The first time you do a placement or work experience with an agency is nerve wracking. You might not know how skilled you really are and how to behave in an office environment. When is talking too much, when should you be quiet and how often should you go for a coffee breaks? There are big and small things one has to adjust to when doing work experience.
These were the five things I learnt most from my recent work experience at Carswell Gould and Global Fire Production.
1.Every agency is different
When doing work experience one has to always remember that every agency will have different systems and routines. So you always have to have an open mind and not be set on how you like doing things. Follow what they do and you will be safe. But keep a distance, you don’t want to become the annoying work experience student who is completely incompetent into doing anything themselves.
2.Don’t kiss ass
Yes, do what they tell you to do and then some more but never forget to be yourself. You should try and please your temporary employer as best as you can while still being true to yourself.
You have probably heard this before a million times but it is still important. If you don’t agree with something speak up, or don’t say anything at all. It may save you later and they will respect you much more. Don’t treat them as gods, treat them as any other respected employer and co-worker.
3.Take that risk
If there is a discussion in the office and you have input or an idea, even if it isn’t great, say it. The idea might not be great but it could lead to something.
Even when you aren’t coming up with ideas you are still contributing to the team by being active and enthusiastic. It will not only make you a part of the team but it will challenge you more and stimulate your talking and brainstorming skills. Sitting quietly in the corner will not get you anywhere and it is a safe route of being forgotten.
Even when they say it’s the end of the day, it doesn’t necessarily mean it is for you. If there is more you can contribute then don’t hesitate to do it. Maybe you didn’t finish that report or the storyboard you where supposed to draw up. Don’t leave it to the next day, finish it at home as much as you can so that you are ready for new tasks and challenges the next day. They might not acknowledge the work you put in at first but later you will be much more valued than remembered.
5.Do something different
Never forget to present your skills that most people might not have. Maybe you know a different language or maybe you are good at doing presentations. These are things the employer might not think twice about that you are good at, but by reminding them you might get more challenging tasks and more responsibilities.
By showing enthusiasm they are more likely to bring you on to the team. If you don’t bother, neither will they. Even if you don’t think you have special skills for them to use there are other things you can do to make them remember you.
Bake them muffins on your last work day, bring in cakes and cookies for holidays like Halloween or St Patricks day. This does not interrupt their work and makes the day a little more special.