Making the most of work experience

Posted in News & Press  ·  16th January 2024

Work experience can be a game-changer for students. Whether it’s a formal placement organised through school, a part-time job, or volunteering, gaining experience in the workplace can provide valuable insights and skills that will serve you well in the future. Here’s how you can make the most of your work experience, regardless of the form it takes.

Understanding work experience

First, let’s clarify what we mean by work experience. It encompasses any opportunity where you get to experience a real work environment. This could be:

  • A formal work placement through school: Some schools offer dedicated weeks where students spend time in a workplace.
  • A part-time job: Working in retail, hospitality, or any other sector.
  • Volunteering: Helping out at a charity, local community centre, or any organisation that needs assistance.

Each type of work experience has its own benefits and learning opportunities.

Why work experience matters

Work experience is more than just a requirement on your CV. Here’s why it’s important:

  1. Insight into the working world: It gives you a taste of what it’s like to work in a real job, helping you understand workplace dynamics and expectations.
  2. Skill development: You’ll develop both hard and soft skills, from technical abilities related to the job to teamwork, communication, and problem-solving skills.
  3. Career exploration: It helps you discover what you enjoy (and what you don’t), which can guide your future career choices.
  4. Networking: You’ll meet new people who can offer advice, mentorship, and possibly even job opportunities in the future.

How to find work experience

If your school offers a formal work experience programme, take full advantage of it. If not, here are other ways to find opportunities:

  • Ask around: Talk to family, friends, and teachers to see if they know of any opportunities.
  • Check local businesses: Many small businesses are open to having students for work experience.
  • Volunteering: Look for local charities and community organisations that need help.
  • Part-time jobs: Apply for part-time roles in shops, cafes, or other local businesses.

Making the most of your work experience

Here are some tips to ensure you get the most out of your work experience, no matter what form it takes:

  1. Be proactive: Show enthusiasm and a willingness to learn. Don’t wait for tasks to be assigned – ask how you can help.
  2. Ask questions: Take the opportunity to learn from experienced professionals. Ask about their career paths, the skills they use, and their advice for someone starting out.
  3. Take notes: Keep a journal of what you do and learn each day. This will be useful for reflecting on your experience and for future job applications.
  4. Reflect on your experience: Think about what you enjoyed and what you found challenging. This will help you understand your strengths and areas for improvement.
  5. Network: Build relationships with your colleagues. Stay in touch with them after your experience ends – you never know when a connection might come in handy.
  6. Show appreciation: Thank your employer or supervisor for the opportunity. A thank-you note or email can leave a positive lasting impression.

Making work experience count

After your work experience ends, it’s important to make sure it counts towards your future goals:

  • Update your CV: Add your work experience to your CV, highlighting the skills and knowledge you gained.
  • Use it in applications: When applying for future jobs or educational programmes, mention your work experience and what you learned from it.
  • Reflect and set goals: Think about how the experience has influenced your career goals. Set new goals based on what you’ve learned.


Work experience is a valuable opportunity to learn, grow, and prepare for your future career. Whether it’s through school, a part-time job, or volunteering, making the most of any work experience can set you on a path to success. Remember, every experience counts, and the skills and insights you gain will be invaluable as you move forward.

At Bright Futures Experience, we’re dedicated to helping students like you navigate the world of work and education. For more tips and resources, visit our website and start building your bright future today!


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