Work Experience Helped My Confidence by Zara Davies
The fact is, in today’s job market a non-vocational degree is not enough to get you a job. Of course, a good degree can
still be worth its salt but until you’ve paired this up with some solid work experience, most employers won’t even consider you. Your CV and references need to demonstrate proven employability and although a university education requires dedication, it is not a ‘nine to five’. This is why during my first year of university, studying for a degree in Film and English, I decided to undertake some work experience at The Jools Payne Partnership and five years down the line, I am still benefitting from it.
From the beginning of my internship, I was allowed to become involved in all aspects of the business. During my first summer with The Jools Payne Partnership my duties included helping with the production of a weekly newsletter for a large client, drafting press releases, producing client activity reports and collecting and presenting media coverage. Further to this, I was given a project to work on independently; the completion of a client telephone survey and a subsequent report. The responsibility of this project really helped to build my confidence within a working environment (whilst doing wonders for my telephone manner!) and this, along with my involvement in larger projects, made me feel like I was making a real contribution.
Although my paid internship at The Jools Payne Partnership allowed me to experience what it was like to work in a PR company, perhaps more importantly in the long run, it also gave me an insight and understanding into how businesses work in general. This overall understanding of the world of business was reinforced with the acquisition of basic office skills which are essential to most jobs and have stood me in good stead for any job I have applied for or worked in ever since.
We have all heard the saying, ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know’ and in business this can often ring true. During my internship, Jools often took me along to meetings or Chamber of Commerce events where I met an abundance of local business people. Work experience allows you to meet and build relationships with people who you would not necessarily come into contact with otherwise. Not only is the ability to build strong working relationships a crucial skill you will need to succeed in any job, but more and more people are now finding employment opportunities off the back of internships or work experience placements. Of course, this is not always the case but it is good to have contacts.
So is work experience worth it? Yes. Work experience will not guarantee you a job but it will make you more employable and in a job market now saturated with graduates, your previous experience is what will make you stand out.