Some Golden Rules for Work Experience
This is by no means comprehensive, (and we may add to it) but it is a useful starting place:
1. Be presented well. There is no need to wear your ‘Sunday best’ but before the placement ask if there is a dress code. If you are still unsure wear something ‘smart casual’ on your first day and gauge the rest of the dress code from there. There is no need to invest in a new wardrobe – you are on a temporary placement – but aim to look like you ‘fit in’. Don’t overdo jewellery or make up; keep it subtle and professional.
2. Before your first day remind yourself about who the company is and what they do; visit their website, google them.
3. Make sure you know the name of who you should report to when you first arrive; this is the first impression someone will get of you, make sure it is a good one.
4. Be friendly and approachable, even if you are having a bad day. Smile and appear helpful. You are there for the experience. Even if it appears an unfriendly atmosphere, persevere, you are only there for a short while. Better that you are remembered for being the person who was always smiling rather than the person who was always grumpy.
5. Always be enthusiastic, however mundane the task, and some tasks that you might get given will seem pretty mundane.
6. There is no such thing as a stupid question. When you are being briefed for a task, if you are unsure about how to proceed or have any questions about how to process the task then do ask. However try not to get yourself in a situation where you are asking too many questions and preventing someone else from working.
7. If you get the opportunity to learn or use new software or a different computer program or method of working then USE IT. You might not get the opportunity again – and you add to your own personal skill set in the meantime.
8. Make friends and contacts. If someone within the company is doing a particular job or role then ask their advice or opinion – they may be wrong(!) or unable to help you further but they be be right in helping you ascertain your goal.
9. Don’t go into work experience thinking that it will automatically lead to a job within a publisher, even if they have a vacancy. But remember if they did have a vacancy by following rules 1-6 you may be able to prove that you are their ideal candidate.
10. We do not support or endorse any unpaid placements. If, in addition to pay, the company have said they will pay your travel or other expenses and you haven’t yet received them, then ASK. If it was part of the arrangement you should not feel uncomfortable about asking for something that was agreed.