We’re all at university to get one thing: a degree. But when you’re looking for graduate jobs, how useful will your degree actually be? And do employers value work experience equally to or above your degree?
It all depends on the type of experience you’re getting and the type of degree you’re studying. Employers are always going to be looking for people with experience but this shouldn’t be at the expense of your degree. Work experience is like an added bonus for employers and just because you haven’t necessarily had any, it doesn’t mean that an employer will think any less of you.
For most of Concrete’s writers, a job in journalism is the main aim and writing, proofing or editing Concrete can look great on your CV. Taking the journalism module at UEA may also look great but it doesn’t guarantee you a job in the future. Extra-curricular activities are a great way of showing employers your experience, and they are just as valuable as ones in the workplace; it also means you don’t have to take time away from your studies on that week-long internship.
If you can find work experience then that’s great, but do try to make it coincide with your holidays – this shouldn’t be too tricky seeing as us students do get a lot of time off. Likewise, always apply for as much as you can. Lots of people will be vying for similar jobs and you are bound to get knock backs along the way. Applying is an experience in itself and will help you deal with later situations when looking for a job.
Of course your degree is important too. Employers are looking for candidates who can prove that they are dedicated and committed, and what better way to show this than by the fact that you have stuck at a course for three years. University is all about juggling your time between the academic and the social, but with the different societies and clubs available at UEA, you can most definitely mix the two without detracting from the time you need for your studies. Being part of at least one society gives you a little extra to add to the CV and it doesn’t have to be a chore to partake in.
There is no clear-cut way to say whether your degree or experience is more valuable and it definitely isn’t this black and white. Dependent on the job you are looking for and the subject you study, either could be more beneficial and only you can really decide. Working hard at your degree and adding at least one extra-curricular activity to your repertoire won’t hurt though.
The more you do the better for your future, but don’t feel pressured into having to do huge amounts at the expense of your degree or your life. Try getting in touch with people who do a similar job to what you’d like and see what kinds of things they did. It really is different for everyone but remember every little thing will help.