Olivia Brayley recently joined us at jamjar from Swansea University as part of an internship programme. Here, she gives us her insight on why she found her work-experience at jamjar so rewarding and how it has helped her as she prepares to make the big jump onto the career ladder. For anyone about to graduate or considering a career in a creative industry, this is a must-read.
As the end of university looms, lecturers are constantly talking about employability. At first, I thought they were saying it just because they had to. But, since starting a placement at jamjar, I can see exactly why they encourage it so much.
With thousands of students graduating with media, PR and communication degrees across the UK every year, all seeking jobs in the same competitive market, the pressure is on to find a way to set yourself apart from all the other applicants.
So, why is work experience so important?
Employability plays a major part in securing jobs after university, especially in a career which can be somewhat unconventional. The media industry is ever-changing, with no two days the same, so gaining work experience prior to getting your first graduate job will prepare you for what you’ll likely be doing after university.
The tasks that media professionals carry out will undoubtedly vary, stretching from blog and social media posts to press releases and crisis communications. Working at jamjar, and being able to gain so much versatile experience, has made me so much more comfortable with the idea of what my future job will be like.
How can you benefit?
Although it’s easy to think ‘maybe next week’ or ‘I’m too busy right now’, the time, resources and University support you have at your disposal as a student makes it the perfect time to boost your CV.
Interning is such a good way to gain first-hand industry experience and is a world away from the theory and essay writing you’ll learn at university. Of course, having those written communication skills are still essential, but adapting those skills to the real working-world is exactly why work experience is key.
Working with a group of people that you don’t know also really helps to boost your confidence, as well as develop your communication skills, which will help you to be less apprehensive when you attend job interviews.
Go with the flow
Before I started my internship, I was hesitant about doing things outside of my comfort zone. But working with jamjar has taught me that stepping outside of my comfort zone is the best thing you can do. I even ended up in a promotional video! Learning lessons like this before you start work in the industry shows the need of work experience.
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and take chances – it may not feel like it at the time, but it honestly helps with your progress and development.
Make sure it’s what you want out of a career
The great thing about work experience is that you get to try out an industry before you commit to it. This way, you can be 100% sure that you’re going into a career that is right for you.
I feel much more comfortable with the thought of life after university and can honestly say it is because my work experience placement has prepared me, and given me the confidence, to take the next step in my career.
So, if you get the chance to intern or gain work experience, go for it!