The Importance of Work Experience and Why You Should Do It

This week I joined Shooting Star for a week of work experience to try to gain some insight into an industry that I one day hope to be a part of full-time.

It’s been just over a year since I completed my English degree at the University of Lincoln (I officially graduated in September last year) and if there is one thing that university doesn’t prepare you for, it’s what comes next. There are conversations about gaining work experience in your desired career path, but after about 17 years of being in education, it’s easy to feel very lost when you grab that piece of paper with your degree on before being let out into the real world.

If you are anything like me, then keeping busy is vital. Having held a part-time job and volunteered my time as a radio presenter at Siren Radio while I was at university, I was used to having a big workload, and I loved it. The struggle that came for me was knowing where I wanted to go next. I got myself a job on Smooth Radio’s ad hoc team, which entailed running their events and helping to promote the station to the public and their sponsors. I also worked at my local pub to earn some extra money and began doing what I could to get experience in different areas while I figured out what I wanted to do.

The best decision I made was getting myself some work experience. My job at Smooth Radio helped me to realise that I love working with people and running events. I had studied areas of marketing during my course at university and had never really explored it further even though I had thoroughly enjoyed myself. At the careers centre at the university they told me about Shooting Star and after extensive research, I completely fell in love with the company and what they do.

It goes without saying that Jez, Kate and their team have been nothing but lovely during this past week and I do feel sad to be leaving as I feel I have settled in a lot more quickly than I expected. What I have taken away from this experience is that I still have a lot to learn. My education hasn’t finished, and nobody expects me to have all the answers. Make mistakes, learn from them and improve!

I knew I only had a week and so I went into Shooting Star with the mindset that I was going to soak up every piece of information I possibly could. I wanted to prove to myself that I was an asset to the team, regardless of the fact that I was only there for five days. I have learnt to use Canva to produce a set of posters for two separate clients, set up scheduled tweets, written two blogs and crammed in a lot more work than I ever thought possible! Most importantly, I learned where I went wrong. The team are great at helping you to see what can be improved and have a system where you receive feedback, so you know what should be done the next time.

Wherever you decide to go for your work experience, you have to be fully committed. You are only wasting your time and the company’s time if you aren’t interested in putting 110 per cent into the work you are doing.

I have treated my work experience as a trial in the world of work. It’s hard and requires a lot of dedication, but the results are incredibly rewarding. I have gained confidence in my own abilities and been given opportunities to sit in on meetings with clients and see exactly how public relations and marketing works. Nothing is ever a waste of time. From making yourself and your fellow team members a drink to writing up a blog piece, it is all valuable experience.

If, like me, you have left university feeling a little lost or you just aren’t quite sure what to do next, then take any opportunity that sparks your interest and gain some experience. You can only understand if you really want to do something once you are thrown into the deep end and can really see the job for what it is. Even if you decide that the company you go to is not for you, you will be surprised at the amount of skills that are transferable. You might even find that your work experience leads you into exactly what you are meant to be doing with your life.

I highly recommend that you get yourself some work experience just like I did, and if you do, grab the opportunity with both hands and fully throw yourself into it. Work hard and take it all in. Shooting Star has been a blast!