Friday, 12 June 2015

A Simple Graduate Formula: Get Experience = Get a Job

One of the biggest obstacles to securing a graduate job is a lack of relevant experience. You may have earned a high grade for your degree and while that is certainly a great starting point, it will only get you so far before you have to prove yourself in the real world of work.

While being intelligent is important, you need to also demonstrate that you have the right kind of skills that employers are looking for in a business environment. Skills such as time management, leadership and problem solving are all somewhat generic traits that are important, but employers need more than this. They need to know you’re familiar with the technical intricacies of their business and industry.

It can be frustrating to hear that in order to get a foot on the career ladder you need to already have work experience, but there are numerous ways that you can enhance your CV before you graduate, including internships and interim work experience, which come with their own benefits.


Internships have garnered a somewhat dubious reputation, but they can be advantageous for employers and soon-to-be graduates alike. They are usually beneficial for young people who already know what type of job they want to go into, acting as a long-term training program so that they get to experience real aspects of the job. An internship allows you to gain real-life experience and insight into the sector and network with the relevant people.

Internships can last from a few weeks, up to a year depending on the industry and the employer. While many businesses offer unpaid internships for a short period of time, anything that requires full-time work for longer than a few weeks should be paid at least the national minimum wage. If your role is unpaid, you should be subsidised for travel and work expenses and what you won’t be receiving in monetary value, you will be regaining in knowledge and experience.

You can search and apply for thousands of internships in the UK online, or you could speak to your college or local youth centre to explore new opportunities. Take your time with your application; internships can be just as competitive as applying for a full-time job, as some industries only accept interns as a route to employment.

Temporary work experience

Temporary work is a fantastic way for students to gain real-life employment experience for a short period of time. As a temporary or interim worker, you will be working in the same role as a full-time member of staff but you will have a fixed contract that determines how long you will be at the organisation for. This provides a great opportunity for students who are looking to gain some work experience for a few weeks in the summer break, but can’t afford to work for free or for minimum wage.

Numerous organisations require temporary members of staff to ensure that their business operates well. In particular, the summer months require additional members of staff to cover annual leave that has been booked by permanent members of staff. Temporary positions can be for a number of sectors and if you register with a specialist recruitment agency you could find yourself gaining experience for multiple industries in the space of one summer.


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