So, you’re about to start your placement after all your hard work searching, applying and securing an amazing role. If your anything like me, you’ll want to be as prepared as possible to ensure you smash your first day and have an amazing year – here are 8 pieces of advice that should hopefully help you do just that.
- Make a good first impression – Seems obvious but this is super important! You can only make one first impression. Arrive on time, stick to the dress code and be friendly.
- Be organised – Make use of your online calendar, or if you prefer things written down, bring a notebook or ask your manager for one (most offices will have a stationary supply for staff). I found writing a daily ‘to do’ list of tasks I wanted to complete was really useful as it broke down the day and made tasks more manageable.
- Learn who does what – It can be very overwhelming starting a new role and trying to remember who’s who. If you have a large office with lots of people, ask your manager for a structure chart, outlining who does what so you know who the best person is to approach for a query.
- Regularly check in with your manager – This may be something your employer will do anyway, but if not, ask to have regular catch up meetings with your manager. This is a great way to ensure you are getting the most out of your time on placement. Take this time to bring up any queries you have and discuss how you can meet goals to enhance your professional development.
- Get involved with office activities – It’s so easy to get in the mindset of “what’s the point I’m only here for a year” (maybe even less) but I would highly recommend joining in with things going on. It’s a great way to start to feel more ‘part of the team’, even if its just spending your lunch break chatting to some people, it makes all the difference!
- All in good time – You may start your new role and you’re already doing everything you expected and wanted to do – AMAZING! But if that’s not you, DON’T WORRY! It can often take a bit of time to get settled and take on more responsibility. If there is a project going on that you would like to be part of, speak to your manager to see if you can get involved. Communication is key to shaping your placement experience and getting the most out of your year.
- Exit your comfort zone – Don’t be afraid to get involved with things that you wouldn’t usually do. Being a placement student is a great way to experience new things before you graduate and apply for graduate roles. You may surprise yourself and discover things you love that you would never have known if you hadn’t taken that leap.
- Stay in touch – Always remember your placement tutor and the On-Placement Support Team are on hand as a source of support and guidance. If things aren’t going to plan and you need advice about what to do, don’t hesitate to get in touch. And if things are going to plan, let your tutor know you are enjoying your role and what you’re up to. The team always love to hear about students’ achievements whilst on placement so they can celebrate your accomplishments (it gives them that warm fuzzy feeling when they know their students are doing well 😊).
Written by Elise Richman