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Insights and Intelligence

  • 01 Dec 2021
  • 5 min read

The one thing my parents were right about.

As a student we've all been there, where we have had to weigh up the decision of working during our studies. We hear from student (by day) and Marketing Assistant (by night) Shreyan on whether having a job through your studies is really what it’s hyped up to be.

“Work experience”… the single phrase some students dread hearing in interviews. What does work experience include, what are the benefits and do we really need it or is it a waste of time?

Fight or Flight?

As students, we’ve all been there. Our parents turn their heads (usually at the dinner table) and we hear that question we all fear… “When are you planning on getting a job?”. Not only does it insinuate that we are getting one, but also how soon?! It’s certainly not what I want to hear when I’m trying to enjoy my Saturday night takeaway.

At this point, our fight or flight mode kicks in. Do we argue with our parents and then probably agree it’s the right thing to do and start browsing the internet with the word ‘jobs’ and find 19874732 results. Or choose the flight option and run away as far as possible… which, for most is university, or for some is backpacking across the world to find yourself.

Image: Greta Hoffman

Down to You.

In all seriousness, work experience covers a lot - from part-time jobs, internships, volunteering and working at startups. It’s a great way to get an idea of what life is like in the real world. The real world is a different beast, it’s largely down to your people skills, your attitude and your ways of dealing with challenges. The commonality, you (well your, but you get the point). At the end of the day it’s all down to you, the life you want to create, the goals you want to achieve and fulfilling your potential.

A poll on LinkedIn with over 9000 votes showed that 74% of people think that getting a part-time job helps students to develop soft skills. Yes, this was on LinkedIn… funnily enough a professional networking platform, so maybe we need to take this with a pinch of salt, but I still think there is a lot of truth we can take from it!

On top of this, work experience adds so much to your CV. And ironically most of the employers that look at your CV are members of LinkedIn so probably worth listening to the statistic above! Work experience on your CV shows a number of things… like the fact that you are driven and hard-working, you have a track record of providing top results for your employers, you do more than the status quo and you never know, it might lead to you finding your passion and direction in life.

Image: Tima Miroshnichenko

Money, Money, Money...

Money, money, money (what most students and ABBA say) and becoming financially independent (what most parents say). Essentially, both mean the same thing. As a student, I understand the feeling of getting that first payslip, it’s amazing. You can buy what you want, when you want and where you want, with nobody’s permission.

Parents might say something like it will help you to create savings, build towards financial freedom and help with managing your finances through budgeting and avoid getting into debt… yes debt, it’s as bad as it sounds! And your parents are right, it’s critical to build an understanding from a young age which will not only help in your personal life but also your professional life too especially if you want to go into a boring career in something like, well... finance (we were all thinking it!).

Don’t get me wrong, I realise that for many people working throughout studies is a necessity rather than a choice (myself included in that). However what this blog hopefully shows is that if you take advantage of this opportunity wisely, it can help you achieve your dream job in the future.

Image: Yan Krukov

Your network is your net worth.

While working you will get to meet and work with lots of interesting people (what most students say) and your network is your net worth (what some sensible adults might say). Again, both are true. Working with people will broaden your mindset, improve communication and social skills which will help you build your ability to work with all kinds of people. And, you never know, you might even find the love of your life at work… as 16% of people have found their spouse at work!

Parents will explain that it helps you to expand your professional network, open doors for future opportunities, develop rapport building skills and provide substantiating evidence to future employers during interviews. Both students and parents are right, but did your parents meet through work?

What have you got to lose (but will more likely gain)!

All in all, working will definitely help you to grow your transferable skills. This can not only be essential in a professional environment such as in an interview for that dream job, but also in a personal situation like if you plan to travel as you will be more likely to have the confidence and people skills to conversate with people abroad.

I’ll leave you with a statement that is fast becoming a bit of a cliche but I believe has a lot of truth in it:

It’s not what you know, it’s who you know!