Getting ahead with work experience

Work experience could be your best chance of getting ahead in the job market after you leave university.

Work experience in the media can give you the edge when applying for jobs when you leave university. | Photo: Samuel Cox

With graduate jobs becoming scarcer and university intake numbers increasing each year, standing out from the crowd in the job market is becoming more difficult. Work experience helps to make an impact on prospective employers and can put you one step ahead of the competition.

In a guest lecture organised by journalism course professor Richard Keeble, four former journalism students were emphatic that work experience had been crucial in getting jobs in the industry, possibly even more so than the grade they attained on their course.

Two of the students explained that their placements had led directly to employment, one at a local newspaper and the other on Sky Sports ‘Rugby club’ show after making a good impression on work experience.

In terms of the qualities that employers are looking for in work experience candidates, Lee Warriner part of the recruitment department at Lincolnshire Echo explains that a good work ethic counts for a lot.

“A willingness to learn and being enthusiastic is the key. Often people will come in very shy and it’s great to see their confidence build over time, for me it’s best to do at least two weeks in a placement as after the first week you really see people coming out of their shell and getting the most out of the experience,” said Warriner.

University of Lincoln careers advisor, Paul Charman, feels that it is best to take a personal approach when applying for work experience.

“The best idea is to get a name of someone at the company you want to do work experience for and ring up that person. Often I have people coming to me saying they’ve sent hundreds of e-mails or letters and heard nothing back, if you speak to someone on the phone, you get a feeling if they’re keen or not. Also make sure when you do ring up you have practiced what you’re going to say and know what you want to get out of the experience,” said Charman.

Mr Charman also recommends using online resources like the Prospects career website which provides advice on getting work experience, placements and details of work experience fairs.

Alternatively you can always make an appointment with a member of the Opportunities team at the University, whose office is located on the ground floor of the University’s main building.fellow graduates when applying

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