It is never too early to start laying down the foundation for your career for that headstart . Put what you’ve learned in university to good use through work experience.
In today’s competitive job market, it is now more necessary than ever for fresh graduates to arm themselves with work-relevant skills and knowledge prior to applying for their first job after graduation. Your academic achievements and personal background can only say so much about your actual talent and abilities.
Work experience is a great way to build on what you have learned in the classroom, beefs up your CV, and provides concrete evidence of your skills and ability to do the job. If you do well, you might even earn a fast-track through the recruitment process or land yourself a full-time job!
For those who are still unsure about their future career, work experience is a great way to identify your strengths, weaknesses and interests. It can also serve as a doorway to a position in organisations that rarely advertise.
Get to work now with these options.
Industrial Placements and Internships
Duration: Three months to one year
Industrial placements and internships will equip you with the fundamental skills that are required to perform your future job, and enables you to put theory into practice.
Industrial placements provide structured and formal training with heavy emphasis on technical and practical skills, and are often a compulsory component of many university courses. Internships, on the other hand, tend to be more flexible and can be taken at any point of your studies, and in any field or area of work, as long as the employer will have you on board. Your university career centre may already have arrangements with certain organisations to assist students looking for internships.
Most but not all employers pay their interns. Thus if you require an allowance to cover your basic expenses, make sure to check with the employer before accepting the position.
Submitting your CV and attending a short interview is usually enough to land an internship, though some large companies may require you to go through an assessment centre. So if you already have a particular company in mind, it is a good idea to call up their human resource department to inquire about their internship hiring procedures and deadlines.
Part-time, Casual Work and Vacation Jobs
Duration: A few hours to a few months
Part-time, casual work and vacation jobs are great for expanding your network and picking up transferable skills that are applicable to any job. The hours are flexible and can be easily integrated into your schedule, making it an excellent way to fill up your free time between classes and during semester breaks while earning some extra pocket money on the side.
Payment is usually by the hour or on a contract basis. You can find part-time work via job portals, newspaper classifieds, your university job board, personal contacts and references, or just by looking out for notices posted at the entrances of business establishments. Your options will tend to revolve around clerical, sales, teaching, service, freelance or contract-based positions depending on your work experience and skills.
You can apply for a part-time job by sending in your résumé or attending a walk-in interview. If you have been working part-time for a while and have amassed a good pool of contacts, finding a job can be as easy as calling up an employer to inform them of your availability.
Duration: Few days to a year
Voluntary work is an excellent way to add personality to your CV without being too personal. Work may range from the labour-intensive (building houses, distributing fliers or cleaning animal cages) to those related to your field of expertise (coordinating workshops, designing marketing materials, planning fundraising events etc).
Besides allowing you to exercise your passion and commitment for a cause, and to network with like-minded individuals from various backgrounds, volunteering also impresses future employers and earns you skills that are relevant to any field.
Charitable and non-profit organisations are always short of volunteers so you should not have any problems finding a job if you have a decent CV and a good track record. As you will be providing your services for free, make sure the cause is one that you are passionate about and are able to follow through with.
All Experience is Good Experience
A good work experience can be very fulfilling. Unfortunately, like in real working life, not all work experience will be pleasant. Whether you choose to try out just one or all of the options above, remember that there is no such thing as a truly bad experience. There is always something you can learn if you have an open mind and a good attitude.