High Fliers Report and the importance of work experience

Last Week High Fliers published their annual ‘Graduate Market in 2013’ report. It’s a study of the latest graduate vacancies and starting salaries at 100 of the UK’s best known and successful employers. The survey is conducted every December.The keys of success

On the whole the report is quite positive revealing that –

  • Employers are expecting to increase graduate recruitment in 2013 and half are planning to recruit additional graduates
  • The biggest growth in vacancies in expected in the public sector, retail and engineering/industrial companies

However so far in this year’s recruitment cycle employers have received 7% more applications than at the same time in 2012 which means to stand out of the ever increasing crowd you need to make your applications as strong as possible. Over half of the recruiters who took part in the survey warn that graduates who have no previous work experience at all are likely to be unsuccessful in their applications and have little or no chance of receiving a job offer. So to make a strong, successful application work experience is essential.

Internships and placements are perhaps the best way of getting relevant work experience (especially if it’s with the organisation you want to work for.) But anything counts! If you’ve had a part time job, worked on a particular project whilst at uni or simply volunteered at your local charity shop you will  have gained really useful experience and a range of transferable skills to use on your applications.

So chances are you’ll have some experiences you can draw on. But what if you don’t, or what if you need to develop more skills to boost your applications, what can you do?

  • Short term placements – Although the majority of internships and placements are advertised at first or second years there are ‘graduate level internships’ advertised on Careerslink in a range of sectors.  Other universities offer short term opportunities which might be of interest to some of you living away from the Manchester area.
  • Short courses/workshops – A range of opportunities to attend courses/ workshops often pop up on Careerslink. Currently free courses in commercial veg growing and free journalism workshops are being advertised. Login to Careerslink or join social media channels such as twitter to hear about opportunities.
  • Work shadowing- Work shadowing allows you to gain an insight into the work of a particular organisation or profession. I’m a big fan of work shadowing as I shadowed a librarian before applying for this job and got some really useful experience I was able to talk about in my application. If you’re interested in work shadowing contact organisations in your relevant sector or think about whether you have contacts/family or friends that could help. For my work shadowing I contacted by old 6th Form library… worryingly they remembered me as a student and were happy to help!
  • Volunteering-  Volunteering is essential if you are looking to work in the charity or international development sector as you need to show commitment to working in the area. However it’s not just for people looking to get into this sector, a range of other employers will be impressed with the commitment that you have shown as well as the skills you will develop.  You can find opportunities through Careerslink, do-it.org or Volunteer England.


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