Home > School Life > Investigating Work Experience

Investigating Work Experience

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 23 Aug 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Work Experience part Time Work part

Work experience can be part time or full time. It can be paid or unpaid. It can be in a museum or it can be in a pub. It can be supervised well or hardly supervised at all. It can be undertaken for educational experience or undertaken for financial gain. It can be fun or it can be tedious. Sometimes it can be both. Clearly, options abound for work experience in the UK. With so many different scenarios available it can be hard to find a good definition for work experience, but for the most part it is accepted that work experience is any voluntary or paid labour that you perform before you begin your career. So that summer that you walked along the beach in a sandwich board? It can count - if you're willing to admit to it!

Consider Your CV

A lot of students initially balk at the idea of work experience. Why add more to their already overflowing schedules when they might not even get paid for it? Smart students already know the answer to this - because there's more to work experience than just the pay check. Work experience offers:

  • Experience in your chosen career or industry.
  • Opportunities for networking with companies and key players.
  • Impressive additions to your CV.
  • The chance to hone "soft skills" that employers find attractive such as:
    • Decision making.
    • Maturity.
    • Cooperation.
    • Problem solving.
    • Communication.

Types of Work Experience in the UK

In the UK there are a number of different types of work experiences available to students. Whether or not work is undertaken for pay, educational credit or both does not affect the type of work that is involved in each. Types of work experience in the UK include:

  • Vacation work (any work undertaken during your holidays and outside of term time).
  • Part time (35 hours or less each week) jobs.
  • Voluntary (unpaid) work.
  • Work shadowing (usually short term and unpaid) in which a student "shadows" an employee to get a feel for his/her job and industry.
  • Internships (often unpaid) which are much like work shadowing only the student has work of their own to complete.
  • Gap year placements (usually undertaken as part of a formal programme) which can occur at home or abroad and are usually unpaid.
  • Sandwich placements (usually undertaken during a year "out" of your educational course).

Applying for Work Experience

If you're raring to find work experience then you're not alone! To beat out the competition, make sure that you:

  • Thoroughly research the companies and industries in which you would like to work.
  • Draft a complete CV and formal application letter.
  • Ask for references from teachers, coaches, professors or other adults (to whom you are not related) who know you best.
  • Practice interviewing techniques and answering questions about yourself and your experiences.
  • Present yourself as competent and mature from the start.
  • Turn up to interviews well dressed and clean.
  • Follow up all interviews with a thank you letter.
Congratulations! With enthusiasm, the right demeanour and total dedication there is no doubt that you will soon be enjoying the work experience that you're dreaming about now. Good luck!

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Ccmm143
    Re: All about Abortion
    My boyfriend and I are both 16 and we had sex and the condom broke and he came, I am on the pill but I am 8 days late for my period. I’ve been…
    17 October 2018
  • sad but cute
    Re: How to Deal with Pressure From Parents
    since i was a kid my mother always put presure on me at my grades she always compares me to my half big sister…
    15 October 2018
  • Alisha
    Re: Warning Signs of Self Harming
    I have recently been self harming , I told my best friend and she talked to me , she said I should stop , I still have scars from…
    15 October 2018
  • helpmeplease
    Re: All about Abortion
    I had sex 8 days ago I used a condom But I’m scared I’m pregnant because I’m having stomach cramps badly and my boobs hurt, can I be pregnant
    7 October 2018
  • Deano2001
    Re: All about Abortion
    Im 17 and have been in a relationship with my boyfriend for nearly five months I am on the pill but I found out today that I am 3 weeks+…
    6 October 2018
  • Chad
    Re: Questionnaire: Are You Addicted to Social Networking Sites?
    I am a grade 12 student. We are asking permission to use your questionnaire in our study.…
    4 October 2018
  • jens
    Re: All about Abortion
    i think i'm pregnant i had sex exactly a month ago and have missed my period, i'm 14, can i go to the drugstore and buy a pregnancy test, how…
    28 September 2018
  • young slayer123
    Re: Arguing With Parents
    every day i wake up and cut my wrist more then once then i go to school eat and bullied then i go home and eat some cake and sleep and cut…
    28 September 2018
  • NORMIE KILLER123 69
    Re: Arguing With Parents
    My MoM THinKs' i A m a girl bUt Mesa FeLl liKE bøi
    28 September 2018
  • the big daddy
    Re: Arguing With Parents
    i got myself preganagnt what me do now
    28 September 2018