Second Year Survival Series – Part Two, Work Experience


By Imogen, 3rd year Geography undergraduate.

Hello, my name is Imogen and I am a third year geography student, currently writing my dissertation on the associations between rainfall and weather patterns in Cumbria. Alongside this I am studying carceral geography (it’s really interesting – google it) and more things about the weather and the climate (I can’t get enough). Career wise I am hoping to apply for various graduate schemes and achieve a graduate job after third year. I would also like to fit in a bit of travelling in somewhere, just to fill the typical geography student stereotype.

 How did you go about organising work experience? Was it done months in advance?

Months in advance – definitely not! I actually got this work experience through a friend. We were chatting about our future career and further studies plans and she told me what her mother did as a job, and that shadowing her would really help further my application for the particular graduate scheme, which is the NHS graduate scheme.  I hope that my example can show you don’t need to have work experience organised a year in advance and it doesn’t matter if you don’t know where you want to work particularly. Just use your contacts available to you – especially friends and family, as you never know who they might know.

 What did you learn about yourself on work experience?

The main thing for me was actually realising that I shouldn’t be so afraid of the future after university. I learnt that I can be a confident young woman and that I should put myself forward and apply for the competitive graduate schemes out there. I also learnt a lot about the structure of the NHS, how it is run, how it is funded, experienced some of the many job roles and so on. It was useful to be in a work setting like a hospital, which is very different to the experience I have in my part time job at Waitrose. I also saw myself applying the skills I had learnt in a customer facing role to the experience of constantly meeting new people and shadowing a different person every day.

 How has work experience helped your applications for graduate jobs?

It is currently helping because I have been able to narrow down the kind of schemes I want to apply for. There are so many different types of schemes you can go for I would advise shadowing people in various different job roles because you can seriously consider whether you can see yourself in their shoes. At only 20-something I believe it is quite difficult to know what you actually want to do with your life, but don’t let this be daunting. Go out there and experience something, it will really help.


About careersbham

Student Engagement Officer for Careers Network University of Birmingham

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