Image by John Althouse Cohen
It’s not easy being a student these days. There’s so much pressure on making the most of your time at university, getting the best degree possible and then finding a decent career that’s well-paid in order to justify getting into thousands of pounds of debt.
As if that wasn’t hard enough there’s now the added issue of a poor job market, meaning that if you don’t have a stand-out CV with relevant work experience, it’s very unlikely that employers are going to want you.
That’s enough to make anyone crawl under the bedcovers for safety. But help is at hand! By following the simple tips outlined below, you’ll walk out of university with plenty of work experience and a fantastic degree.
Keep your eyes open. Finding yourself bored at the weekend because all of your friends have gone for a visit home? Use the opportunity to hunt out work experience opportunities, which are often advertised by your university.
Check your emails, prospects.ac.uk or your university careers service, and you will probably find that there are opportunities just waiting for you to go out and grab them. If you can’t find something, contact local companies to see if they’d be happy to take on a work placement student.
Some will offer pay and some won’t, but if you’re willing to work for free they’ll almost certainly be happy for you to arrange the placement times and days to fit around your studies.
Plan your time well. The key to juggling studies and work experience is organising slots when you specifically work on an essay or other university project, or dedicate time to finding or doing work experience.
If you want to be a teacher, for example, but aren’t studying for a B.Ed. then choose a day, morning, or afternoon when you know that you don’t have any lectures or much work to do then see if you can get some experience at a local school during those hours. Otherwise, offer private tuition!
Make sure your exam period is free. Often you’ll know when your essay deadlines and exams are well in advance, and it’s vital not to compromise those all-important assessments in your desperation to get some experience.
Employers will understand your priorities at certain times in the year. Don’t be afraid of asking to move your work experience around. Remember, it’s a good degree classification and relevant work experience together that will get you a job.
Use the holidays. The thought of doing work experience when you’re on holiday isn’t exactly enticing, but it’s the best way to avoid jeopardising your studies by organising work experience at inconvenient times.
Plus, doing work experience during the summer will help ease the boredom of being at home every day with nothing to do!
Juggling work experience and studied and getting the best of both worlds is straightforward when you think about it. Plan your time efficiently and you can’t go wrong. And if you’re sat there reading this blog and thinking that you could write blogs too, then get involved – writing work experience is a brilliant way to break into a creative writing or journalism career!
Got any more tips on how juggle studies and work experience? Post them below!
Julia is a university undergraduate with a passion for creative writing, particularly book reviews and short stories. She writes for the GKBC Academy.