Preparing for your first day on placement

Guest BloggerAdvice, On Placement, Second Year

It’s safe to say that everyone has those all dreaded first day jitters when starting a new job. Wondering what your colleagues will be like, what you’ll be doing, how the workplace is… we’ve all been there. For many of us, a placement year is the first time where you’re thrown into a fulltime professional working environment- sounds nerve-wracking to say the least! However, as overwhelming as this might sound, those feelings will soon be a distant memory. Although it’s impossible to eliminate the first day butterflies completely, here are my top tips to get your placement year off to a running start.

  1. Get that workplace wardrobe ready

Struggling to know the difference between smart casual, business casual or just plain smart? If in doubt, check the company’s dress code or email your manager prior to your start date. Once you’ve got the gist, it’s time to get some outfits sorted. If you’re still unsure, it’s always good to be too formal as opposed to too casual- it’s all about making a good first impression! You’ll soon get better outfit ideas inspired by your colleagues in the following days so things will eventually fall into place. Ensure that your first day outfit is stain and wrinkle free but most importantly, wear something that makes you feel like your best self to set off on the right foot.

  • Plan your route wisely

If the route to work is a bit of a commute, this is where Google Maps can be your best friend. Allow plenty of time for traffic and delays if taking public transport- these events are all too common whenever I have somewhere important to be. Aim to get to your workplace about 10 minutes earlier than expected which will allow time for you take a few deep breaths before getting stuck into your day. If possible, practicing your route a few days before can take a big stress away from the actual day and it can be a great chance to see your workplace surroundings.

  • Prior prepping

On placement year, many of us will be doing jobs that we’ve never done before. In my experience, I was going into a whole new sector that I’ve never worked in before, let alone the role! What really helped was asking my manager what the best way to prepare for the role and industry was. Thanks to his help and reading up on some key documents, I felt much more confident walking through the office doors on my first day. My first impression of managers was that they were scary and intimidating but how wrong was I! Remember they are always there for support. 

  • Know the company and its colleagues

You may already know that LinkedIn is a really great tool for finding jobs and for networking, but it is also handy for finding out more about the team and company you’ll be joining. Having that bit of extra knowledge can make you feel more at ease when you actually meet them. It can also remind you about the great things that excited you about the company and made you want to apply in the first place.

A placement year is the most rewarding opportunity to develop new skills whilst learning new ones as well as putting your knowledge from your degree into action. First days are always worrying but going in with a calm and open mind will make this journey a lot easier and get you off to the very best start.

Good luck to those starting their placement year!

Written by Meha Bhindi

Photo by Marc Mueller, Pexels