How work experience helped me in placement and graduate interviews

Guest BloggerFinal Year, First Year, Guest Blogger, Part-Time Jobs & Volunteering, Second Year, UK Placements

Whether you’re a second year looking for a placement opportunity or a final year looking for a brilliant graduate scheme, it’s safe to say you will be filling out a lot of application forms. Alongside your academic achievements, employers are really interested to hear all about your work experiences (in all shapes and sizes).

Work experience could come in a variety of forms:

  • Work placement
  • Summer internship
  • Part-time job
  • Self-employment
  • Charity work and volunteering.

If you have done one or a combination of the above, you are far more likely to have an abundance of experiences to share with potential employers on application forms and, importantly, in those crucial final interviews.

How it worked for me

Before conducting my work placement at IBM, I’d worked two different part-time jobs as well as two unique volunteering experiences (as a karate instructor and overseas volunteering in Vietnam). However, the most useful experience I used in my application was self-employment as a gardener in my local area; I even used this as an example in my final (and very corporate) interview with IBM. This just shows that having a diverse variety of experiences can be truly helpful in securing great roles, even if they appear to have no relation at first glance.

After making the absolute best of my placement year, the number of experiences and skills that I could draw upon grew extraordinarily. This gave me a huge burst of confidence that I could really pursue any graduate scheme I desired and truly compete against other candidates. Ultimately, this has allowed me to accept an offer to join PwC as a Management Consultant in Autumn 2020, a dream role for me!

My tips for finding work experience

  • Pop into the JobShop for help finding great paid and voluntary part-time opportunities
  • Use LinkedIn and recruitment sites to find other part-time jobs
  • Seek out volunteering opportunities with charities that you are passionate about.

Written by Jordan Smith, Careers and Placements Associate