How to Smash your Placement!
30 March 2020 University
PLACEMENT? SMASH IT
Uh Oh, placement season is approaching rapidly. It can seem daunting to go and work within a business for the first time, especially if you have no experience or connections there. It’s important to remember that although it is part of your degree, it may also come into use in the future! Here’s a few tips to get you off on the right foot…
Secure your place early
The deadline for securing your place is usually in March, so if you still haven’t sorted it out you’re cutting it a bit fine. Once you’ve found somewhere appropriate, get all your forms filled in and sent off as soon as possible to speed up the process a bit; the people dealing with it are likely to be very busy to give them as much time as you can by getting it in early. The uni also provides a list of pre-approved business’s who are looking for people to do their placement with them so it’s a great place to start. I did my WBL placement at Hillyer McKeown Solicitors in Chester which I arranged via the university which was really easy!
It’s likely that once you’ve been in contact with the company, they will invite you in for a chat to get to know more about you. This could be formal or more relaxed depending on the type of business you’re going into. As mine was at a law firm I was expecting to be absolutely grilled, however they were lovely and seemed to genuinely care about finding out about me and my experiences. They will have already seen your CV but it’s a good idea to be familiar with what’s on there in case they do ask about it, but make sure you’re also appropriately dressed, fresh and confident! Ask about all the details you’ll need to know, such as start and end times, breaks and lunch, dress code etc.
The nerves will probably be kicking in the night before, but as long as you’re prepared you have nothing to worry about. Make sure you know how to get there and how long it’ll take so that you’re not late, and get a good night sleep the night before so you’re not yawning all day! Try to be well dressed and remember that confidence is absolutely key; they won’t be expecting you to know the ins and outs of the business but a bit of background knowledge about what they do won’t hurt.
During your Time There
Always been kind and polite to everyone you come across, as you never know what influence people have and how they can help you in the future. I had a casual conversation with someone in the print room and didnt think anything of it until i found out he was the managing director! Be helpful and attentive, and put a real effort into doing well at any tasks you’re given to do; a little bit of effort can go a long way! Be on time and don’t take the mick on your breaks either, and don’t underestimate the power of making someone a cup of tea!
At the End of your Placement
Hopefully you will have been keeping a log of all the things you’ve been doing as you’ll need this to write your assignment! Another key part is the evaluation from your supervisor who you will have been working with over the 6 weeks, and hopefully given a good impression! Book in a slot with then so they can go through everything with you and give you your feedback; your written feedback will be included in your assignment and looked at when marking, however verbal feedback can be great help for you to help you improve and develop your skills. If you can, take some contact details for the people you’ve been working with and stay in touch, you never know when you might need them!
Now go and get that 1st!!