Work placements are a great way to get hands-on experience in your industry while you are in university. Maximizing your work placement opportunity is key to making it a success.
These programs are vital and get most people a taste of what it will be like working in a big organization.
Placements will help you get a taste of different types of jobs in your industry. Through that, you will discover what you like and which discipline you would like to pursue as a career.
In this post, I’ll share 5 ways to maximize your work placement. This is from someone who on many occasions was mistaken as a full-time staff because of the relationships I built and projects I was involved in.
If companies are happy with your work ethic and the skills you bring to the table, you could be offered a job after you complete your degree.
If you need tips on how to master an interview in order to get your ideal internship, check out my post on the topic.
Now, let’s jump in and talk about making the most of your internship.
1. Be an early starter
Get to work at least 30mins before the start time. This allows what I call “the golden time” to prepare for the day before everyone turns up. Make yourself breakfast, a cup of coffee and settle in before the work day starts. It also shows you are dedicated enough to the job. You can use this time to build relationships with other early morning colleagues without the pressure of having to get back to work or meetings.
2. Set Skills Target to Maximize Your Work Placement
Now that you have your placement job, what skills do you want to master before you leave. Seek projects that will allow you to learn the skills you want to master. There will be individuals you want to learn from so build a relationship with them and learn from them. Grabbing lunch or coffee can be a great way of doing this.
3. Delivery Work to a High Standard
This is the time to show your employer what you bring to the table. When work is assigned to you, make sure you understand what is required. Ask questions for clarity to ensure you know what the final deliverable needs to be.
Offer to show your draft work before the delivery date. You can gather some feedback and make improvements before delivering your masterpiece.
Enjoy the process while you cultivate the confidence for delivering work to a high standard
4.Own up when Sh** hits the fan
During your internship, there might be one or two occasions when you make a mistake. Own up to it. No blame games. Communicate to your manager the error, understand the impact and work on a resolution. It’s not always about delivering work perfectly all the time.
Things go wrong and you should take the lead in bringing in a solution. You will be remembered more for fixing the issue than what actually went wrong. We all love a good comeback story. It gives you a confidence boost knowing that with all eyes looking your way, you delivered.
5. Ask for feedback to maximize your work placement
From time to time, you need to know how you are doing as an intern so ask for feedback. It will allow you to identify areas you are strong in and where you need improvement. Don’t forget that you are there to learn so seek opportunities for growth. Ask for additional work in areas that you need improvement in so that you can learn and master the skill set and confidence required.
Every experience on your work placement is valuable and will set you up for your future. The good and the bad. The experience is a taste of how the real work will be like when you start your career. Not everyone gets the opportunity for an internship so make the most of it.
Ask questions and most people will be happy to show the young kid on the block the ropes. You are there to learn, and learning you should.
Remember, managers, colleagues, directors were all once in your shoes. They will gladly give you their time to help you further your career. At this stage of your career, you are not seen as a threat of replacing anyone just yet.
Build relationships and there is a high probability that your paths will cross again. A good recommendation from someone you’ve worked with can propel your career much further.
At the end of your placement, send out a goodbye email to your team and company thanking them for the opportunity. Leave contact details or LinkedIn details for people to stay in touch.