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Why employers look for individuals with practice-oriented courses

In this day and age, we are coming to learn more and more about the necessity of practical skills for fresh graduates that is so vital for them to help them remain competitive in the fast paced and technology driven society. The slogan of “Lifelong Learning” is not anymore, a slogan or a choice, but it has become a necessity in the real world.

There are numerous reports available that employers are actively looking for those graduates who come with the practical knowledge and skills, along with the theoretical base. In a more simplified manner, we can say that employers are enthusiastically looking forward to hire freshly graduated students who are actively hunting for a job. What employers want in those job hunters that they must possess practical and industry relevant skills. In order to enhance your employability chances, it is imperative for the students to have a blended learning – combining the theoretical knowledge and understanding with the hands-on training, know how of the real world and must be able to ‘hit the ground running’.

The collaborative partnerships between the universities and industry representatives have pushed the universities to start offering the courses that should include some degree of work based learning. So, what are the possible options available to the university students to attain updated skills for employment that they are otherwise unable to achieve through conventional academic degrees being offered at universities? Well! There are two possible options. First option is to attend vocational education and training (VET) institutes that actively respond to the requirements of the current economical patterns. Second option is to undertake a search and find universities that are offering academic degrees with supplementation of complementary skills based practical courses.

Graduates who possess some relevant work experience are more attractive for employers than those who do not have any work experience

Upon review of several research studies, California State University, USA, found that the requirement of relevant work experience started to emanate from industry employers in 1980s. According to statistics reported by Northwestern University, USA, it was revealed that in 1993, about 93% of the students who had undertaken some kind of internship during their work and study programs were offered a job soon after the completion of their degree programs. High Fliers Research is the primary organization of survey entitled “The UK Graduate Careers Survey” that is held every year. Since 1995, the firm has been leading the research on recruitment at the leading universities of UK.

According to a research report of High Fliers Research, UK, published in 2021[1], it was found that graduates without any relevant work experience had very little chances of getting employment.

High Fliers Research contended that work experience has now become as important as a college or university degree i.e. they are integrated to provide an output of a blending learning for students.

How work experience can help graduates, even it is an unpaid work experience

Many young ambitious students disregard the worth of the work experience – probably owing to the fact that they have had jobs during sometime in their lives having no connection to their planned future dreams and hence, tend to ignore the value of the work experience. But the literature suggests that many valuable lessons can be instilled into students through work based learning; notwithstanding the job you are doing is not intellectually worthwhile. It is always advisable to undertake an employment in the field that you are interested in and do not worry at all, if there is a meagre salary being offered or none at all.

Anna Alanko, the career services advisor at Rasmussen College, mentions five compelling reasons to propagate the notion that an internship is a profoundly valuable work experience. Some of the major reasons cited by her include gaining more knowledge and understanding about work industry that you are interested in, making a good impression in the CV for a potential employer and discovering the areas of your own strengths and weaknesses.

Once you started working in the real world industries, you will find it so much helpful in making your career decisions. There is a strong possibility that once you start working as an intern in any industry of your choice, you may end up changing your mind due to various reasons and switch yourself to another industry. Hence, this prevents an emotional breakdown of young graduates who later may regret saying that with hindsight they should not have selected a specific industry in the first place. This valuable lesson can be learned by any student or fresh graduate after spending a one semester at a professional organization instead of taking up the full-time employment, which might then be too late to change things retrospectively. If you perform exceptionally well during your internship period at the industry of your choice, this could very much lead to a full-time employment offer from your employer. Your work manager can help you progress in the world of academia by providing you a letter of recommendation. Your manager can also help you progress in quest to find an appropriate job by providing you a letter of recommendation. It is therefore highly advisable to young interns not to discount the world of opportunities that come along with your work experience, even if it’s an unpaid internship. On the top of that, internship can provide you with a chance to quickly learn about your best job skills, what areas of your skills need further improvement and how to interact with the people in the corporate world.

Why is practical experience so important?

Today practical experience is a mandatory requirement for job seeks from all walks of life. According to one article authored by the famous lifestyle and career blogger Brazen Life entitled “Why Gaining Work Experience Is More Important Than Your Education”, many academic institutes of higher education reported that students who had completed a formal internship program or gained some sort of work experience during the course of their academic programs had reportedly higher rates of getting jobs as compared to those who merely focused on academics and did not participate in any work based learning activities. The article also documented the factual evidence from the statistics of Iowa State University, USA, where about 90% of the students who had a bachelor of science degree program in engineering with some industry based work experience as part of their degree program, known as co-op educational degrees, were reported to have found job straight after their graduation. Similarly, 80% graduates who had completed one semester of internship and 75% graduates who had worked during the summer breaks, got jobs straight after the completion of their degree programs. On the other hand, only 50% graduates, having no work based learning during the course of their studies, got jobs after the completion of their degree programs.

Does work experience really matter?

Work experience is arguably the key area which many recruiters always look out for in your CV along with the other credentials. Candidates who do not posses the relevant work experience are likely to be turned down while others with relevant work experience are likely to be called for the interviews. Work experience undoubtedly enhances the perception of one’s competence. Some of the reasons are outlined below to let you know why work experience matters:

1: Work experience involves knowledge:

Responsible managers do not wish to take a risk with freshies and hence, prefer to hire candidates having considerable experience.

2: Work experience attracts employers:

The CV of a student is likely to be earnestly considered by an employer, if it has mention of any considerable and relevant work experience. Having work experience on your CV, you are likely to stand out of the crowd and be able to present yourself more enthusiastically.

3: Work experience makes your CV more competitive:

Today we see a strong competition in all fields of work industry. If any individual wants to fight for a competitive job, then he should possess all the inevitable skills along with considerable work experience in order to be positively considered by the potential employers. It is therefore that employers are more inclined towards hiring people with work experience as compared to people with no experience.

4: Work experience can teach you some valuable lessons:

Work experience is one crucial factor involving in learning valuable lessons of the work industry. Some of the prominent valuable lessons may include learning more about the work industry of one’s choice, employers learning more about the specific skillset of employees and employees through two-way feedback mechanism improve their skills and overcome their areas of weaknesses

5: Work experience can help you find a career path:

Employees who are passionate for their work soon discover their career path with the help of experience that they gain from their employment. After gaining years of experience, it becomes much easier for you to make a choice about your career as how you plan to move forward in your career and you will indeed be in a position to make well-informed decisions with regard to your career field.


[1] Highfliers report ’the graduate market 2021’ – link


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