Why Work Experience is Key For New Graduates

I can’t remember exactly when I was first asked what career I wanted to pursue – but I remember I was far too young to know.

My career aspirations have varied to say the least. From being a vet, to a teacher, a mermaid, professional dog walker or Radio Presenter. My mind changed a lot.

I fell into journalism almost completely by accident. I was certain I didn’t want to go to University, but after hearing a classmate talk about a course at Sheffield Hallam, I thought ‘why not?’ and applied to defer a year. Three years later and I’ll be graduating in November with a First Class Degree (still feels weird to say that!)

The lead-up to finishing Uni has been a mixed bag of emotions as I’m sure many students will relate. Stress being the first and foremost. Excitement, exhaustion and fear. It seemed impossible to hold a conversation with family or bumping into an old friend from school without that dreaded question: “What are you going to do next?”

Whilst I loved studying journalism and still have a passion for it, I knew I wanted to explore other options. As an Aquarius, I’m free spirited and creative… so the thought of being stuck in any old job didn’t appeal to me, whatsoever!

I’ve worked within hospitality and catering for the past five years, I’ve also completed work experience in a number of roles. From BBC Radio Sheffield, to Digital Marketing to my current position at MK PR. I’ve been able to translate the skills I’ve learnt so far to succeed in each placement and, despite what people may think, I’ve only had to make three cups of tea!

High Fliers Research suggest that one-third of recruiters are unlikely to employ graduates with no experience. So here’s some reasons why work experience could be hugely beneficial:

On-hand Experience

It goes without saying that you will be immersed into working life. Whilst this may be daunting, it’s the quickest and most effective way to equip yourself with the essential skills you need and to learn more about how the industry works. As well as getting used to the office environment, you also get a real taste of what makes a day successful, challenging and more importantly, how to overcome those challenges.

Networking – ‘It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.’

It’s easy to forget that even the most senior members of staff had to start from somewhere. As well as being able to give you inside tips and pearls of wisdom, the people you work with may have contacts who can also help you to further progress. Making a lasting impression (for the right reasons) could lead you to many more opportunities!


Work experience isn’t just an opportunity to show employers what you’re capable of, it’s also a chance to prove it to yourself. Whether you’re unsure, certain or intrigued by a particular career path, work experience essentially allows you to find out whether it’s the right thing for you in the easiest and best possible way. Remember – you never know until you try!

Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone, ask questions and grab every opportunity possible – you never know what they can lead to! It’s only my first week at MK and whilst I’ve never worked within PR, I’m learning so much and can’t wait to get stuck in.