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Exposing graduates to the workplace

The importance of work experience in securing a permanent job after graduation has been reiterated many a times. Work experience has become an important criterion for employers in recruiting prospective candidates. In a highly competitive job market, having a degree is just not sufficient. Graduates are often expected to prove their ability to work in an active, stimulating and vigorous work environment. In addition to that, work experience also plays a vital role in improving the marketability of students amongst employers.

The fact that employers give preference to students with considerable amount of work experience is substantiated some research findings. Work experience is not just limited to helping students enhance their employability. There are several other personal benefits that students are most likely to receive from it. University is the best time for students to take on work experience and internships as this gives them a much-needed head start to their careers. Most universities today have thriving careers service centers that help students to find work experience opportunities in their relevant fields of interest. The career centers give students valuable advice and also help them find a work placement that is conducive to their career development.

Work experience today has become a major part of the recruitment process. Most companies hire first and second year university students through a recruitment process that is similar to the graduate recruitment process. Once these students complete their brief work placement, companies offer them a permanent graduate job based on their performance. This goes to shows that by displaying their abilities and commitment for work, university students can land a job even before they graduate.

Although having a degree is a good investment for a secure future, it isn’t sufficient for students to accelerate their career growth. Work experience provides students with key skills that are fundamental pre-requisites for kick starting a successful career. Students must therefore utilise the benefits rendered by work experience. Students must try and prioritise the sectors and areas in which they want to work and the roles they wish to undertake at an early stage and work towards securing an internship or work experience at desired companies.

It is only natural for students to be confused and speculative of their career choice when they begin with their tertiary education. More often than not, this confusion arises due to the lack of information about the plenitude of career options available and their functioning. Work experience eliminates this confusion by supplying adequate information to students about the excess of career opportunities. Over and above that, students and graduates can get a taste of the work culture, job roles and day-to-day functioning of the company thus enabling them to make an informed decision on whether a particular job role or a career in a specific industry suits their interest. Work experience also facilitates a solid platform for networking which is very crucial for building contacts that become indispensable in securing a job in the future.

One of the most important benefits of work experience is its potential to provide opportunities for students to learn more about their own abilities. It helps them explore their strengths and weaknesses and identify the gaps in their skills. By helping students to explore the depths of their abilities, work experience can help students to draw a comparison between the skills they possess and those required by a specific job. It encourages practical application of the knowledge they have acquired at university/college. Irrespective of how much students have learnt at university/college; work experience imparts knowledge and skills that students might have never been exposed to while studying.

Having work experience listed on the CV instantly draws the employers’ attention towards the initiative taken by students to enhance their knowledge and skills in their chosen career paths. It resonates the passion, drive and interest demonstrated by the students to develop their key skills. It shows the willingness to work and due diligence that ultimately pays off in helping students get their dream jobs. Each and every student must make an effort to look for work experience opportunities and derive a multitude of the benefits it provides..

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