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Work experience: why is it important?

Employability Service

Category: Student support services

18 February 2020

Ellie - marketing apprentice and guest blogger

Ellie works full-time for a recruitment company, having initially joined them for a period of work experience. Here, Ellie discusses how that work experience helped her secure the role she has now.

We posed the question 'why is work experience important?' to a recruiter, who also has first-hand knowledge of how work experience helped her secure the role she has now…

My name is Ellie, and before starting as a Marketing Apprentice at Swanstaff Recruitment, I knew nothing about marketing – but I did know it suited my personality and met my interests. So I completed voluntary work experience with the company. I enjoyed my time so much and it led to my being offered an interview for a full-time role and further qualification. So, in my experience, a work placement was the catalyst for my career.

After secondary education most of us just don’t know what we want to spend the rest of our working lives doing, do we? You’ve chosen your degree, but one of the top reasons why work experience is so beneficial is that it can help you decide what career you want. Trying out different industries and job roles without going through the dreaded interview/hiring process sounds like a dream, right? Right! Work experience also helps you understand the expectations of an employer and how to conduct yourself in the workplace.

If you’re even partly sure you know what you want to do, I’ve found work experience is a great way to really get a feel for an industry and role before you jump into that world. Completing work experience in multiple sectors (marketing, fashion, teaching, events, retail) really opened my eyes and confirmed that marketing was exactly what I wanted. Not just the job, but the people I wanted to work with and the company I wanted to work for.

Photo by STIL on Unsplash

Hand with notepad and pen

Any work experience shows employers you are actually interested and passionate about the chosen industry/role. This boosts your confidence and puts you at the front of their minds when hiring – they may even just take you on. With many roles receiving 100+ applications, having experience in the role (or the working world in general) can set you aside from the competition – helping you to land your perfect job.

Don’t forget networking is another huge benefit! Meeting and speaking with new people from different industries broadens your job prospects and opens your mind to new roles (and skills of your own) that you may not have known existed.

Work experience is everything it says on the tin: it gives you experience in the working world. So, with all the positives this brings, why don’t you let it see where it can take you?

For advice and support on finding and applying for work experience, including part–time work, internships and placements please see The Career Centre.


The views expressed here are those of the individual and do not necessarily represent the views of Anglia Ruskin University. If you've got any concerns please contact us.