As students, there’s only so much that we can take in from a packed lecture hall or from weekly seminars. In order to fully engage and be prepared for the inevitable world of work that follows, we’re encouraged to apply for relevant work placements, internships and extra-curricular projects.
Some courses set aside a particular time for industry experience – whether it’s a year, a semester or a few weeks – while others urge students to combine the non-compulsory experience with their studies.
During the third year of my BA Journalism (Multimedia) course, we were given November off-timetable with the aim of gaining work experience related to our course. With a flexible brief, we were required to complete a minimum of five days.
Some students chose to complete a single working week with one organisation, while others used the full month and combined a few. I opted for ten days with two different organisations.
As imagined, I gained lots of journalism-related experience and knowledge during my placements. From interviewing comedian Shappi Khorsandi to learning which content attracts more clicks and shares across social media platforms.
As well as this, I gained some general nuggets of information which I feel will benefit me once I leave university and join the big wide world of work. Here are my tips for making the most of any placement…
Always say yes.
Get involved from the first moment you step into your work placement until your last five minutes. If you’ve been asked to undertake a task that’s usually out of your comfort zone, it’s a great opportunity to develop and grow.
Timekeeping is important.
Admit it, you’ve probably slept through a couple of lectures or turned up late to the odd seminar. Getting far in a career that you really want starts with being on time every day. Get that earlier bus or set off walking a few minutes earlier.
Develop a routine.
That usually means early nights, early mornings and less of the parties. You’ll be counting down until the weekend and putting together daily packed lunches. Don’t worry, you soon get used to it.
Keep in touch.
Note down a phone number or follow colleagues on Twitter. It’s always beneficial to keep in contact with potential future employers. Don’t forget to send a thank you card once the placement comes to an end too.
Part-time retail or bar jobs can definitely help prepare you for the world of work, but there’s nothing like gaining real experience in the career field that you’re hoping to enter once your studies finish. I have since been offered more paid work with Pretty52 – proof that work placements do pay off!