The Importance of Work Experience
In an increasingly competitive world, the ability to ‘hit the ground running’ when you move into the workplace is an in-demand skill, and so it’s important to use the time available to you as a student to get some experience in the workplace.
This experience may come in a variety of forms; it may be in the sector you envisage yourself working in, but it may also be in something different, which gives you the opportunity to develop an array of transferable skills. Showing your ability to work in any environment is increasingly important, and students have so many opportunities to undertake some work experience.
For the last eight weeks I have been completing an internship at the world’s largest insurance broker, Marsh McLennan. This has been an incredibly interesting experience, and I have spent a lot of time exploring the insurance industry and networking with different professionals. I wanted to write this piece to discuss my experience a bit more, and to give some advice on getting work experience whilst at university.
Last August, I decided to start looking for work experience opportunities specific to the legal industry. This involved a painful few months of applying to (and being rejected from) vacation scheme placements in the City. It can be incredibly demoralising to be constantly rejected from things that you have dedicated a lot of time to, and so I looked to the Bright Network for some advice and direction. Whilst looking through their website, I came across an advert for the Marsh McLennan Summer Internship, and knowing a bit about the insurance industry, I applied on a whim.
The application itself was incredibly straightforward; it entailed an online application, a video interview, and an assessment centre – as applications go, it was very generic. However, throughout the whole application process I was very well supported by Marsh, who were always there to answer any questions or concerns.
I wanted to include this section to bring your attention to the Bright Network – if you haven’t already heard of it, it is a great tool to have as you go through university. You can join the Bright Network (for free) as soon as you begin university. They frequently host both in-person and online events, have a commercial awareness podcast, and offer online courses and certificates to help you develop your career skills.
Engaging with the Bright Network itself is a fantastic way to show your commitment to commercial awareness and learning outside of your degree. It can also be a great way to network with fellow students if you do attend some of their events; being able to network and communicate effectively are key skills in the workplace.
Why is work experience so important?
As I mentioned earlier, the ability to ‘hit the ground running’ is something that recruiters are looking for in an ever-changing world. Completing work experience, in any sector, will equip you with skills and experience that will become invaluable when you enter the world of work. Additionally, often work experience placements turn into graduate scheme offers, which will set you up perfectly post-graduation!
Many firms or companies will offer work experience over the summer, but some will also offer placements during the winter or the spring. Utilise the resources you have available to research the sectors that you are interested in, and make time to speak to the fantastic careers department at the university to help you write strong applications and secure your place!
Law with History LLB (Hons)