How to get the most out of work experience

work experienceApplying for jobs, particularly full time work can be hard; you think you have found a perfect position when you notice that previous experience is essential. Cue everyone asking the question: ‘How am I supposed to get the required experience if I can’t get a job?’ The answer? Work experience.

Work experience is an excellent way of gaining knowledge and the required skills for the career that you want. And the earlier you get work experience the better, it shows initiative and drive and that you are keen to get your foot in the door and start your career.

So, you wanted experience and found a great place to do your placement at; but how are you going to get the most out of your time there? We tell you how to have an enjoyable (and productive) time at placement…

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions

You’re there to learn so make the most of the experience and ask questions whenever you’re unsure of something. The people you’ll be working alongside do the job every day and will have a lot of useful knowledge and advice that will be helpful to you; so don’t be shy or think you’re annoying them, you’ll be surprised how happy people are to help.

Get Involved

There is no point in being there if you are just going to sit back and do the bare minimum. While learning through observation can be helpful, doing the work first hand is a lot better. It is common that you can be forgotten about during a busy day at placement, but if that does happen make yourself useful and work on something which needs done.

Make a Good Impression

Be friendly and make it known that you are excited to be there. Prove that you’re interested in working for them by putting forward your ideas. Remembering everyone’s name also shows that your interested and that you care about being there.

Make Sure You Get Feedback

Feedback is always helpful for your learning and it’s important you know what you did wrong, what you could improve on and what you did well. Going to work placement can be a bit scary; you don’t know anyone and you will be experiencing a lot of new things, so feedback can work as a great motivator. Knowing that you are doing a good job and your supervisor is happy with your work can put any nerves you have at ease. And remember, if they aren’t always giving you feedback, just ask.

Keep a Log/Diary

Record what you do every day, what you learn and what skills you used. It is really helpful to be able to look back and reflect on your progress throughout your time there. Having this information handy will also be useful when updating your CV or going for an interview.

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