Relevant work experience is important for many reasons and a must-have for your CV. It can help you to demonstrate your commitment to an industry as well as highlighting the relevant and transferable skills which make you more attractive within your sectors of interest. The more key words and experience you have on your CV the more likely you are to pop up in the relevant recruiter searches, meaning that you’ll be contacted about more opportunities.
Why have relevant work experience?
Including relevant work experience on your CV simplifies the whole application process. It’s the easiest way of demonstrating to a hiring manager that you could be a good fit for their role. Your skill set is likely to be well suited and you may already be an expert in that particular sector. If it’s a commercial role, your previous work experience may give you a distinct advantage coming into a new position, as your existing network may still be relevant.
In the current climate, many employers do not have the resources or time to train people into their roles and are so are looking for people who can hit the ground running or will take minimal time settling in and getting up to speed with the new company and role. Demonstrating that you are that person is likely to significantly improve for chances of securing the job.
Previously having worked in a similar field to the role you are looking for shows that you are confident and committed to your career path and not just testing it out as an option. Previous work experience, paid or unpaid, shows that you have passion and an interest for the industry.
How to get relevant experience?
If you are looking for a commercial position, for example, and haven’t already worked in that capacity, then shadowing someone already in the role will make you stand out. It demonstrates your commitment to the sector and teaches you the skills that you will need to excel..
If you are looking to gain initial work experience in a specific area, try contacting local companies that cover that specialism and present yourself to them as a potential volunteer. Companies are often open to this approach and it gives you an opportunity not only to gain some valuable experience, but also to start building your network and reputation once you’re there.
For university graduates: Your university is likely to have developed some strong relationships in your chosen field and can help organise some work placement or voluntary opportunities, make sure that you make the most of these connections.