In recent years, having work experience in the field you are looking to enter has become increasingly invaluable. According to the Higher Education Statistics Agency, the total number of students entering higher education in the UK has increased by over 100,000 in the last 2 academic years alone, with the total in 2010/11 reaching over 2.5 million. Also in recent years, the number of first and upper second class degrees being awarded has increased. “The figures show that about one in six (53,215) of those graduating last summer was awarded a first. In 2006-07, 36,645 did so and in 2009-10, the number was 46,825.” (BBC News 2011). With increasing numbers of students gaining the higher degree classifications, standing out from their peers when applying for a job has become difficult. This is where work experience plays a major part.
Does Work Experience Help?
I can give you two examples in my own experience where I have seen how work experience can help you secure that dream job you’re looking for:
- A close friend of mine who I went to university with faced a dilemma during his placement year of his sandwich degree when he found out he failed the previous year and would not be allowed to return in final year. Instead of accepting this fact with defeat, he was pro-active and enrolled onto various IT qualifications such as Microsoft and Cisco to enhance his future employability. During these five months, he also took up various voluntary positions to further strengthen his chances of landing his dream job. Last week, he finally managed to turn his hard work into a fantastic result by securing a £65k-a-year job, working as a senior IT support engineer. He is also studying at the Open University to complete his degree.
- Another friend of mine was incredibly passionate about law and becoming a solicitor. Since graduating two years ago, she has been working tirelessly building the foundations of a successful career. She worked voluntarily for almost two years at a law firm, while also working as a part time waitress to fund herself. Last week, she found out she had been accepted into a law firm in Birmingham and her hard work over the last couple of years had paid off.
It is clear to see in the two examples above how you have to go that extra mile to ensure you stand out from the crowd. Ultimately, you want the employer to be able to see your dedication and hard work.
Graduates Need Experience
Graduates Need Experience is a recruitment company for graduates and students looking for work. It was set up as an aid for those struggling to find meaningful work experience by connecting them to employers. The majority of our internships are unpaid and voluntary but the value they add to your CV is incredible. It shows the employer that you are dedicated and willing to learn the industry-specific skills for free.
We have also recently partnered with a BTEC approved training centre and will be rolling out various training courses for young people (graduates and students) to enhance their employability. A pilot Social Media for Business course is due to run in April in Leicester. The course is free to attend and will last 3 days. After the course, the learner will be placed into a 3-month internship at a local business to help them develop a social media strategy. Throughout this period, they will have access to a mentor to help them along.
For more information on how we can help you secure an internship, visit www.graduatesneedexperience.com or send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, follow us on Twitter (@GradsNeedExp) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/graduatesneedexperience) for the latest job updates.
ABOUT AUTHOR: Vishal Lodhia, Managing Director
Vishal graduated with an Economics and Management degree from Aston University in 2010. After seeing many of his friends struggle to find graduate jobs due to a lack of work experience, he thought he would try to make a difference and in early 2012 created Graduates Need Experience, a jobs board that brings graduates and employers together by showcasing a list of graduate opportunities that students and graduates can apply for. GNE’s journey has only just begun and there are many exciting things to come in the not-so-distant future…
BBC News (2011) UK universities: More students awarded firsts and upper seconds [Online]. Available from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-16530012 [Accessed: 18 March 2012]