It is expected by most employers in our current hectic job market that applicants will have completed some work experience related to the field of application. However, simply completing the work experience for a line on your CV is not enough; employers want to be impressed with skills you have gathered and the observations you have made. Here are a few suggestions of how to get the most out of your work experience:
- Work experience is a fantastic opportunity to network in your chosen field
Do not make a bad impression by being impolite or unenthusiastic, as you do not want to make a reputation for yourself in the industry as having a bad attitude. Making a good impression may benefit you in the future - your mentor may give you positive references for future job applications, or even offer you a job! Present yourself as eager to learn and willing to go the extra mile in every task they set you, regardless of how menial you may deem it.
- Keep a daily diary in order to record your observations
Refer back to this diary if you are filling out a job application or preparing for an interview in a similar field to your work experience, as it will reveal what skills are necessary for success.
- Do not be afraid to ask questions
The more interested in the job you appear, the more interested people will be in helping you. Asking how people got their job, what they particularly like about their role and what skills they believe are important to be successful in the industry are all useful questions to have on hand. Do not be afraid to ask if you don't understand something or you have been set a task that you find overwhelming? it is easy for people who are used to doing a job to forget what may be a mundane activity for them is not common place for others. Simply explain that you have not come up against this task before and ask for some help in running through their preferred procedure for completing the work.
- If possible, try and visit a cross section of departments to get as much insight as possible into the business
- Present yourself well
Scruffy appearance and tardiness will not be well received by employers, so if you are prone to having timing issues in the morning allow yourself extra time to get up and out of the house. Aim to arrive fifteen minutes before you are due to start.
If you find yourself at a loose end, do not decide to check your Facebook account or take half an hour to use the toilet: ask if anyone needs any help with their tasks, and if the answer is a resounding no get in people's good books by asking if they would like any tea or coffee - this attentiveness will score you some handy brownie points!