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Tips for making the most of your work experience

Written by Nina Alternetti & Barbara Doherty from the Flinders Careers & Employability Service

Whether you are in your first year or about to finish your degree, it’s never too early (or too late!) to think about getting relevant work experience and the Careers Team are here to help you find out more about opportunities worth looking out for! With most organisations now looking for well-rounded candidates with a balance of study, work, extra-curricular activities, and work experience, getting relevant work experience is just as important as the grades you get from your study. Being well-rounded means you will have a lot of transferrable skills that employers highly value.

So where should you start looking for work experience?

For final year students:

Graduate Programs are a great way to get a leg up in the industry! Many large organizations in both the public and private sector run these employment programs, designed specifically for recent graduates to transition from study into the workplace. Through these programs, you will get the opportunity to learn about your industry through rotations into different areas of the organization, along with training and mentoring throughout the program. Some of these programs often lead to longer term opportunities as well! Applications for graduate programs usually open in April for the following year (although they are staggered throughout the year depending on your discipline) so if you are approaching your final year of study, now is the time to start looking! To find out more about graduate program opportunities, check out the Career’s Team ‘All About Graduate Programs’ information page on Career Hub!

For early year to penultimate students:

For those of you in your penultimate year, there are still many other opportunities to get work experience while you study! Internships and vacation programs are short-term (about 8 – 12 weeks) placement opportunities which many organisations run for students to learn more about the industry. Vacation programs are usually hosted between November and February with recruitment occurring around July to September and are usually targeted towards penultimate year students. For more information, check out CareerHub’s ‘All You Need To Know About Internships’ to start exploring your internship options.

If you are not a penultimate year student, there are still plenty of ways of gaining relevant work experience! Volunteering and casual work opportunities can also provide you with relevant skills and experiences which will help build your career. To find out more, check out the ‘All You Need to Know About Finding Casual Work’ and ‘All You Need to Know About Volunteering’ pages on CareerHub.

If you haven’t had the opportunity to take part in an internship or vacation program, don’t stress! You may already have or are currently using and developing your transferrable skills without knowing it! Check out our resources on CareerHub or book into an ‘Ask a Career Question’ session to explore what your transferrable skills and get career ready!

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