Whether you are in school or still busy with your full-time studies, work experience is a term that might cross your path at some stage. Many schools, colleges and universities encourage students to commit to work experience… but what is all the fuss about?

We look at 5 reasons why you should sign up for work experience:

Reason #1 – Getting direction

Not too sure what industry you would like to work in? Work experience can give you the opportunity to sample different occupations and different industries. By committing to different kinds of work experience opportunities, you can sample the different working environments, assessing which one you enjoy most and which environments unlocks most of your potential!

Reason #2 – Get in touch with the real world

So you’ve already decided which industry you want to work in and perhaps even what job you would like to have… but are you ready for the daily demands? Every job has its challenges, and work experience allows you to get a feel for the environment you will be working in. Whether you have to stand all day, work in an open plan office or whether you have to do all or most of that dreaded administration, there are a host of hidden daily activities that might not be include in your college or university curriculum. Take time to do a couple of days’ work to experience and get a feel for the day-to-day activities to make sure you know exactly what you are in for!

Reason #3 –Identify your key strengths

By working at a company, in your chosen field, you will quickly learn where you core strengths are. Perhaps you are really good with people, or your creative eye can help you add a little more value to your temporary job-description. By identifying you key strengths, you can focus on these to ensure that you position yourself so that you can perform to the best of your abilities!

Reason #4 – Getting a foot in the door

More often than not, who you know is almost as important and what you know. If you can prove to a company that you have the potential, they might keep you in mind when they look to hire juniors at the company. Get to know and understand your industry – it is as important as studying for that degree or diploma!

Reason #5 –You’ve got the power!

When an employer takes a look at your CV, they often look beyond your education and qualifications. Extramural activities, community service and work experience are small things you can list on your CV that will have a great effect. Work experience proves that you took initiative, that you are willing to put in the hours and that you have a better understanding of the working-environment. Make sure that the work experience is related to the industry that you are applying to!

These are just a couple of reasons we think you should pick up the phone or send that email to make contact with a company in your chosen industry.