Think it’s better not to work while at university so you can focus on your studies? Think again.
Not only is employment alongside study handy for your finances and time management, it is also prized by prospective employers.
A new study on the employability of graduates, prepared for the Assistant Vice Chancellor (Digital Futures) at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand’s capital, found that work experience graduate applicants has “special value” for their chances of getting the job.
It Takes a City to Raise a Graduate analyses the findings of 86 student interviews with managers, Human Resource specialists and recent graduates at a range of local employers in the private, government and non-profit sectors.
“If I get a CV from somebody who hasn’t got a record of part-time work I don’t care how good your grades and qualifications are, I won’t look at you,” one manager in the public sector told the researchers.
Other extracurricular activities were also highly considered. “Good grades, part-time job of some sort, and something extracurricular that looks good,” said another representative from a large consulting firm. “As well as a bit of luck,” they added.
A manager in fintech told the researchers: “When we are hiring young people … we need somebody with some form of experience. You’ll be surprised at how many people just don’t have it.”
‘Soft’ interpersonal skills and technical expertise were also highlighted by employers, however past real world experience in the workplace was the “major positive”, the report found.
“I don’t care what you’ve done from a work perspective.” said an HR manager in the private sector. “I want you to have worked in part-time roles … that you understand the dynamic of working.”