Have you thought about work experience yet?

Work experience

Whether you’re at school, TAFE, university, or even thinking of a career change, there’s never a bad time to have a crack at work experience. It could help you decide what careers really interest you, as well as which ones to rule out – which in turn could help you choose which subjects and courses to study. You’ll learn new skills and get insight that could help you with your studies and down the track.

It’s never too early or too late to try out different roles and gain more experience. So no matter what stage of your career you’re at, organising a work placement is a smart move.

Some of the main benefits

  • Pinning down your personal career goals by sampling different industries and jobs (without the commitment of a permanent contract)
  • Gaining first-hand experience of an industry
  • Getting a competitive advantage over other applicants when applying for jobs
  • Improving your knowledge and skills
  • Building up a network of contacts, which could be great for references, recommendations, and potential job opportunities

You’ll get to

  • Explore the world of work
  • Experience how people work together
  • Find out if an industry or job is as you imagined, and decide if it’s the right fit for you

Give perspective to your class work

  • Understand how important good English, maths, and tech skills are at work
  • Find out how things you’ve learnt about at school or uni are put into practise

Learn and grow

  • Get the opportunity to test drive and improve your communication, teamwork, planning, organising, timekeeping, and problem-solving skills
  • Teach you to cope in new environments and settings
  • Find out how to work co-operatively with people you don’t know
  • Build your confidence and independence

Add it to your resume

  • Work experience could make you more appealing to potential employers
  • Counts as experience on job applications
  • Demonstrates you’re motivated and keen to learn
  • You’ll have examples to use during interviews
  • Could put you ahead of other applicants

Where to find work experience

If you’re tempted to start some work experience, speak to your school, TAFE, or university. Work experience is often included as part of your studies, so they may have a program already in place that could get you into some work experience.

Alternatively, you could contact organisations you’d like to work with directly and see if you can score your dream opportunity. Large companies and organisations, your local council, and small businesses in your area are all good places to start your search.

If you’re still studying, most of the work experience you’ll undertake will probably be unpaid. Don’t see that as a negative; you’ll still be receiving training, mentoring, and exploring your interests and suitability for careers and industries.

Volunteering with community or local organisations can count as work experience too, and if you are enthusiastic, reliable, and willing to learn, it could lead to more work experience opportunities and potentially job offers.

You can search on our Work Experience database for placements, information, and more handy tips. Or check out our complete Guide to Work Experience (free for Study Work Grow members).

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