Work experience is becoming paramount in securing your dream job. As you might have heard, “everyone has a degree”. These days, having some sort of experience in your field has gone from being the icing on a cake to being the `cake itself.

Completing university with internships and a placement year in the bag sets you apart from your peers in the world of work. Companies are more likely to hire former interns since they are most familiar with the company’s operations and culture. You would also have the opportunity to develop your social and professional network, and ‘test-drive’ a career path.

Work experience gives you exposure and allows you to make valuable connections with people in your field.

Being in year 10 or 11 does not excuse you from having some sort of experience. You could simply begin by volunteering at a local pharmacy, charity or school. The importance of starting from somewhere cannot be stressed enough. Your time volunteering at a local school could make you look appealing to a slightly bigger organisation and then to an even bigger organisation. This is the trick if you want to land big names on your CV.

Time spent doing these internships should make a significant contribution to your personal development, and this will only happen if you make the effort. This is because having a lot of experience would only get you through to the interview stage, at which you will be expected to give account of your experience. If you interned as an accountant you should be able to at least speak like an accountant during an interview. You might think that studying accounting allows you to do this. Well yes, but only to a certain extent. Who do you think an employer would go for? A person that gives account of real life projects and experiences or a person who only has university projects to talk about?

Of course, there are other factors that would make you successful during an interview; but it is good to at least, get this in the bag. Doing internships allows you to experience and solve real life problems, which makes you appreciate what you are studying at university or sixth form.

Don’t know where to begin?

Well for year 10s and 11s it would be best to find local charities or partake in NCS or the Duke of Edinburgh Award.

For Sixth Formers, you can also find local charities, volunteer to be a mentor on the NCS programme during the summer (you could also get paid for this position), partake in the Duke of Edinburgh Award or even secure an internship at a local firm.

You could also check out these sites to find local organisations to volunteer at:

Go think big

For university students, there are loads of platforms that help you find and apply for internships and placement year jobs. E.g. Gradcracker, Rate my placement and Debut.

All these examples are limited to my knowledge and experience. But what is stopping you from hitting the google search button?

You’ve made it to the end of today’s blog post. Hope you had a good read! Do not hesitate to message us on the topics mentioned or for some more advice.

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