How to get the most out of your work experience

Are you due to begin work experience? Whether you’re at school, college, university or unemployed and not in any form of education; work experience is an excellent way to prepare you for the world of work and help you find a role that’s perfect for you.

So you’ve secured your placement but now wondering how to get the most out of your work experience? We’ve put together a guide to help you!

What is work experience?

Work experience is a short period of unpaid or paid employment taken by a young person looking to gain an insight into the industry they ultimately want to forge a career in.

What type of work experience can I do?

There are lots of different opportunities available. You could gain work experience through the following:

  • Part time job
  • Internship
  • Placements
  • Voluntary work
  • Gap Year
  • Insight
  • Programmes
  • Traineeships

How can you get the most out of your work experience?

  • Arrive on time

Nothing sticks more than being on time or even 5 minutes early. It shows you are keen, ambitious and ready to hit the ground running. Plan your journey and make sure you know where to report to when you arrive.

  • What to wear

This is based entirely on what industry your work experience placement is in. Obviously, if you’re working in a gym you won’t be expected to wear a suit. If you’re unsure about whether the company prefers smart attire or is more laid back then check in advance.

During your work experience

To begin with, you’ll be introduced to the team, smile and greet your colleagues with a handshake. Be professional, polite and hard working.

You might shadow someone on your first day or it could be the complete opposite and you get stuck in with lots of work. Be an active listener and show you’re interested. Take notes and if tasked with a project remember to ask when the deadline is and if you’re struggling then ask for help.

Remember, when your placement finishes thank everybody and say your goodbyes if you enjoyed it you could ask them to keep your name for in future if any positions become available. Follow this up with an email to the manager thanking them and everyone at the company for their support.

Why would I benefit from work experience?

Work experience is a great way to gain employability skills, knowledge and experience as well as allowing you to find out whether the industry you do a placement in is for you or isn’t for you.

If you do a placement and it isn’t for you it doesn’t mean your time has been wasted. There are a lot of transferable skills you will have learned during your time there and you can, therefore, use examples and references to vouch that you’re a great employee in your CV and at interviews. It’s a bonus all round.