Asked by Kaylie on September 13, 2017
Answered by Tom, Hiring Expert at VF Corporation, on September 15, 2017
For sure, both are valued more than your "in class" experience. Most employers will be more interested in what you did outside of the classroom vs. in it. We want to know how you have applied what you are learning / have learned and there are things that simply can't be learned in a class room, only on a job or through some co-curricular activity. As to whether a hands-on job or co-curricular activity is better than the other, there is no blanket answer there, depending on the individual circumstances and the quality of each possible experience, once could be better or could be worse. They key again, is get as much experience outside of the classroom as you can, it does not matter if it is in your chosen field or not, all experience is good experience and it will be much easier to experiment / try different things now than later in your career.
Answered by Alyssa, Hiring Expert at Quest Diagnostics, on November 9, 2017
Both hands-on job experience and co-curricular activities are valued. Hands-on job experience is valued slightly higher because it proves you can manage employment and are reliable in a professional setting. It also shows you have experience to the position you are applying for. Curricular activities are great as well! What makes them great is when you can relate them back to the job you are applying for. I suggest you think of examples in your curricular activities that show character traits you possess and then express those during your interview.
Answered by Dean, Hiring Expert at Archer Daniels Midland, on November 14, 2017
It really depends on what the hands-on-job experience was and how it relates to the job you are applying to. Holding a job while attending school or during the summer regardless of the experience is still significant as it correlates to your work ethic. The co-curricular activities also depend on what you did within the organization. If you had a leadership role or was involved in organizing or working an event that is valuable as well.