What is work experience?

Don’t worry, this isn’t the start of a debate! It’s merely a post to give you an idea of some types of work or events that may count as work experience and enable to you to develop and gain skills which will be relevant when applying for graduate jobs etc.

‘Work experience’ might be something that you associate with the two weeks you spent at secondary school on work experience in a shop, office or somewhere more exotic – but it doesn’t just have to mean that! What I mean by ‘work experience’ is an activity which has helped you to gain experience of work and potentially helped you to develop skills which will be useful in your future job or career. This can mean any of the following (and perhaps isn’t limited to just this list of things that I can think of!):

  • An industrial placement (of up to 12 months) – which you complete as part of your course;
  • A summer internship – which may or may not be related to your course but gives you an opportunity to experience a particular job sector;
  • A short vacation internship – something that perhaps is only during Easter or Christmas vacation (and so quite short) and gives you experience of a particular job sector. Short vacation internships are especially seen in Law;
  • Volunteering – any voluntary work will help you to develop transferable skills relevant to the world of work;
  • Work shadowing – a short period spent observing someone in a particular job role to get an understanding of what their work involves;
  • A part-time job – any part-time, temporary or casual work will count as work experience;
  • Summer work overseas – e.g. working on a camp in America during the summer. It may not be linked to the work you want to do in the future but some of the skills you gain will no doubt transfer to future jobs.

As you can see, this is not an exhaustive list but hopefully gives you an idea of some of the things that can be seen as work experience. We’ll be posting more about some of these types of work experience over the coming months so keep your eyes peeled!


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