What to know now you’ve sorted your work placement
I recently completed a year-long internship at a large, international technology and consulting firm. I’ve given university talks about internships, and volunteered at assessment centers throughout my placement year.
I had a huge amount of fun, and what I learned will help you get the most from your year.
Here are four things to know going into your work placement.
1) Don’t worry, everyone’s nervous
On the first day of my placement I was nervous. I was scared I wouldn’t be able cope with the workload. I was nervous before even starting, and this had to affect me going in.
Go in on your first day prepared to learn and meet new people. Everyone knows you’re new, and they will make sure you’re prepared before your daily tasks start.
2) Get to know your management team
One of the best parts of doing an internship or placement is meeting all the new people. This is a great opportunity to meet peers, develop social skills and have new experiences. But don’t let that be all you do.
Make sure your boss sees your enthusiasm and work ethic. This will help you in the future with references and job opportunities, and the great working relationships it brings will make your placement really rewarding.
3) Embrace the paid lifestyle
My favourite part of being a placement employee was the regular paycheck. Make sure you enjoy it!
I made the most of Thursday drinks and chances to shop. But I also used my year to save up and travel - I can thoroughly recommend a trip to Barcelona.
Once your time’s up it’ll be back to the budgeting and bank balance of student life, so have fun!
4) Take every opportunity to network
A placement is a chance to learn, so take every available opportunity to do that. My department had monthly networking events and sometimes they weren’t even work-related.
Look out for these, as you can meet people from across the company. People are usually willing to let placement students sit in on any event. I’ve been to consulting meetings, design workshops, user experience sessions - bonus points if you can get a certificate out of it.
Soak it all up and enjoy yourself
My year is over, but I hope you use your time to the full. Get the best out of all the opportunities on offer.
Most of all, have fun and learn from the people around you.