Work Experience Do’s and Don’ts – 2019 Update
Work experience is just as important as ever if you want to break into the creative sector. Most companies won’t consider employing you without some work experience to your name. We’ve had several people do work experience for us at Visualised it, and we’ve talked about what to and what not to do before. So, here is an updated list of do’s and don’t’s for when you’re on a work experience placement.
Research Before You Go
Researching the company should have been done before you reached out to them. Know who you’re going to and what they do. Have a watch of some of their prior work, look into who works there and what kind of company they are, it will help you gauge how to dress and what you’ll be asked to do. Best to be prepared than be caught off guard.
Go with a Positive Attitude
Starting in the right frame of mind and with a smile on your face will leave a much more positive first impression than turning up with a scowl.
Making connections doesn’t necessarily mean handing out your business card to everyone from the managing director to the cleaners. It does mean showing you’re capable of working professionally and to a high standard. Be friendly to the other staff, and take an interest in what they’re doing. Grab business cards if you can, and keep in touch with the company after your placement is over, so you’re more likely to be asked back.
Turn Your Hand to Anything
Although you might be there to build experience in graphic designing or video editing, as someone on work experience you should be prepared to turn your hand to anything. Doing work out of your field will show versatility, and prove you’re eager more than just a paragraph on your CV can. You could even go one better and volunteer to do the extra jobs that need doing.
Think You’re Above Making Tea
Surely making tea is the runner’s job right? And you’re there to be a graphic designer! That work is below you, right? Wrong! Everyone in the office will have made the tea at some point, no matter how senior they are, and everyone needs food and drink to keep them going through the day. Making a good brew can add to your good reputation, and turning your nose up can mean you won’t be asked to come back.
Expect a Job at the End of It
While work experience placements can lead to jobs, and many applicants go into their dream company as a work experience intern and dream of a job at the end, you shouldn’t turn that dream into an expectation from your first placement. You’re going there to gain experience first and foremost. If you have a successful first placement, you could get a second one, and that may eventually lead to employment. Just don’t expect them to offer you a position after each one, you’ll only be disappointed.
Be Afraid to Ask for Help
A trap a lot of people on placement fall into is not asking for help, struggling, and their work suffers. You have to remember; the most experienced professionals will have asked for help at some point, so as someone on work experience, you should have no shame in asking. It can even work in your favour, showing you want to improve and are keen to do things the right way.
While it’s important to make a good first impression, don’t worry if you don’t get everything exactly right. You’re there to learn and expand your skill set, and if the company is reputable, they’ll put someone more senior with you to make sure nothing bad happens. So don’t panic too much about everything being on your shoulders, because it isn’t.
And those are four do’s and four don’t’s for Work Experience. Have you ever been on work experience? How did you find it?