City : Work Experience World : Getting the most from Work Experience
First of all, Congratulations on getting work experience!
Here are some tips on how to make the most of your experience and how you can make a good impression:
Arrive on time. Plan your route the day before and leave yourself plenty of time to get there, remember that if you arrive early you can always grab a coffee while you wait. It makes a bad first impression to arrive late. Once you are there don’t try and run out of the door the minute it hits 5pm. Show that you are willing to work hard and put in the hours.
Be enthusiastic, even if you are given a very basic task, your boss will want to know that you will do your job with a positive attitude, even if it’s not fun or exciting.
This is a learning opportunity and the way you’re going to make the most of it is to ask lots of questions, they will be impressed by your initiative and interest in the company. Take every opportunity to learn about the company and industry. However, remember there is a time and place to ask questions so don’t chime in when your boss is talking to a client. The more you put in to it the more you will get out of it.
Listen to the instructions that you are given and remember what you’ve done during the day. Your placement will be long and busy and you won’t be able to remember it all, so keep a note of what you’ve done or seen. This will be really helpful when you’ve finished the placement and are updating your CV or going for a different interview.
Switch off your mobile phone and focus entirely on the job while you’re on the placement. Finally, be polite to everyone, not just the boss, and remember to thank anyone who has given up their time to help you.
This will depend on the company that you are working with, you may have to wear a uniform or specific clothing, if so ask them the week before you arrive. If they are going to provide you with a uniform on your first day then make sure you arrive on time to get fitted for it. If there is no specific clothing to wear then make sure you dress smartly; clean and neat clothes. Have a look at what other employees are wearing on your placement and follow their example. You want to look as though you fit in with the company.
What if you get ill?
Make sure you get the contact details for someone at your placement so that if you get ill you can call them and let them know. In general, unless you are infectious or really can't go to work then you should try and go in. This is your opportunity to learn and make a good impression, and you can't do that if you're not there.
Keeping a diary
You can use the Review Document on our progress tracker. This will help you keep a record of everything you've done on the placement and help you think about what you got out of the experience. It is a fantastic tool which will be incredibly helpful when you start writing a CV or going to interviews.
Here are some things that you should think about when you are making a note of your experiences:
- Did you enjoy the placement? Why / why not?
- What did you learn about what you are good at / bad at?
- What was the most interesting thing that you saw / experienced on this placement?
- What skills did you develop on this placement? What did you learn?
- What did you personally contribute to?
- What did you learn about the industry?
- Have you had to deal with clients / customers? How did you find it?
- Did you have to deal with any angry clients? How did you deal with the situation?
- Did you come against any problems that you had to solve? How did you solve it?
- Did you change or improve the way anything was done?
- How could you have made more of the placement?
- Did you come out of your placement really understanding the business?
- If you were doing it again what would you do differently?