Work experience has become a crucial element when it comes to employability. The more industry experience you can present to a potential employer, the greater the chances of getting a foot onto the career ladder. 

This summer we’ve taken on two students for work experience who are moving into their final year of university. Chris and Beatrice have been a fantastic addition to the team and we’ve asked them to share a bit about their experience so far…

Tell me a bit about your role here at Hireserve?

Chris: I am a front end web developer at Hireserve and my responsibilities involve building online portals and making them usable for a client. This is done by styling the web pages to make them look appealing and user friendly. I am able to do this by using a variety of web languages such as HTML, CSS and Javascript.

Beatrice: So my role on paper is ‘Sales Support Intern’, working with the Sales Manager. However, due to Hireserve’s flexible environment, I have been able to get involved in activities outside of my position, particularly within the marketing team. I come from a design background so I really enjoy being able to help generate creative content for the brand as well as pitching my ideas to the rest of the marketing team.

What are you enjoying most about your work experience so far?

Chris: I am enjoying the freedom I have to bring my own strategy and input on the code I am writing, whilst also being able to apply previous experience to the work here.  There is a really friendly and calm atmosphere in the office and I find it encouraging that others are so keen to help out with the work I am completing.

As well as this, the social side is enjoyable. I’ve been at Hireserve for almost two months and having come from a previous office which had barely any social activities outside of work, I have experienced a far greater level of enthusiasm from employees to stay after work and socialise with each other by playing pool or other activities.

Beatrice: I’m really enjoying the freedom of being able to work outside of my title. As an intern, I really appreciate the trust I have been given from both Karen and Emma, if I come up with an idea or solution I can produce it and pitch it. Anything that they think “hey Beatrice would enjoy that” they put it forward to me and it means a lot. As many interns will find; it’s rare to find a company who offers you responsibility, making you feel like a true part of the team and not just a temporary guest.

Have you learned any new skills whilst working here? If so, are any of them transferable skills that could potentially help you in the future?

Chris: Since working at Hireserve I have been able to develop my knowledge of web languages. JavaScript is a language I have struggled with in the past and working here has given me the opportunity to practice and use it in a professional environment. I have also been able to combine my knowledge of all web languages instead of just writing one standalone language as I had done in previous work experience.

Beatrice: I came here with a good knowledge of Excel and Adobe Suite which I have been using frequently throughout my work tasks and has come in handy for the team. By regularly using these in my role at Hireserve, I have been able to build up examples of how I can apply these skills in the workplace which will be useful for future employment.

 

Have you completed any other work experience before? Do you see it as beneficial to your role here or helping towards the completion of your degree?

Chris: Before joining Hireserve I was working in a similar front end web developer role; making websites for some of the UK’s top automotive retailers. Moving to Hireserve has been a good change for me because I have not had to start with a lack of knowledge and understanding. Instead, I have been able to quickly apply what I learnt previously to my role which will no doubt also help me in the future.

Beatrice: I have previously carried out work experience at a variety of different magazines…slightly different to Hireserve I know! My passion is to work in the business side of fashion, however, I would say that this experience has taught me a lot more than I thought it could, which is crazy considering it’s not the industry I’ve been aspiring for.

Working with the marketing team has allowed me to see how ideas progress from simply thoughts to finished outcomes. As Hireserve is a relatively small business, I have had the opportunity to understand most aspects of the business (obviously not including all the techy computer language, I’m afraid that will forever go over my head!)

I’m fast approaching my final year of university and have to complete my final major project and from working here I have come up with the foundations for this! What is even more important though is knowing that if I need any help with business planning, Hireserve will be there to support and advise me, which simply means the world.

What do you think are the benefits of work experience?

Chris: Work experience has been extremely beneficial for me and over the past year in industry I feel like I have grown from a student into a budding web developer. Without the experience I would not feel as confident as I do now with the knowledge I have become familiar with, and it has also shown me what it’s like to work in a professional environment as well as what to expect when I finish my degree.

Beatrice: I honestly believe that university teaches you to do the things that will help you along your career path. However, without work experience you will never know how to apply what you’ve learned into the workplace. I would urge anyone and everyone to participate in work experience, otherwise it’s like being a baker and never tasting the cakes!

Do you think work experience will increase your chances of employability?

Chris: My work experience will definitely increase my job prospects after university as any experience in a professional environment is highly regarded by most employers. By having a whole year of industry experience it shows that I am committed to the role and it has also provided me with a completed portfolio of work to show to new employers in the future.

Beatrice: I know it will. When I walk into an interview I will be able to reflect on my role and experiences at Hireserve, whilst actually pin pointing examples of what I’ve done and how I did it. And that’s down to Karen, on my first day she said to me – “what would be really beneficial for you for future applications and interviews is if you made a day to day diary so you keep track of all the tasks you’ve achieved”.

Not only this, but from being part of such a great team I can go somewhere else and know whether that business is the right place for me. It is really important that applicants, especially graduates, know that they’re going to join a company where they will feel valued and a part of the team.

Find out more

Take a look at our SME guide to work experience

Get to know Dan who joined us for his year in industry

Meet Kirsty our Marketing Assistant who has joined us on an internship

And find out about our Apprentice Web Developer, Lewis 

About the author

Hannah Vincent

From candidate experience to flexible working, and from supporting graduates to ATS reports; Hannah's written it all over the years! Hannah has contributed to publications as diverse as The Guardian, UK Recruiter and University Business. She is also the wordsmith behind our whitepapers and guides, from GDPR to Employee Volunteering.