Monday, 14 October 2013

Should you do work experience this summer?

Should you do work experience this summer?
From volunteering to internships, work experience is the mainstay of many student summers, so how can it boost your career prospects in the tax sector?

If study prevented you from applying for a work experience placement, look to the summer holidays to gain some key skills. Tempting as it is to head to the beach instead, work experience will fast-track your career compared to less motivated undergrads.

It’s much easier to undertake work experience while you’re still at university, as you’re usually legally covered for workplace insurance by your institution (check with your provider), plus it’s easier to approach firms with the backing of a degree program.

Finding work experience

If you know the path you want to take, seek a position offering skills required for employment in the tax industry. If you’re uncertain of the specifics, search for the role on a career site and make a list of the recurring traits in job advertisements. The closer your work experience matches those attributes, the easier it will be to transition from graduate to employee.

Don’t have a clear picture of your future? Try for a role that will allow you to experiment in a few areas to help you find your niche. Any related work experience is valuable if you can show you've worked in a tax environment.

Five ways to make work experience count
  1. Build skills: Particularly skills you can only get on the job.
  2. Network: You’re in the perfect position to meet people in the industry. 
  3. Make key observations: Secure an understanding of the work environment and the different roles that contribute to the organisation.
  4. Be curious: Ask your supervisor/mentor questions and be open to different experiences.
  5. Add it to your CV: In an interview, talk about how it prepared you for the role you seek.
Your summer holidays are a great time to ease into working in the tax industry. The busy period has already passed for most firms, which means your supervisor/mentor can give you more attention.

Work experience makes a big difference to your career prospects. Not only will it give you a firmer understanding of what role you desire, you will also have the skills and contacts to help you secure it. Taking the initiative while others laze around will always be a career-positive move. How will you make your work experience count?


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