Work experience, though a great thing to put on your CV, is much more than that. It can help you to learn valuable skills and can prepare you for the working world. Here are my top tips for getting the most out of your time on placement:
1. First impressions
First impressions do count and by making sure that you turn up on time and that you’re dressed suitably is important. You could always email ahead asking what the dress code is, but if in doubt, dress smarter. Get a good night’s sleep before you start your placement and show that you’re friendly and ready to go from the start.
2. Get involved
Though it might seem quite obvious, getting stuck in is a good way to show that you’re enthusiastic and a team player. You’ll also gain more experience by getting involved with more tasks. Use your initiative and try and go above and beyond what’s asked of you.
3. Get the work done
Again, this may sound obvious, but if you’re given things to do, get them done and to a great standard. Try going above and beyond what you’ve been asked, maybe by doing some research that you can present and always ask for something else to do when you’ve finished so you’re not sat about doing nothing which can look pretty bad!
4. Ask questions
Employers will respect you for asking twice about something you’re not sure of, like where to find someone or something, or details on the task you’ve been given. If it’s something that can be found out with a quick Google search then maybe think twice about asking, but it’s better to double check than to get something wrong.
5. Get to know people
Greet everyone you meet politely, from the cleaner to the CEO. Try and introduce yourself properly to everyone you meet and don’t be afraid to ask about their job roles and how they got to where they are now.
6. Make notes
Make a note of any useful information your learn about particular things you’ve worked on and any skills you might have learned. This way you’ll be able to record things for your CV or application forms that might be useful.
7. Help out
Offering to help out is a good way to show that you’re enthusiastic and to learn new things. Showing employers that you’re keen might mean that they think of you when you they need an extra pair of hands.
8. Ask for feedback
Getting informal feedback from your supervisor as you go along will give you a chance to improve what you’re doing as you progress there.
9. Keep a portfolio
Try and print off or keep the work that you’ve completed at work experience. If you design a graphic or write some blog posts, or get a reference, file it away so that you can show prospective employers when it comes to getting a job.
10. Reflect on your work experience
It is important to reflect on your work experience at the end of your time there. What skills did you learn? Who did you meet? Did you enjoy it? If the only thing you take away from your work experience is that you didn’t enjoy working in that industry/department – then you’ve still learnt something!