By work experience student Emily Schade
With Bachelor degrees becoming the new high school certificates and enrolments at UTAS alone up 6.8 per cent in the first semester of this year, entering the job market is now as fierce a competition as ever. In order to stand out from the crowd, graduates require a point of difference on their CV, be that excellent marks, outstanding extra-curricular activities or some experience in their chosen field.
One way for graduates to boost their chances with potential employers is to gain work experience. The presence of relevant work experience demonstrates initiative and an interest in career development. It also provides advantages come interview time, as the professional work environment will supply examples of the application of practical knowledge to accompany theory.
Font PR has been offering work experience for several years, comprising two weeks of practical experience assisting its team of consultants. This program is available to UTAS students in their final year of journalism, media and communications who have elected to partake in a professional placement elective. Font also encourages anyone interested in public relations to apply for work experience, which is how I find myself here. Having been curious about the PR industry for quite some time, and being impressed with Font’s work, I applied and was successful in gaining work experience. My time at Font has been incredibly rewarding, allowing me an insight into the work and day-to-day tasks of a PR consultant.
Sarah, the Office Manager at Font, has seen around six or seven students a year undertake work experience with Font and says it provides a good indication to the calibre of skills available. It also has the potential to offer an extra resource which can be called on when running events, pro-bono work and assisting not-for-profit organisations.
As far as the benefits for the student, there are many. Through work experience you will gain a more realistic expectation of working life, you are able to judge whether the industry, career or company is the right fit for you and you’ll have something to list on the all-important CV. Carmen, a Graduate Consultant at Font, undertook several placements while studying, which she said helped her identify the areas she wanted to focus on as well as boosting her confidence.
Other advice from the team at Font for those undertaking work experience is to be proactive and show initiative, try to build networks, have an open and willing attitude, ask for feedback when appropriate and don’t sit around texting!