Work Experience Whilst at University: Is it Essential for Your First Job?
work experience essential for first job

Work Experience Whilst at University: Is it Essential for Your First Job?

Going to university is seen by most as an adventurous and exciting period in life, as well as a transitional period which sets you up for the rest of your life. Work experience such as an internship abroad or utilising language skills in a role closer to home is often undertaken by many language students to boost their CV and maximise their chances of getting a graduate job, but is it worth it?

Gets You Used to the Workplace

For those who have a clear objective at university and are set on a career path, work experience can provide a good indication of workplace environment and conditions. This can be useful when applying for a language job after university, as employers value someone who can quickly adapt to the job.

It is also a good way to test the waters and see if the job type is right for you, something which will save you time when you apply for jobs after university. The experience can also ease the shock of transitioning from studies to full time work.   


Can Detract from Studies

Although the period spent in work experience differs from student to student, it is usually significant and can be time consuming. Studying for a language degree is often stressful enough, and having to work and study simultaneously may detract from academic study time and all important results in the long run.

Therefore, think about how useful experience is to your field, and how much time and effort you will spend juggling two large commitments. You are, after all, studying for a language degree, which is arguably the most important qualification when looking for a graduate job, and should always be your priority.  


Some Employers Require Experience 

Gaining experience is essential for some employers. Looking to the finance industry as an example, many recruiters will demand at least one year of experience. For such areas it is possible to gain an insight by managing your own personal finances, for example by setting up your own ISA or opening a demo account to with a forex or CFD broker. However, this would often be just the starting point.

To check whether experience is necessary, it could be worth contacting a language industry employer or looking online to see how valued experience is in your chosen region or language. It is worth noting that the entry requirement for some jobs is solely a degree, as full training is given. If this is the case, work experience might not be advantageous to you.     


It’s Not for Everyone

It is all well and good getting good work experience, but the truth is that many students have no idea what they want to do after university. Work experience chosen at random is likely to be uninspiring and unlikely to lead to a career, so it is certainly not something to be rushed into. 

Language degrees are not career specific, and there are students who have no intention of using their degree to find a job, but rather to extend their subject knowledge. A music degree, for example, does not lead to a specific industry in the same way an engineering degree does, so work experience may be more useful to the latter. 

The significance of gaining work experience really depends on how quickly you want a job after university, and how much you learn from the experience itself. It is most useful to people who have a clear idea of where they would like to end up career wise, but you must be able to tell an employer how it is relevant to the job you are applying for. It is far from essential, but ultimately it is down to you to decide whether it would be beneficial or not.  

Today's blog comes from Freelancer, Murray leClair.

Nov 8, 2017 by Guest Blogger

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Interesting topic, and it shows both advantages and disadvantages of working during your University years. I cannot relate 100% with the subject since I only worked during summer months whilst I was a student, therefore such issues as work distracting from my studies did not apply. I think however that a job while you are student can be most useful; it give you a sense of what working means, you can see if you can apply the things you learn at University at your job, and you get to test to job market with a sense of detachment, I would say: you do not have the pressure that you may have as a graduate to find and maintain a job.

posted 11 months ago by Alexandra Diana

Yes, Essential of course.

posted 11 months ago by Abdullah

As a student, I worked part-time in various positions, as much as time permitted.
I still think it was quite beneficial - I had my own money which allowed me to travel or to buy the things I wanted/needed, and at the same time I was getting used to the idea of having a job, which made it easier for me to get used to having a normal job.

posted 11 months ago by Sandra

I think this depends a lot of where you are studying and how much in need of capital you are.

posted 11 months ago by Aleksi

It always gives you the advantage over others, if you have any experience before completing your education. Whatever you do for your personal and business life will return something positive in the long run.

posted 11 months ago by Ufuk

Nice article.

posted 11 months ago by Petar

I agree a 100% with the last section. Not everyone is entitled to start working whilst at college, for not everyone has the need to do it so early. One thing is to work because it is a necessity whilst studying, and another is to earn some experience before finishing you career. It is for sure defying but not determinant; that means we don't have to stick to what we started working whilst university for the rest of our lives. Life has it turns, and nowadays it change very quickly.

posted 11 months ago by Maria Carolina

The problem is only that while you are student, you are not sure about your job preferences after graduation, but anyway any job experience is useful.

posted 11 months ago by Ivan

Working while learning should be mandatory in my opinion. Youngsters flowing into the job-market with no experience at all is a very dangerous situation for everyone. May they not only doesn't have experience in their own field, but in any job at all, do not knowing the nature of work. This is a problem.

posted 10 months ago by Gábor

Any many cases, work experience can play an important role for your future employer. So do not hesitate to take part in internships and generally in whatever can act as work experience, if you want to consider a successful career for yourself.

posted 9 months ago by George


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