What To Expect From Work Experience
Finding work experience sometimes seems like an impossible task so congratulate yourself on securing a placement. From the cover letter and CV, to the interviews and assessment centres, it is a long road to the final step and you’ve done it!
Now you are picturing yourself walking into work on your first day, wondering what awaits you. We thought it would be a good idea to provide you with a guide of what to expect from your work experience. So whether it’s an internship, placement, or a few days at a local office, this article will aid you through.
If you’re currently searching for work experience, fear not! There are a number of great internships and placements out there, you just need to find the right one for you. It is important to consider what field you want to work in…especially if your internship will last for a long period. It can be pretty dull doing a job you don’t enjoy, so try and pick wisely!
Work experience applications can be pretty tiring, it can get quite repetitive but your efforts will pay off. Companies like StudentJob and Rate my Placement are great for finding work experience; they have vacancies in a wide range of cities and you can find a number of CV and cover letter tips on StudentJob. It is also very common for universities to offer career advice and help so definitely have a look and see what is out there to aid you. It is usually free and they sometimes even offer mock interview and assessment centre sessions.
Your first week of work experience is a whirl wind of emotions; you are happy, nervous, tired and excited all at once. For the first day, most offices will ask you to arrive slightly later than usual, giving you a gentle ease into your new working hours. Training usually takes place on the first few days as well as a number of presentations about the company. It’s good to familiarise yourself with the background of the firm and its competitors before you arrive so that you feel prepared and have the basic knowledge to build on.
It’s natural to feel confused about the exact logistics of your job so don’t worry too much. As long as you ask questions and take notes, you will pick it all up soon enough. Often you won’t be the only intern at your company, this can be very handy as it’s a good way to make friends and it means you won’t feel like the only newbie. It’s common for a company to take their new interns out for a meal or drink after the first week, this is a great opportunity for you to get to know your colleagues!
Your company will offer you a series of training days and maybe even a course before your start date to prepare you for your new job. One thing you can be sure of is that you won’t be left in the dark; most internships are incredibly well planned and have been carried out for a number of years. As time goes on, your firm may also offer you the chance for further development, with additional certifications and qualifications available for you to progress to.
It is worthwhile pursuing these opportunities since they look fantastic on your CV and show your new company that you are ready to take on more responsibilities. For example, if you’re working in sales, you might be able to ask your firm if you can attend the training for your marketing colleagues. This is a chance to gain experience and build skills in other areas you may be interested in.
Having heard the clichés of new interns making coffee all day and photocopying, it’s easy to believe this is your fate. But fear not, you will usually find your new role expects a lot more of you than this. Your day to day tasks will vary depending on the type/size of your organisation, but you will generally be handling a high level of responsibility which is great experience. Most firms want their interns to learn as much as possible so they will give you plenty of chances to learn and develop your skills.
These extra tasks are a fantastic opportunity to stretch yourself and we would recommend taking any chance you get. It can seem scary at first to be sat in big meetings but it will soon become second nature to talk in front of a big crowd. By the end of your work experience, your confidence will be sky high thanks to all the new situations you’ll find yourself in. You may even find that your company sends you on a trip to another city – you never know where your work experience will take you!
Don’t worry if you are sat wondering what on earth networking is - it simply means meeting new people. Your placement will be an ideal place for you to network since you will be introduced to a whole host of new colleagues. You will have the opportunity to build a professional network of people which may come in use when you are looking for a graduate job.
Your company may put on networking events but if they don’t, fear not! Every work meeting, event or dinner is a fantastic opportunity for you to network. They can seem scary at first but just remember that everyone’s in the same boat and everyone there wants to meet new people. Your work experience will give you a chance to meet a whole host of new faces so make the most of it and network, network, network!
Article by Saffron Shergill of Student Job
A Bit About Our Contributor Student Job:
Student Job brings you into direct contact with interesting companies that are looking for temporary, part-time or full-time employees. Whether you are looking for an internship to compliment your education or a graduate placement to start your career, we have a wide range of opportunities.
Check out their listings for internships and placements in the UK