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Saturday, 8 September 2012

Why Work Experience is Important

A lot of people shy away from the idea of work experience, thinking it's only necessary to do for those two weeks in high school and not really realizing how beneficial it can be.  Work experience is, essentially, working for free, in some cases you have to cover your own travel costs and, if you're already working, take time off from your main job. 

Despite this, work experience can be extremely helpful, especially if you're trying to get into a business like media or journalism. I've found that most of the journalism related opportunities I've gained since graduating have mostly been down to my own experience rather then my degree. I know a lot of you blog readers hope for a career in media, so I'm hoping that this post applies to a lot of you. With media/journalism, it's never strictly about having a degree and sometimes it's never strictly about having experience either. Although you can break into the industry on just one of the two, both are equally just as important to the other which means that getting some work experience under your belt is so helpful to get your foot in the door in a career like this.

However, as stated before, obviously the 'working for free' part doesn't really appeal to many people. Here's some tips to why you should consider doing some work experience despite this factor anyway and how it will help you.

  • Any form of work experience will look great on your C.V, whether you spent the week getting features published or something as little as making tea for everyone. No matter what, the fact that you were willing to take time out of working and put some effort into furthering your experience will look really good on your C.V and any future employer will see that. Most especially, if you manage to bag work experience at a well known or really good company, this will also look great.
  • You'll make some great contacts too, and if you make a good impression people will remember you. Even if it doesn't lead onto a job, if you've made a good impression with the people you worked with then they will remember you and probably consider you for any other upcoming opportunities too. 
  • You'll also get the chance to work and speak to these people and learn more about their roles in the company and the production of the company's product (such as how a magazine is put together if you do experience with a magazine's company etc) and no matter what, you'll end up learning loads. There's no doubt that you'll finish your work experience having learned more about the career than you did in the first place.
  • You'll have a chance to impress your boss or anyone else that works there the way other people won't. If you apply for any jobs at a later date, they'll already know the standard of your work and how well you fit in with their team so already you've got that extra positive that other people applying for the job won't have.
  • Finally, you'll have fun - there's nothing better sitting in the offices of your dream job, trying out different roles in the company and meeting other people that work there.

There are many other benefits of work experience but that's generally the gist of it - the idea that I'm trying to put across is that it'll benefit YOU and not just the employer. So many people think work experience is just an excuse for a company to use someone for pointless errands - and sometimes you might find you do end up having work experience where you do little else - but even in cases like these, it'll still benefit you a lot. You'll also probably find that a lot of companies are so lovely to work with and will probably offer some money towards any travel costs and be quite flexible if they know you need to commute far.

So if you weren't quite sure whether to go ahead with work experience, hopefully this post has changed your mind a bit! Over the next few weeks I'll be posting about this a few more times with advice on how to find yourself work experience and how to act on work experience as well. There are so many people struggling to get their foot in the door right now and work experience is one of the few but extremely helpful methods for helping towards getting that dream job.


1 comment:

  1. I agree with lots of this stuff. That said, I think the key is time and how much you put in. There's so many companies who will take the piss out of you (especially in media.) Work shouldn't be unpaid for longer than two weeks (by law) and you should be getting stuff in return. Eg: If you're working for a mag are they helping you to improve your writing? Or are they just getting you to churn out press releases. Do it for sure, but only if you can really see the value.

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