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Work Experience

15 September 2015 |

If you have undertaken work experience, regardless of whether it is paid or unpaid, as an intern in a professional services firm or as an office assistant or shop assistant, this will boost your employability. You will be able to demonstrate that you have a strong work ethic, you are able to commit to an organisation and that you have accumulated some experience interacting with clients, working in a team with colleagues, adhering to deadlines and balancing multiple responsibilities.

Have you worked in the family business? Have you worked in customer services, perhaps as a checkout assistant or a bar tender? Have you already visited firms in the industry to which you are applying (even if only for a few hours or for an informal office visit)? I listed working in a small office, working in the music industry, completing a paper round and working at Waitrose (pushing trolleys!) as examples of my previous work experience (alongside more relevant industry experience, such as firm office visits). Many firms liked these examples as they felt that this demonstrated that I had a strong work ethic and that my decision to embark upon a highly pressurised career was better informed as a result of the comparison that such work experiences provided.

Try to gain an insight into a range of different careers. This should broaden your understanding of how the City works, whilst also ensuring your personal decisions and career choices are better informed. Keep an open mind as you may well have preconceptions about various industries that are not necessarily reflective of the reality of working within them. For instance, I have many friends who started out thinking they wanted to work in one industry only to decide (having gained experience in a variety of different organisations) that they in fact wanted to work in quite another. Others have decided that they would be happier working for small, niche, or regional firms instead of large City firms, or for a department within a corporation.