How to Make the Most of Your Work Experience

Written by EFP

Work experience is a short-term and often informal way to get to know a business. People on a work placement get to experience working life and try out different roles. Work experience is most popular with those in their early career as it gives them a chance to work out whether a career is right for them.

At Embracing Future Potential, we believe in the value of work experience for both employers and employees. Students and young people can bring enthusiasm and fresh ideas into a business and help companies stay connected to their community. However, so often, work experience is wasted on making the tea and photocopying.

Making the most of work experience is the joint responsibility of the employer and the person doing the work experience.

1. Arrive on Time & Practice Punctuality

Part of work experience is getting the opportunity to work in a professional environment for some people for the first time. Use the opportunity to practice punctuality, and show your employer that you are serious about being there.

2. Ask Questions – You’re There to Get the Most Information You Can!

Don’t be afraid to ask questions to the people you work with on your placement. Asking questions is the easiest way to learn and discover all the various elements of the job. People usually enjoy talking about their work and may tell you things you wouldn’t have thought of.

3. Be Willing to Listen

In any job, of any length, it is essential that you listen to those around you, especially the people who are trying to teach and guide you. You may feel that you know how to do something already, but there is always new information and skills to learn.

4. Go Above and Beyond

Use your independence, and don’t always rely on being told what to do by others. If you are confident in your abilities, and feel comfortable in the company, feel free to push yourself and go above what is expected of you.

5. Ask for Feedback

Feedback is essential for learning and developing. Many employers will plan a formal feedback session at the end of the work experience to discuss how you found it and what you learnt if this isn’t something that your employer mentions, ask for it yourself.

6. Try Things Outside of Your Comfort Zone

Work experience is a great time to try new things and step outside your comfort zone. If you try something and don’t like it, then you know that it’s not the right role or career for you. Remember, work experience is your time to learn; you may find something unexpected that you love.

7. Try to Leave a Lasting Impression

Work experience can often lead to future full-time employment. Making a good impression, and importantly leaving a lasting impression, is essential. Especially if you would like to work in the company again in the future.

8. Stay in Touch

Even if there is no permanent job at the end of your work experience, stay in touch with your boss and tell them what you are up to. They will appreciate hearing how the work experience helped you in your career and what you went on to do next.

9. Say Thank You!

This is a simple thing that many people forget to do. If a business has offered you some experience in their company and gave you their time and energy, it’s essential to thank them and tell them how much you appreciate their efforts.

10. Enjoy It as Much as You Can

At the end of the day, work experience is a time for you to learn and try new things; remember to enjoy it as much as you can. Reflect every day on what you have enjoyed and which parts of the working life would you like to take forward into your career.

For more help, advice and guidance on careers and employment, visit our network of websites.

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