be able to take on a more permanent active role. It goes without saying that this looks a thousand times better on your CV than being the coffee boy/girl at your dream corporation.

How do I get work experience?

Work experience will never come to you – you have to go and find it. I was looking for ways to get into all the big organisations in the media and journalism industry, when somebody said to me: “It’s not about where you go, it’s about what you do.” That was the turning point. I realised that I had to create the experience!

I started out by sending my work to a couple of University-led publications, and after lots of hard work and dedication, bam! As if by magic, I was published! (Please note that by magic, I mean lots of hard work and research.) From there, I just kept it up – writing and sending out work, hoping to be published again. It wasn’t award-winning stuff or anything, but by showing a bit of passion and commitment, I was writing more and gaining the experience of working as a writer.

Can work experience get me a job?

My tutor, who works at BBC Radio Oxford, saw the research articles I had created. He was impressed and offered me a chance to work on the Saturday Sports show. This soon turned into a weekly volunteer role; I now report, edit, and work as a General Broadcast Assistant once a week, every week! The role is unpaid – as of yet – but the experience is way more valuable than any amount of money at this point. Experience really is worth more than gold.

Remember, work experience can come from anywhere. If you need it, then you absolutely must go out and get it. It’s those little nuggets of knowledge and experience that will undoubtedly help you succeed in life.

Coventry University provides help with finding placements, whether they’re short, long, UK or International.