Work experience can be a daunting prospect - all the fresh faces and alien environments may at first seem scary. It is a unique experience for everyone with a variety of organisations and industries offering placements. However, there’s no need to be nervous; Leon Armstong, who spent a week getting work experience in our office, has written eight essential tips that will help you make the most of the opportunity.
Show up on time
It sounds obvious, but people really do underestimate the power of arriving on time. Although schools don’t do a lot to punish being late, if you are late on your first day, or any day for that matter, it can drastically change how people view you and your attitude.
The way you present yourself will have an impact on how you seem to be approaching your work experience. If you don’t put in the effort, that will be demonstrated through your attire. If unsure what form of clothing to wear, go with the smarter clothes because as they say, “Better safe than sorry”.
No, I’m not speaking about the first section of Pride and Prejudice but, how you present yourself on your first day. This can be said for everything in life but, your first impressions shape views. If you come across timid or half-hearted, this may put a bad taste into everyone’s mouth. Just be yourself and act as politely as possible using your manners and treating everyone with respect.
While you will initially be guided, you can’t expect everything to be explained in excruciating detail. Eventually, you will be left to your own devices so it’s better to be prepared for that moment instead of it being sprung onto you.
While it isn’t a bad thing to want to get stuck into some work, sometimes you must be patient and let things be explained or demonstrated to save you from mistakes once you finally start your work. In the words of the William Langland, “Patience is a virtue.”
What’s the point in having ‘experience’ if you learn nothing from it? Therefore, you should make notes to help you remember everything once you leave. You can reflect on these in future to continue learning from them after your work experience.
Offer up your help
There is nothing wrong with wanting to prove yourself so if you feel you have a valid contribution to add or just want to help, do that. There is nothing worse than having a promising idea be lost as you lacked the confidence to chirp up.
Reflect on your Work Experience
Once you have finished, reflect on the entirety of work experience. What did you improve? What new things have you learnt? The most important part of reflecting after the experience is to not lie to yourself. If you didn’t apply yourself enough or just didn’t think you did good enough, tell yourself the truth and it will drive you to try harder in future.
Just don’t be nervous, make your first impressions count and make sure you really learn from your time spent on work experience. People can fall into the trap of letting their lack of confidence or experience restrain them from doing their best. If you tick all eight boxes, your work experience will be a delight!