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Thursday, 21 April 2011

Work experience during studies - getting ahead of the pack

This is a guest blog on behalf of Middlesex University.
With record unemployment figures facing the country and the number of young people out of work between 16 and 24 now nearing one million, the jobs market is becoming increasingly competitive in the UK. To stay ahead of the pack, graduates in particular are faced with extra demands in order to secure a position after university because employers are asking for more understanding and expertise than ever.

In order to learn more about a chosen industry, many people are utilising the internet to network with contemporaries and learn more about their trade from the people who make headlines in the industry. Others, meanwhile, feel the need to extend their skillset through education at postgraduate courses at Middlesex University in London or other institutions. However, there's nothing better than some hands-on experience, particularly if it can be done in conjunction with studies.

Work experience not only provides you with a great understanding of your future; it also gives you lots of practical experience to boost your CV. Without directly involving yourself in employment, it's often tough to truly understand what you're good at. Particularly when you're a student, it seems only right to give yourself the opportunity to try it out because you may find that you're better at something else or simply don't like the job you're trying for. After so much hard work, as well as money spent on associated courses, you could find your choices to be a wasted investment.

Of course, the biggest bonus of working while you're a student is that it helps you meet experts in the field and will give you the opportunity to build up a network of contacts that may be able to give you career guidance. Furthermore, if jobs come up in your sector with businesses you've worked with, your previous commitments could see you shortlisted for such roles without having to go through what are often lengthy application processes.

Naturally, a major pay-off with work as a student is the money you'll make directly from the experience. After all, student fees are rising; three out of every four universities are now charging the full £9,000 for one year of studies. Getting a job, could therefore be the best way to balance career progression and also lower your debts following undergraduate degree. Even better, it could help pay for your next step, such as a postgraduate course.
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