Written by Emma Upshall
BA (Hons) English
Summer – the time to relax after months of studying, go on holiday and enjoy the sun (something England lacks in) and for some the chance to boost their bank account. Whilst this sounds nice enough, there is one more thing that could add to your summer and could benefit you in the long run. With basically 3 months off we can all probably spare a couple of weeks to do some work experience and it will no doubt come in handy for your future.
To start it makes your CV and yourself much more attractive within the employability market. As I have experienced during my search for a work placement, when applying for jobs most employers are more interested in your work experience than your grades. The majority of people these days have a degree so its your real work experience that makes you stand out from the crowd.
The key word is ‘experience’. Work experience provides you with the opportunity to understand the real workings of a company and can help steer you in the correct direction. Whether you enjoy your experience or not, you don’t know until you’ve tried it. You might realise it’s not for you and so it will send you on to try something different, or you could fall in love and realise the job of your dreams. Either way, it will help develop your career and send you on the right path.
As students, we are taught in our chosen area to prepare us for our future career, however it is not until you are in the work environment that you put these skills and information learnt to practice. Last summer I worked for a social media marketing company for 2 weeks. Employers like me to expand on this experience and this is where I give evidence of putting my course skills such as research and creativity to practical use in a professional environment. I also learnt that whilst I loved the creativity aspect of crafting tweets and Facebook posts such as the one below, I didn’t want to specialise fully in social media but marketing in a more general sense. The company even published my blog on my experience with them – http://gumption.agency/emmas-work-experience-gumption-agency/.
Throughout your student life you should start to network and work experience provides you with a perfect opportunity to make contacts. A lot of the time, it’s not about what you know but who you know so use your summer to start building up your contacts and connect with them on sites such as LinkedIn. You never know when they can come in handy for the future.
So, make the most of your Summer as a student. Whilst I’d highly recommend spending some days in the sun like I did in Barcelona, try to boost your work experience section on your CV and become more desirable to employers.