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How to make the most of your Work Experience Placement

 

Make a good first impression

First impressions really do count. Make sure you turn up on time, are suitably dressed (if in doubt, better to go smarter), and are raring to go. If you show you’re friendly, reliable, and competent from the get-go, chances are more opportunities will come your way.

Get to know people

Greet everyone you meet with a smile and try and introduce yourself to everybody you’ll be working with. Don’t be afraid to ask people about their roles and how they got to where they are now – they’ll be flattered!

Be organised

While you’ll have guidance during your internship, you can’t expect to be spoon-fed the whole time. Listen carefully to instructions and note down important meetings, dates, and deadlines to help manage your time effectively.

Get involved

It might sound obvious, but the more you get stuck in, the more experience you’ll gain. Be enthusiastic about any task – big or small – and use your initiative to go above and beyond what’s asked of you.

Ask questions

There’s no shame in asking for clarification if you’re not sure what you’re doing – in fact, employers will respect that you have the guts to ask. But be resourceful – think twice about asking a question that could be answered with a quick Google search.

Make suggestions

If you think you’ve got a valuable comment to add, don’t be afraid to speak up. Employers love people with ideas, and your contribution – whether your idea is taken up or not – will be appreciated.

Offer to help

When you speak to people, ask after their current projects and emphasise that you’d like to get involved. Showing you’re approachable and keen will ensure they think of you when they need an extra pair of hands.

Make notes

Jot down any useful information about particular tasks you’ve worked on and skills you’ve picked up. That way you’ll have a record of everything you need to take away from your time there – handy for future job applications!

Ask for feedback

Try and gather informal feedback from your supervisor as you go along, rather than just waiting for a report at the end – it gives you a chance to improve throughout your time there, and shows that you care that you’re doing a good job.

Reflect on your work experience

It’s important to be honest with yourself when reflecting on your internship. If you didn’t particularly enjoy it, it doesn’t mean it’s been a massive waste of your time. Even if the only thing you take away from the experience is knowing you don’t want to work in that industry, it’s been useful!

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Sector Spotlight Sessions

Gain better insight into what industry excites you most. We have launched an initiative called Sector Spotlight Sessions which will give you access to all areas interviews with leading professionals across a range of sectors.

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Choosing a Work Experience Placement

Don’t worry if you’re still not sure about the kind of career you want. Work experience is a great way of trying out a career to see if it’s for you.

Before you start to look into what specific careers it can be helpful to think about what you like to do and where you feel your strengths lie.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What are my favourite subjects at school or college?
  • What subjects am I good at and which ones do I find more difficult?
  • What do I enjoy doing outside school or college? Could I turn my hobby into a career?
  • What jobs have I heard about or seen other people doing? Could I see myself doing any of these jobs?

It can be helpful to speak to friends, family members and your teachers about their careers and how they got there. These conversations will help you start to get an idea of what different jobs are like and what qualifications and experiences you will need for particular careers.

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