When entering the world of employment, a degree in your chosen field is fairly essential. A university level of education will be a minimum requirement when looking for a job or graduate scheme after university. But is your degree the most important part of your CV? Perhaps not.
Lectures, exams and assignments can only teach so much; and the majority of that teaching is theory and knowledge. But a university education cannot really provide the hands-on, practical experience that students' of today need.
When a student graduates from university, there are a thousand others doing the same thing, all of them possessing a very similar degree to one another. Unfortunately, when it comes to education, with only a degree for employers to scrutinize, candidates that have attended universities deemed to be 'better' than others, will be the most desirable. That's just the way the world works.
Experience however, creates differences between graduates. It puts which university you have attended, or what grade you achieved, out of the spotlight somewhat.
As a student myself, I can say from experience that a lot of university goers become complacent while studying for their degree. Many are naively convinced that their degree alone will be enough to get them a job when it's all over. The truth is: it probably won't.
Gaining experience in your chosen field is easy enough, it just requires patience. Starting from the bottom is essential and everyone has to start somewhere.
Starting small and working your way up slowly often looks even more impressive than your university education; it shows commitment. The more you do, the better you look to an employer and working outside of your studies shows that you the type of person that is willing to put in extra time and effort, and more importantly, capable of more than just sitting an exam.
In addition, working for a variety of different people will mean that you are constantly networking with people in your chosen field, gaining valuable connections. Work experience and internships can lead to employment and you will be gaining the practical experience that is desired by so many employers.
Internships are incredibly easy to apply for; an email here, a phone call there - people are always looking for extra help, especially if they aren't required to pay that help. And nine times out of ten, an employer will be looking for an intern based on availability, not on skill or prior experience.
There are thousands of websites out there, waiting to be Googled, filled with advertisements for internships and work placements. Depending on your field, and on the internship you're applying for, you might face some rejection before you really get a yes; but you just have to follow the cliché and jump straight back on that horse until you get a yes. It really is that simple.
Don't be shy and don't hold back, even if you think you're under-qualified or lacking in experience, the worst you will ever hear is a no.
Your degree is important, there is no arguing that. But when you have some downtime or a weekend to spare, instead of binge watching Netflix in bed, or heading to the pub with your friends, spend your time wisely instead; you'll thank yourself when you strut into your next job interview.