From volunteering to internships, work experience is a feature of many student summers. So how can you use work experience to enhance your career prospects in the tax sector?
If study commitments have prevented you from applying for a work experience placement during the year, it may be worth looking to the summer holidays to gain key professional skills.
Tempting as it is to head to the beach instead, work experience can accelerate your career and help you stand out from the pack of less motivated undergraduates.
It’s usually better to apply for work experience while you’re still at university. Firms tend to be more amenable when you have the backing of a degree program.
Finding work experience
If you’ve already decided the tax profession is the right career for you, you can start by searching for positions that require specific tax-related skills.
You can also look for broadly relevant roles on career sites and list recurring selection criteria in the various job advertisements. The closer your experience matches those required attributes, the easier it will be to transition from graduate to employee.
Don’t have a clear vision of your future? Consider roles that will enable you to experiment in a few areas. This will help you find your niche. Any related work experience – that shows you've worked in a tax environment – is beneficial.
Five ways to make work experience count
The value of work experience correlates directly with the skills you gain. In any position you should, therefore, aim to:
- build technical expertise – particularly in terms of the applied technical skills you can only get on the job
- network – you’re in the perfect position to meet influential people in the profession
- observe – secure an understanding of the work environment and the different roles that contribute to the organisation
- be curious – ask questions and be open to different experiences
- add the experience to your resume – in subsequent job interviews, you can talk about how it prepared you for the ultimate role you seek.
Your summer holidays are a great time to ease into working in the tax profession. The busiest period has passed for most firms, which means your allocated supervisor or mentor can give you more attention.
Work experience can make a big difference to your career prospects. Not only will it give you a better understanding of the role you desire, you’ll also build the skills and contacts that will help you secure it.
Taking the initiative while others laze around is a positive career move. How will you make the experience count?