The Importance Of Doing Work Experience While Studying

Posted by Lucas Leung

Work experience is a broad concept. It can mean anything from private tutoring to interning at a company. Adding these extra commitments on top of your university load might not seem that attractive to begin with, but the benefits are much greater than just for your bank balance.

Any work experience, whether it be a casual or part-time job, is a great boost for future employment prospects and is highly valued by recruiters and employers. Spending time working in various places throughout university will also improve your understanding of workplace dynamics and increase your transferable practical and soft skills.

Benefits

There are many benefits of gaining work experience outside of university. Here are just a couple:

  • Learning Valuable Skills

    Depending on the type of work you are doing, you will learn a wide range of different skills that you can apply in many scenarios. For example, if you work for a retail brand you like you can develop really great customer service/sales skills and consequently, your ability to communicate well and work with a diverse group of people will also improve. Similar skills are used in the workforce to manage projects and stakeholders. Similarly, becoming a private tutor for areas you are passionate about gives you great ownership and leadership skills that are easily transferrable into the workplace.

  • Standing Out From The Crowd

    Finding different types of work throughout university will help you stand out during the hiring process when applying for your first internship or graduate position. A lot of students graduate with a similar degree so experiences outside of university can differentiate candidates going for certain roles. This is where your work experience comes in. If you combine real professional experience, gained from the time you spent working for a company, with your degree qualification, you'll be a more attractive prospect than other graduates who have a degree but no practical experience. Plus you'll have a lot more to talk about in the interview and on your CV! 

  • Income

    Students are generally not the most financially independent, which is why it's super handy to have a few extra bucks in the bank from a casual or part-time job. Whether you work 5 hours or 20 hours a week, it will help cover things like weekly shops, nights out or even some of those 'crucial' textbooks your lecturer recommended.

    You could also spend it on your own personal development such as picking up lessons or an online course to learn a new skill! Having some extra income will also allow you to make the most of university, enabling you to go on trips overseas or have other fun experiences with friends, which are so important for mental health and a study-life balance.

  • Having fun!

    Believe it or not, working outside of university can be a great break from studying and actually be quite fun. Despite having its ups and downs, work gives you the opportunity to meet new people in an exciting environment. When it comes to choosing the right job for you, take some time to research the different types of opportunities that also suit your needs. The most common sectors that students go for are retail and hospitality due to the flexibility of the hours, as well as the potential staff discounts that come as a perk ;) 

    However, other options can include administration type roles at larger companies or popular brands and freelancing, which allows you to flex your creative muscles and gain practical experience doing something you are good at.

Where can I find a casual or part-time job?

Job search engines such as SEEK are a great place to start looking for jobs to apply for. Your university is a great resource, as most universities will have their own version of a job/careers board that you can look for to find work. The great thing about these boards is that they will also list positions available at the university, which can include things like student admin or research assistants. If all else fails, your network is a great way you can find job openings. From your friends to your extended family, there are people you know that will be able to keep you updated on job openings or even refer you!


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