Secured yourself a work experience placement, or thinking of doing one soon? That’s great! There are so many benefits from work experience, from learning new skills to getting a commitment-free look into a real workplace. But if this is your first foray into the world of work, you might have some questions – like what to do, where to go, what to wear… So in this blog, we’re going to go through some of our top tips for your first day of work experience, helping you feel confident and prepared.
Why bother with work experience?
We touched on a couple of the benefits of work experience above, but if you need a little more convincing, here are some other great reasons to get out there and start looking for a placement:
- You’ll learn valuable technical and soft skills, all great to add to your resume.
- You can network and talk to professionals in your industry of choice – learn about how they got to where they are today, hear their experiences and insights, and even keep in touch for future job opportunities.
- You can find out whether a particular job is going to be right for you, or if it’s not quite what you expected.
- It might open your eyes to pathways and options you hadn’t considered before.
- You’ll become more independent and confident.
Tips for your first day of work experience
Here are our top tips to help you feel more confident going in to your first day of work experience:
Get a good night’s sleep
Your day will be much easier if you’re feeling energised and refreshed, so try not to stay up too late the night before your first day. Getting a good night’s sleep and waking up on time leads into our next point too, which is…
Just like you would for a real job, make sure you show up on-time. Rocking up late on your very first day isn’t going to make a great impression – remember, the workplace is using their time and resources to help you, so show some enthusiasm and respect in return. Make sure you know where to go (and how you’ll get there) so you don’t get lost.
This one will depend on exactly where you do your placement, but you should definitely ask what to wear before you start. If your placement is in an office, hospitality, or retail environment, smart casual wear should be OK. If you’re going to a hospital, worksite, veterinary office, zoo, etc., you might need a specific uniform or equipment.
Bring what you need
Showing up empty-handed probably isn’t the best idea. There are some things you should bring with you each day, like a notebook and pen, your lunch and snacks, and a water bottle. Make sure to ask if there are other specific things you should bring too.
You’re probably going to meet lots of different people on your placement, and they’ll want to get to know you too. Sharing a bit about your future hopes and interests can lead to others offering valuable advice. The more you talk to and interact with others on your placement, the more value you’ll get out of it.
Put your phone away
You can bring it with you (unless otherwise specified), but definitely put it on silent and keep it somewhere out of reach for the day. Even on breaks, you could spend time getting to know the other workers and asking questions instead of sitting alone on your phone. If someone really needs to get in touch with you, give them the business’ phone number so they can call you that way instead.
Ask lots of questions
The whole reason you’re there is to learn, right? So if there’s something that interests you, you’re unsure about something, or you have a burning question you really want answered, just ask!
Don’t forget to listen
While asking questions is great, it’s important to pay attention to the answers as well. Spend some time observing the other workers to get a feel for what their day is like, the tasks they do, and ways they solve problems.
Find out more about work experience
You can read more blogs, tips, and information about work experience on our website here.