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Get the Skills to Pay the Bills

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As someone who is currently working in the Careers and Placements Service, Stella has a little more insight into the value of work experience than your average student might. Here she shares some of what she’s learnt…


Business success imageGrowing up you may have had your parents urging you to go to university because, with a degree in your hands, you would be able to land your dream job. And now you are here, starting or in the process of finishing the degree you have chosen. However when I came to university I was told a different story: the degree alone is not as important as the skills you have gained from work experience; a combination is what will help you get that ideal job.

I barely had work experience skills when I came to uni, I gave all my attention to my academic work thinking that would be enough. Sure, the grades are to some extent significant, but as I progressed through my first and slowly started to get into my second year, everyone urged me to chase work experience because of  what an employer is looking for in a candidate these days: skills.

‘Skills’ is such a broad term though. Do I need to know about Java?  Customer service?  Or how to make balloon animals?

Depending on the industry you would like to see yourself in, there are a set of skills an employer is looking for in a potential employee. But no one was born with skills; you have to find a way to get yourself introduced to some of the basics. According to my Line manager, what employers are usually looking for is for an employee to be a team-player, having their own initiative, and the ability to be proactive. Having an interest for a specific company will immediately make you more appealing but what will make you even more appealing is your pro-activity. Other skills, such as IT, procedures and processes, can be taught as long as you’ve shown that you are eager, willing to be learn, able to engage and contribute.

The Work Experience Fair is a fantastic opportunity for students who are interested in gaining skills and experience through summer internships, whole year placements, or just part-time opportunities. If you are still unsure about the career path or the industry you want to get into there’s no harm in coming down and having a chat with some of the employers and see what they are after.

So drop in to the Forum on the 18th of February, be ready to impress, and let your career start. Nobody says finding the perfect job is going to be easy. They just say its going to be worth it.

photo credit: SalFalko via photopin cc

Stella Charalambous Image

Stella Charalambous is current student the University of Hertfordshire on placement in the Careers and Placements Service.

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