The Importance of Work Experience for Students


Dr. Andrew R. Nimmich and Eliza Morrison Nimmich

When you graduate, employers prefer to see more than just 4.0 GPA on your resume. Work experience and references are extremely important. Every break from school presents an opportunity for students to seek professional experiences to add to their resumes. Most companies, regardless of their size, prefer employing someone that has worked in the past and has at least one reference to vouch for them. It shows that you’re a hard worker, you’re determined and you’re disciplined, which are skills that employers want in their employees. It may also show that you wake up in time to make it to work!

If you consistently seek out internships during your school breaks or even while school is in session, then your cumulative work experience may add up to a year or more and perhaps even before you graduate, you may be able to apply to jobs that require you to have one or two years of work experience.

Consider the following when looking for an internship:


  1. Research early

Write a list of the skills that you want to develop and use that list to pinpoint which companies to apply to. Some companies that don’t pay offer much more value in what you’ll learn so for now, pick the value of work experience over pay when identifying places to intern.

  1. Career counselor

At times trying to figure out where to intern can be confusing. Talk to your career counselor. They won’t tell you what to do but they’ll help you figure out where your interests lie and which direction you should move in when seeking relevant internship experiences.



  1. Student placement office

This office exists solely to help you get an internship or a job and yet you’ll find there are students that don’t even know it exists. At times, companies offer the placement office internship positions or inform them of job vacancies, so may miss a wonderful opportunity if you neglect to visit this office.



  1. Talk to your lecturers

Your lecturers have a wide network with institutions in the field that they teach in. Start talking to them early enough and find out whether they’d be willing to connect you. The power of networking is immeasurable.



  1. LinkedIn

Besides the traditional method of applying for jobs via LinkedIn, look for key people in the industry that you’re applying to and click connect on the profiles. When you click connect, LinkedIn offers you the chance to send a note of 300 characters. Use this to introduce yourself and ask for them to be your mentor or even apply for an internship.



  1. Join a networking club

Join a club like AISEC. According to their website, “AIESEC is an international leadership organization that arranges internships and social projects for young people to go abroad.”

A club like AISEC will give you lots of exposure and it’s a major boost to your CV.



  1. Go to Offices


Visit the companies that you hope to work with and talk to the receptionist or HR. Become friends with them. Find out what the requirements are to get an internship at their company. Drop a hard copy of your CV if it’s allowed.


  1. Apprenticeship programs

Companies like Deloitte offer an earn-while-you-learn higher apprenticeship. Irrespective of whether you’re in an undergraduate or graduate program, they have internships for different levels. Be sure to be on the look for such opportunities. The experienced gained, and lessons learned are priceless, and will certainly make your resume standout from those who have not sought out relevant work or internship opportunities.



About the author: Andrew is a co-founder of Tutor the People, and a graduate of Boston University School of Medicine. When he’s not doing surgery, he helps pre-meds find the best MCAT tutor, as well as students who hope to apply to other graduate programs, such as an MBA, JD, PhD, or more. Making yourself standout whether on applications to schools or on job resumes requires more than high test scores. That is where Andrew helps out.

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