Got work experience looming? Don’t see it as a week away from class – take the opportunity to learn something! The thought of work experience and entering into the world of work for the first time can be a scary prospect, so we’re giving you some top tips to help you get the most out of your placement.
Being organised is always the best way to go –you can never be too prepared, both before your placement starts, and while you’re there. Listen carefully to what is said to you, especially when they are giving you tasks. Take notes of what you’re supposed to be doing and when they are supposed to be done by. Not only will this keep you on track, it will show that you are eager to do the work. It also helps you keep track of what you’re doing, which you can shout about on application forms in the future.
Stick with it
After half a day you may be struck by the scary realisation that this isn’t the career for you; it may not be what you expected, or you might just not feel properly suited for the job. This is a possibility, however don’t do what your initial instincts might tell you and run away and never return to the office; you have a great opportunity here, so embrace it and try your best at the tasks given to you. It may not be what you want to do for the rest of your life, and no one is asking you to, but you have agreed to work for a set period, so give it your all and get stuck in. You might not think it matters if you aren’t planning on returning, however getting a glowing reference about how helpful and motivated you were during your stay will only help you step towards the career you do want.
Try your best at whatever your work placement throws at you. It may be a little nerve wracking at first, but they agreed to you joining them because they believe you are good enough to help with their work and they want to see you succeed, so believe in yourself. Ask questions, request more work as soon as you finish a task, talk to the colleagues, and let your presence be known. Getting involved with the staff and fitting in well will ensure you will be remembered.
It is (sadly) not uncommon for some companies to be so busy with their own work that they forget to give you some tasks or keep you busy throughout the day. If this does happen, don’t just sit on your phone texting your friends, go find someone and ask them if they have a task for you to do, or ask them if they need any help. Showing initiative will get you noticed and is a great working trait to have. Remember, an internship is only as helpful as you make it, so don’t sit back and expect all the work to come to you.
Talk to people
Talk to all the employees and show an interest in them and their job. This is especially important if you are enjoying the placement and are interested in working with the company later on. Mingling with the employees, asking them questions about their job and asking for advice is a great way to show how eager you are to learn but also that you are a friendly, approachable person.