GUEST BLOG: Why Work Experience is The Most Important Thing You’ll Do This Summer

It’s summertime — so working is probably the last thing on your mind. After a long and strange year of being either stuck working or learning at home under some pretty bizarre circumstances, you’re undoubtedly due some well-earned fun and freedom!

However, there are many great reasons to turn your attention to your future career and get you out the house this summer and into the working world. After all, summer represents a rare opportunity to bulk up your work experience, and the advantages of doing so cannot be overstated!

Here are a few things to be aware of from our Guest Blogger Olivia Wood

It informs your future career decisions.

If you’re still not sure what you want to do in the future, that’s understandable! It’s an especially uncertain period for young people. The good news is that work experience placements can help you define what you’d like your career to look like – as well as what you’d like to completely avoid!

According to Glide’s advice, to find your placement you should first start by researching sectors that are related to the course you study or even your hobbies. Even if your work experience placement doesn’t directly relate to your future field, it can still give you a taste of different workplace and help refine your preferences. You’ll undoubtedly learn a lot about yourself throughout your placement.

It puts your learning into practice.

You’ve undoubtedly accumulated a lot of knowledge this year. A work experience placement will give you the chance to put that knowledge into action and learn some new things too.

Learning at work is a very different experience from learning at school, college, or uni. When you learn through doing, you’re actively involved in every stage of the process. You’re not just answering questions; you’re also asking them, investigating ideas, testing theories, and evaluating your results.

This process is called experiential learning, and it can be far more challenging and enjoyable than typical academic activities. Seeing how your education can be applied in the workplace might motivate you toward further personal development, too.

It helps you to develop soft skills.

Even if you’re very academically gifted, you may still have some work to do when it comes to your soft skills. Soft skills can be defined as non-technical skills that relate to how you work. They determine how you interact with others, how you manage the pressures of the workplace, and whether you can independently manage your workload.

Soft skills are transferable, meaning they can benefit you in every aspect of your life. They’re not just about impressing employers, although employers appreciate candidates with enhanced soft skills! They can also help you develop stronger personal relationships and to handle stress.

It enables you to build a network.

Who you know still matters in the world of work. A strong network of connections in your field can bring many benefits when it comes to your career development. For a start, it raises your visibility. This means people are more likely to think of you when exciting opportunities arise. It also provides you with the support and advice of mentors who are experienced in your industry. This can be an invaluable resource!

Why wait until after you leave education to start building these crucial connections? You can get a foot in the door at an early stage through summer work experience placements. Open a LinkedIn account and add every professional you encounter. You’ll be amazed by how quickly your network grows!

It makes you attractive to employers.

This has to be the most obvious advantage of summer work experience placements. Research has found that a staggering 91% of employers look for work experience in any potential hire, so you should consider it a must-have to succeed in a competitive job market.

Work experience doesn’t necessarily have to relate directly to your dream job to hold value. If you want to be a lab technician but you can only find work experience in a café, don’t panic! You’ll still develop skills that any decent employer will appreciate.

Think about it: while taking orders, you’ll practice paying attention to detail and recording responses. Cleaning the café each day will require strict adherence to standards. It’s easy to see how this very different knowledge and experience could still translate to the laboratory.

Surely, you’re now convinced of the merits of summer work experience. Why miss out on this amazing opportunity to enhance your skills, build your network, learn about yourself, and improve your future job applications?

Olivia Wood is a recent Business Management graduate, turned freelance writer whose primary focuses is providing advice and guidance to young, aspiring adults on the best possible work opportunities. In her spare time, she enjoys a good book, socialising with friends, and numerous amounts of iced coffees.