It’s no secret that having work experience is important - it’s highly valued by employers and can help you stand out from the crowd.
Rather than worrying about not having any work experience, be proactive now and do whatever you can to get ahead of the game!
Maybe you’re still weighing up what you want to do and are considering the many career options available. Work experience can help you realise where your strengths lie and provide you with some clarity on where you best fit.
Having work experience can demonstrate to employers that you have commitment and drive, as well as boosting your commercial awareness and evidencing your transferrable skills.
Most importantly work experience will increase your contacts and networks, and help you develop employability skills that will increase your professionalism and self-confidence. By expanding your professional resume, you can grow your marketability and strengthen your industry knowledge.
So, how do I gain work experience?
- Consider working part-time while you’re still at uni. Even if it is only a few hours a week, a weekend or casual job could give you valuable experience.
- See if there are any jobs available on campus through the Earn While You Learn initiative.
- Apply for a summer internship or vacation work.
- Volunteering is a great way to navigate the cycle of ‘needing experience to get experience’.
- Training programs and junior roles could provide you with the start you need.
- Unpaid opportunites can help you build your experience, just make sure they comply with the Fair Work Act.
Where can I find work experience opportunities?
- Internet searches are a great place to start. Reputable job search websites include UniHub, GradConnection, Indeed, Seek and company websites in your chosen industry.
- Networking with other students, your lecturers, tutors, family friends and even acquaintances could provide leads to work experience opportunities.
- Joining a professional association and attending their events is a great way to meet potential employers.
- Contacting a company you are interested in directly may be daunting but worth it. Taking some time to find out who to speak to, when, and what to say can improve your chances of success.
Don’t forget, the team at Curtin Careers can help you search for and secure work experience opportunites.
How do I make the most of my work experience opportunity?
- During your work experience, collect business cards and contact details and make connections on LinkedIn.
- Be professional whether you are being paid or volunteering.
- Be honest, ethical and enthusiastic, and show a keenness to learn.
- Show initiative and be confident in your abilities - higher education has taught you more than you realise and given you many transferrable skills.
- Complete all tasks with attention to detail and don’t be afraid to ask for more challenging work.
- Record what you have worked on and achieved, and ask for permission to name your employer as a referee on your resume.
Be proactive, be persistent and don’t give up – with a little hard work and determination, you’ll have the work experience that employers want.