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Speaking from Experience, Experience is Key

With our Work Experience Fair coming up next week, student writer Alysha Yates takes a look at the importance of placements and work experience in your job search, and how it can help you find your perfect career.


For students branching off into the world of work can be quite a daunting experience, especially after having your head crammed in books for three years. The only way is up, out of the library and lecture halls, and into the domain of the skilled employee. It will only be as you write up your CV proudly writing your degree and the skills you’ve gained, that you come to the section you’ve neglected– experience. You frown at the thought of your lack of experience and worry about the possibility of getting the job of your dreams. Well never fear, all is not lost. Why not complete a placement now and gain some work experience? That will surely impress your potential boss.

Eager university student nurse Anita Williams, who completed a placement last year, shares her views on the program. The 21-year-old student spoke about her role working at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Trust:

“Although, I wasn’t able to fully take on the role I will be doing in a few years’ time, I still gained so much valuable experience from physically interacting with patients.”

Anita expressed how valuable having done the placement had been to her as a soon-to-be nurse.

She says: “I strongly believe the practical experience I received will help prepare me for this job as much as the text books I read did. A university degree and experience go hand in hand.”


Work Experience Fair Logos

Some of the organisations who will be at the Work Experience Fair – 26th February


The 2013 High Flyers Research Ltd survey The Graduate Market in 2013, which is an annual review of graduate vacancies & starting salaries at Britain’s leading employers, confirmed that work experience was important to employers.

 “Many recruiters explained that irrespective of the academic results that a graduate had achieved, it would be very hard for an applicant to demonstrate the skills and competencies that organisations look for if they hadn’t had any prior work experience at all.” (p.32)

Manager and owner of Sophisti-cut Hair Studio Ltd, Delores White revealed how extremely important gaining experience is before seeking employment.

“I want the people that work for me to have some practicality in what they do. I want to feel like I can trust them, and having experience helps reassure me that I’m not just throwing someone in the deep end of the pool. I need to know they can swim.”

Ms White offered some valuable advice to students as she exposed the huge effect taking a placement had in her career.

The entrepreneur recalled that in her youth she had a passion for childcare and thought about entering this industry. In order to find out more about it, she completed a placement.

She reflected:

“I’m so thankful I’d done it because without that placement, I would have never received a real feel of working with children and what it’s like. It definitely helped me because I was able to make a full, well-informed decision regarding my career path, and I changed it to become the owner of my own hairdressing salon.”

Ms White added:

“Trust me, I’m speaking from experience and experience is key.”

So fellow students, if experience is key when seeking employment then completing a placement will definitely help you get your foot in the door. In fact it could be an essential step, especially when applying for the job of your dreams.


Thinking about your career?

Get some work experience and get a foot in the door!

Work Experience Fair, The Forum Hertfordshire 26th February 11-2pm

For more information and to book visit www.careerhub.herts.ac.uk


Alysha Yates

Alysha Yates is a 2nd year English Literature, Journalism and Film student at the University of Hertfordshire.


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