The Corporate Dilemma: Work Experience or Further Education?

by Bella Gray

Many fresh college graduates are faced with the following corporate dilemma: where will I find work experience? A prerequisite for most jobs, previous employment is one of the key identifiers that employers use to decide who’s who in the professional zoo. Which begs the question for most matriculants, do I pursue further education or do I jump straight into the world of work?

For most scholars their question comes down to their career choice. If their dream vocation requires them to obtain a degree or diploma by pursuing further education, university is the logical choice going forward. Nowadays however, this may not be enough to secure even an entry-level position. A significant number of jobs want both a degree and work experience. And, while this might seem like an unreasonable condition, company managers are nearly always looking for a candidate that will be able to learn the ropes faster than someone who only has the theory to their name.

Here are 3 Recommendations for Gaining Work Experience While Studying

  1. Work Placements: Sometimes the perfect means of gaining a foothold on the job ladder is to approach companies for part-time work. Most effective when done in collaboration with a recruitment agency, the part-time hours will guarantee that you still have time to see to your studies, as well as show employers that you’re willing to go the extra mile to catch their attention. Low pay for bona fide work experience AND a degree? Where do I sign up!
  2. Internships: Any pre-graduate work experience, even if it isn’t paid, will certainly hold its rewards. Whether it means that you get to put an established company’s recommendation letter on your CV, or even acquire an extra skillset, internships are often the perfect opportunity for students to make their job applications stand out from amongst the rest. The best part? Internship can be pursued during those long mid-semester breaks – without the stress of assignment deadlines and pending exams hanging over your head.
  3. Side Projects: So maybe you find yourself in a situation where you can’t find an internship or part-time work experience. Don’t let this hold you back. With some innovative thinking and a bit of initiative, you can easily pursue a start-up project that will show your potential boss exactly what you’re made of.

The main thing is to remain open to anything. Think out of the box and don’t allow yourself to have any black and white ideas about work experience or where to get it. Whether you’re pursuing a personal project aimed at showing employers that you’re a cut above the rest, or working an unpaid internship – as long as your CV shows that you made an effort to go beyond your studies, you’re golden.


This post was written by Bella Gray

Bella Gray is a corporate blogger from her serviced office. A maestro of tips and strategies for navigating the workplace, Gray is the perfect go-to-gal for all your business solutions.

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