Job Application & Interview
The paramount importance of work experience or internships
Companies are looking for candidates who not only have a university degree and additional qualifications, but also suitable work experience. One example in which this fact plays a particularly important role is the Sino-German Job Fair in Beijing and Shanghai organized by the German Industry & Commerce Greater China twice a year. Why do companies represented on the fair like Volkswagen, BMW or Daimler as well as many German medium-sized companies explicitly look for candidates with work experience?
Proven work experience makes it much more likely that a candidate can quickly adapt to the job requirements and succeed in the job. Having work experience translates into a higher success of the recruitment process and enables the companies to install an efficient workforce in a short amount of time. In addition, wrong (and then expensive) recruitment decisions can be avoided, and companies do not need to search for a suitable candidate for a long time. Companies in general aim to create trust into a candidate’s abilities, which for instance have been developed or enhanced in a meaningful internship.
Work experience is thus extremely important, and candidates who haven’t even completed an internship have less of chance of being employed. Students who only have good marks at the university cannot easily convince a recruiter that they are also able to do a good job in a company. The reason is that the (theoretical) skills needed to succeed at the university are totally different from those to be successful in a typical work environment, where practice-oriented skills are needed. Therefore students already at the beginning of their studies should make sure to apply for good internships (in reputable companies) and to gain valuable work experience. At our AHK Greater China offices we regularly hire Chinese and German students to be valued members of our team.
How long an internship should last? An internship should be in the best case no shorter than 6 months. A short internship of three or four months is better than nothing, but the likeliness of growing personally and taking over tasks with high responsibility as well as the development of a good team member working hand in hand with other colleagues is much higher, if the internship lasts longer.