Preparing for work experience
Work Experience is one of the most important aspects of Transition Year so it’s important to make the most out of your placement. Here are some tips you should know before starting your placement.
- Arrive on time – There is nothing that puts an employer off more on your first day than coming late. You don’t know how bad the traffic could be or if you will get lost (you should know exactly where the company is!) so always prepare to be early on your first day. 30 minutes before you start is a good time to arrive. It’s also important to have enough sleep before each day. Being tired on a 9 to 5 job is not a nice experience!
- Dress Appropriately – It’s important that you come correctly dressed for the job. The wrong clothes can have a bad impression so if you’re not sure on what to wear don’t be afraid to call your employer to ask. If you’re going to be active or doing physical work make sure to wear something comfortable. Worst-case scenario, just dress casually!
- Bring a pen and paper – It’s always good to take notes, not only does it impress employers but it could be handy if you need to do a school report afterwards. A pocket notepad would be ideal as anytime you are given useful information you can quickly take it out and take a note of it. Otherwise, you can just wait until the end of your day to take notes.
- Do some research -Spend a little time having a look online seeing what you will actually be doing. It can help you understand your work experience in the greater scheme of things and you might be able to impress your employer. For instance, a student going to be a “Vox Pop” for a radio station may not have a clue what a “Vox Pop” is. Through a quick google search they can find out that it comes from Latin, meaning the voice of the people. So when they will be asked if they know what a “Vox Pop” is they can say they do and this will be very useful. This brings us nicely on to the final thing to do:
- Make a good impression – As the saying goes, first impressions last and this holds true for work experience. It’s important to turn up enthusiastic and to stay this way during the week. We know that your work experience might be uneventful at times but if you jump in to it head first you will enjoy it much more. Depending on where you’re working, by making a good impression you may be able to get a job there in the future.
- Don’t stay quiet – Although you may be shy, staying quiet signals to an employer that you are only at this work experience because you have to. It’s important to engage. Ask questions about what the job entails, what skills you’ll need and further opportunities you can get by working there.
- Don’t sit around doing nothing – Don’t just inspect what’s going on around you, you need to question things so you can learn. Don’t confuse this with being unruly, the key difference is asking the right questions at the right time because you want to learn. If you find that you have nothing to do, ask your supervisor if they have any work for you.
- Don’t get involved in office disputes – There can be conflicts anywhere between people and that includes the place where you are going for in work experience. It’s important that you make sure you don’t get dragged into office disputes because you might only end up getting yourself in trouble! The best thing to do if you see anything unusual where your working, e.g. bullying, is to report it to your supervisor.
- Don’t have your phone turned on – Unless it’s needed, just like in school, make sure your phone is off when you are working. It will look fairly bad if you start getting Candy Crush notifications while you’re talking to your employer! If it is needed make sure it’s on silent mode.