Is work experience essential or an optional extra?

The keys of successYou may be unsure of the benefits of organising some work experience or a summer internship, but a recent survey reported in the BBC News highlighted that, ‘graduates who have had internships are three times as likely to land jobs’. (Source: High Fliers Research reported on BBC News website).

The graduate job market is increasingly competitive with record applications reported, as well as ‘a rising expectation that students will already have relevant work experience’ (Source: High Fliers Research reported BBC News website).

So if you have just finished your first, second or even final year, then developing your skills in the work place are important to prioritise, as well as gaining a good degree to get into a job you want!

“Work experience is no longer an optional extra for university students, it’s an essential part of preparing for the graduate job market,” (Source: Martin Birchall, High Fliers Research on BBC News).

Justin Clover also gave his opinion in a previous blog about how important it is in finding an internship in the graduate job market.

So how do you find work experience and internship opportunities?

Here are some key points as a quick reminder to help you if you are still looking for this summer, or if you want plan for next summer and get ahead:

  • Research for possible opportunities through a variety of methods and sources, check out my previous blog on being resourceful in finding opportunities to help you get started
  • Start looking at available vacancies on CareersLink, which is just for University of Manchester students and graduates. Vacancies get posted all year round and get updated every week!
  • Finding work experience in your first year – check out advice for first years in finding opportunities in a previous blog and also first year advice on our website.
  • Final year student graduate internships through the university – check out information on the Manchester Graduate Leadership Programme (MGIP) where a number of vacancies are being advertised at the moment that you can apply to.
  • Advice for final year students – also check out the Graduate blog  for more information and advice, as well as  details of some nationwide graduate schemes.
  • Build up a network of contacts and knowledge of organisations in the sector that interest you. Check out my previous blog on getting connected and networking.
  • Plan to spend time writing a good well-tailored application for each role you are applying to. Check out my previous blog on Avoiding common mistakes in applying to internships.
  • Be resilient, be focused and don’t give up on your goal! It is never too late to make use of your time productively in the summer. Be prepared to be flexible, think out of the box and look in a variety of places for opportunities, especially when options have become more limited in the area that interests you. Find a role that develops some of the skills you need to build upon even if it isn’t your ideal work experience. This is especially true at this time of year. See the Shopping basket of skills blog for inspiration.
  • You can also discuss looking for work experience with a member of the Careers staff to help you plan further. Information on booking guidance appointments and the Careers Resource Centre are on our website.

Our website has useful information and advice on finding work experience and internships see our Finding Work section.

You may also be interested to read the full article on the BBC News Website see High Fliers Research.

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