Work experience: why it matters
In today’s competitive job market, work experience has never been more important in differentiating yourself and making yourself more employable. A combination of study and experience within the same industry is attractive to employers and can get you ahead of others when applying for jobs.
Securing work experience will expose you to the practical elements of a job, as well as giving you an opportunity to bring theory to life. Combining work experience with study can be particularly effective as you are able to contextualise the theory you’ve learnt, on-the-job. Practical skills and experience will put you at the forefront of applicants when applying for jobs, as potential employers will value candidates who have a pre-existing understanding of their sector and are familiar with being in a workplace environment.
Jacqueline Hansen studied through LTT and completed a work placement at LabWest. She believed that studying went hand in hand with her work placement.
“My work placement gave me the opportunity to put what I learnt into practice,” highlights Jacqueline.
Teamwork and interpersonal skills are an essential part of most occupations. Work experience gives you the opportunity to see how a certain organisation operates, and exposes you to workplace culture and interaction with colleagues. Employers seek applicants who possess the ability to communicate effectively with others. Picking up these skills through a work placement will greatly benefit you in future jobs.
With the nature of the job market being so competitive, anything that can set you apart from other applicants should be used to your advantage. Employers perceive less risk in employing someone who has already been exposed to the industry and possesses work ready skills. Including the work experience that you have gained on your resume will dramatically increase your chances of getting a job.
Although study is important in teaching you the foundations and theory of your chosen job field, a work placement will expose you to developments in the sector and equip you with relevant industry knowledge. With our constantly evolving society, it is important to keep up with the changes, and stay up-to-date with the latest trends and technologies to become a desirable employee. Working within the industry will give you an insight into the latest trends, making you more attractive to employers. It is also vital to give you an understanding of where the particular industry is headed, the demands and most important aspects of the field today.
Further to this, although you may enjoy studying in a particular area; in reality, working in the field can be an entirely different experience. Work experience will give you a taste of what it’s like to actually work in the industry, and prepare you for the daily tasks involved. This is often a make or break point depending on whether your expectations line up with the reality of your work placement. Either way, work experience will give you an advantage earlier on so you can see if the role actually suits you, and whether it’s worth pursuing.
Work experience also gives you an unique opportunity to network with those already in the industry. Depending on the organisation’s needs and your ability, a work placement can often lead to a permanent position. If not, it will provide you with connections who can offer advice on how to get into the industry and where to start. When you are initially entering your industry, building these networks of like-minded people can be extremely helpful to the advancement of your career.
In many cases, employers are reluctant to take on work experience students due to the liability they may cause and the costs they would incur if an injury or accident was to occur at their workplace. As you are not a permanent employee during your work placement, a company’s insurance does not cover you. You can overcome this by taking out your own insurance or organising a work placement through a training organisation. Jacqueline was able to study and execute her work placement at LabWest through LTT, without extra insurance costs.
“LTT gave me the insurance I needed to get my foot in the door,” says Jacqueline.
Work experience opportunities at LTT
LTT arranges work placements within the pathology industry to give students an opportunity to gain practical and real-life experience in the workplace during their studies. We also provide our laboratory students with industry contacts to secure work experience. Our aim is to ensure that graduates are work ready and appropriately skilled for the future. For more information about our work experience opportunities, please contact us on 1300 588 588.