Sunday, 7 August 2011

Students struggling to gain work experience

A recent survey from TARGETjobs shows students felt that the lack of work experience opportunities made it difficult when breaking into the graduate recruitment market. When it came to graduate jobs and graduate careers, students felt that employers favoured students who had substantial and relevant work experience. Many pointed out the irony of the situation where they were encouraged to get work experience by the same organisations who didn’t actually offer it to them.

A mechanical engineering student from Imperial College said, "Graduates need a chance to gain experience although they are being asked to have experience before they’re considered for a job."

Interestingly, 90 per cent of respondents said they knew other students who were actively considering working outside their degree area of study after graduation.

Chris Phillips, chair of the TARGETjobs forums said, "I have never experienced such a consistent response from a student survey before. The majority of respondents were amazed and appalled at the lack of work experience being offered and the insistence by some employers that experience was a pre-requisite for applicants." Chris gave advice, "It is important that students can focus their graduate jobs intentions early in order to take part in constructive internships and placements, focus their studies and make the most out of their careers service in order to land themselves the best graduate jobs. For me the Careers Report carries on the TARGETjobs tradition of supplying valuable and constructive graduate careers and graduate scheme information and support."

Find out more information, and find relevant graduate schemes at TARGETjobs.


  1. Work experience is very important, and it is advisable to arrange some in a relevant company as soon as possible. Approach companies directly, and if you find it hard to get experience in a large company, try a smaller local company that works in the same field. You will often find that you get a lot more varied experience and are given more responsibility in a smaller firm. I recommend undertaking a work experience placement during your summer holiday whilst you are a student, and also looking for relevant part time work in that sector whilst you are studying.

  2. Hello Chris,

    Just stumbled on this blog, thanks for the mention!
    I think it is really important to have work experience and as my colleague Chris said the earlier you decide on what career to focus on the better, also as David commented, smaller companies are a great place to start, don't get disheartened if the bigger companies don't take notice of you at first. Also one last tip: don't understimate the value of taking part in societies they add to your 'soft skills' and have a look at our work experience pages for tips on how to get experience.

  3. Thanks for this post. It Very nice article. It was a very good article. I like it. Thanks for sharing knowledge. Ask you to share good article again.

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