How To: Work Experience 101

Work experience is a great way to get “employable”. We asked a whole bunch of interesting people from Chairman to financial directors about what their thoughts on work experience are. So, next time you’re making the tea or Google searching your heart out in an office that terrifies you, just give this a read……

How important do you think getting work experience is to being employable?

The Chairman said:

I think it’s essential, many nuances of an office are often unteachable and non sensical. How are you supposed to teach office politics? Navigating an office is as much intuition as it is skill based, and intuition is honed in experience. The tangible deliverables of Job Descriptions and qualifications, are helpful but one dimensional. More often than not, people want members of the team to ‘fit in’ or something equally impossible to demonstrate on paper, or learn in school.

Would you ever consider giving advice and/or allowing someone to shadow you? What would be the circumstances you’d allow that?

The Finance Director said:

Yes. Shadowing is how people learned jobs in the “olden days” when I was young. You worked with, watched and emulated a more experienced person. Bit by bit, you took on more responsibilities until without realising it, you were as good as your mentor. The key thing expected from the understudy is an element of humility. Nobody likes the smarty pants who thinks they are every bit as good as an experienced person because they wrote a paper on the subject at university.

What do you deem to be cardinal sins when being on work experience? Anything to avoid/etiquette/etc?

the Exec Producer said:
Lateness, insensitivity/tactlessness. Not really a cardinal sin, but I think lots of people don’t help themselves by not defining their goals enough- people can help you more if you give them more information about what it is you want. Working on a focussed ‘elevator pitch’ means you’ll get more out of networking. 

Any key advice in general to young people just starting out their careers?

The Telly Person said:
Remember that money isn’t everything- so choose a job or career around what makes you tick not the chance to earn mega bucks- especially when you are young and don’t have as many responsibilities or expenses like kids, houses, mortgages, expensive divorce settlements and Botox etc hahaha!
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