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Career Doctor – Work Experience

I already have a part time job, why should I do anything else?

Some student jobs help you financially in the short term; some help you in the longer term with career options for after you leave Sussex. Think of work experience as the latter.

Work experience, placement, internship, shadowing…what’s the difference?

Don’t worry about the names, just get on and apply for some experience!

It’s just cheap labour for employers, isn’t it?

They don’t see it that way. Employers use it to check out candidates for permanent posts and put time into arranging interesting things for you to do. Think of it as win-win.

It’s a waste of my time, isn’t it?

That’s up to you to decide but most people we speak to, say they have learnt a lot from the experience and it gives them something to talk about at a ‘proper’ job interview. Review what you’ve done, describe the skills you’ve used and think it through; then you’ve gained valuable experience.

I think it’s just for school children.

No it’s not! You can learn about roles and organisations at any stage in your life. It’s never too early or too late to gain from this type of experience.

It’s just too difficult to find opportunities…

Some are advertised look at:

www.step.org.uk
www.sussex.ac.uk/cdec/vacancies.php
www.work-experience.org

The BBC, government departments, retailers, magazine publishers, lawyers, IT companies and many other employers advertise opportunities on their own websites. You’ll need to search.

But much experience isn’t advertised.

You’ll have to apply speculatively. It’s okay to ask. So, do your research, check out the organisations of interest to you and draft a strong letter and CV. We’ll give you feedback on your approach in CDEC.

It’s very competitive, too difficult to get.

Yep – you have to be serious and make good, strong powerful applications. Take your applications seriously, or you’ll find the employer doesn’t take you seriously. Keep at it – it’ll take time, but it’s worth it.

How can CDEC help me get experience?

We value opportunities to develop your skills and experience and offer schemes such as:

  • Student Development Fund – apply for grants of up to £500 for extra-curricular group projects which clearly develop your skills and experience.
  • Work Shadowing in the Spring Term: spend a day with someone doing a job that sounds interesting to you. More info at: www.sussex.ac.uk/cdec/experience.php

CDEC also holds information and case studies on work experience opportunities. Come in and ask.

The Badger invites a Career Doctor to answer your questions. Write to us at cdec@sussex.ac.uk.

Next time: eXperience Factor. CDEC programmes to help you develop experience.

The Career Development & Employment Centre is on the 1st floor in Falmer House. Phone for details of disability access.
We are open weekdays from 10-5 pm (Wednesday until 7 pm)
Careers Adviser available 12-4 pm each day and 5-7 on Wednesdays. Check the website for vacation opening hours.
W: www.sussex.ac.uk/cdec
T: 01273 678429

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