The Importance of Work Experience


Work Experience

Do employers prefer skills rather than qualifications?

Gone are the days when graduates fresh from university walk straight into full time employment. Now, even with a good degree, many young people struggle to find work. Some are forced to take temporary jobs in bars and restaurants as a means to get by whilst applying for jobs and attending interviews in their spare time.

Placement or sandwich courses are becoming increasingly popular with students nowadays. This route provides a year out of studying in their chosen industry where they can gain valuable, professional experience. After graduation, this makes the CV more appealing to potential employers. With companies receiving large amounts of CV’s and covering letters on a daily basis, it is important to make an impact. Demonstrating time in industry stands out from other applicants who have little or no experience.

The difficulty for young people is gaining this work experience.  Companies are often hesitant to employ undergraduates, or even graduates, who are academically capable but lacking in experience. This is because there will most probably always be another applicant who has some work experience under their belt.

In addition, it is important that companies realise that work experience should be beneficial to both parties.  If the applicant is given meaningful tasks and a degree of responsibility, they will gain far more out of the placement than if they are simply making cups of tea and coffee.