I believe the best attribute a person can have is a strong work ethic. In interviews, employers always ask me what work experience I have, because sadly in this modern day and age a degree isn’t enough to land you your dream job.
Personally, I have been just as focussed on where I want to work in the future as I have been with my studies. I try and strive for the perfect grade, but I am more of a practical learner than an academic one. I like to see things for myself and work with other people on projects and tasks.
As a final year marketing student, work experience has been a key element that has pushed me and helped me along the way. From having a job from the young age of 14, strong work ethic has always been my key strength. From working as a paper boy, to interning at Microsoft to skiing with clients in Switzerland. All these opportunities came from hard work and being proactive in my job search. I believe there are some key things that students can do to gain valuable work experience whilst studying to make themselves more employable when they graduate. If your degree offers a placement year then I’d definitely recommend you go for it, and it will be one of the most valuable things you can do whilst studying at uni.
- Create a LinkedIn account
This social media platform is a powerful tool that has assisted me in getting jobs for the last few years. Create a profile, add an up to date CV and follow relevant friends and business people that interest you. Following brands and companies will also keep you up to date with current job postings which is perfect for those looking for graduate jobs. Networking is the future so get on there and follow a bunch of people that can maybe help you in the future (I’ll be your friend on there).
- Get in touch with your careers department
The Placement and Careers department at Leeds Beckett are great. I have had 2/3 successful jobs whilst studying, and they helped and guided me through the entire process. They help you to get in touch with some great roles which can be relevant to your degree, whilst directing you through the interview / selection process. A helpful tip…join their mailing list so you get weekly emails from the Job shop about new and current roles which means you can be one of the first ones to apply.
- Use your free time wisely
As a student you get so much free time off over the summer and it’s the perfect chance to get some valuable work experience whilst not eating into your study time. Approach companies and brands that interest you and offer to work a 2-week internship for free. You’ll get amazing exposure to the company and it will look great on a job application. Sometimes working for free looks better than a paid internship as employers will appreciate the extra effort you put in during your own free time. It also shows how dedicated you are to your own development.
Being proactive in getting your work experience will always end up with a positive outcome. Work experience is so valuable alongside your degree and there’s never a shortage of jobs.
Use LinkedIn every day and make those important connections, apply for internships or maybe even a role at a retail store. Any experience is a good experience and is a good talking point at an interview.