When we choose a business to host our professional placement, we usually pick somewhere that we would love to work in the future. If you are nearing the end of your degree and will be looking for employment soon, one of the first places you may consider is the location of your most recent placement. Let’s look at some handy tips to help you turn your professional placement into a potential future employment opportunity.
- Remember the little things
There are many ideal employee traits that we just don’t learn at uni: manners, respect and attentiveness are invaluable qualities that all employers highly regard. When you’re on your placement, make an effort to be polite and well-mannered, remember that the business is accommodating your presence in order to facilitate your learning, so demonstrate your appreciation accordingly. Respect the protocols and practices that the business has put in place by both learning how they operate and working within these parameters. Learn the layout of the building, the roles and functions of staff members, and address colleagues by name – it shows that you are committed to the position if you take the time to learn about them and their contribution to the business.
- Demonstrate initiative
This is your opportunity to demonstrate to staff members and potential employers that you have the skills, education and experience to fill a professional role in their business. There will be plenty of practical elements that you will not know, or may not immediately understand – take these moments as opportunities to show that you are eager to learn. You may also have the chance during your placement to use your initiative when completing a task, drawing upon your studies and your sense of logic, going above and beyond a set task will show that you have transferrable skills and can add value to the business.
- Immerse yourself in the training
A professional placement is not only an opportunity to enhance your learning, it can also be considered as free on-the-job training. Take advantage of the situation by immersing yourself as if there is paid work waiting for you at the end. Take notes, and don’t be afraid to ask questions, as it demonstrates enthusiasm and a desire to learn. Do a little of your own research and reading at home – look into the industry standards and practices, and learn more about the recent developments in the industry to inform your understanding of how the business operates, and potential areas for improvement.
- Say it with food
Go above and beyond the requirements of your placement, and demonstrate your appreciation for the opportunity by bringing along some tasty treats to share. Baked goods are always a hit, so take your signature cake or slice on your first day to break the ice. If you’re not much of a whizz in the kitchen, put together a delicious savoury platter to share in the staff room for morning tea.
With a little preparation, plenty of enthusiasm and hard work, you can make yourself invaluable during your professional placement. While there may not be the funding available to hire you immediately, maintain strong communication channels with the employer after your placement – and remember to keep your ear to the ground for available positions in the future!