10 July 2023

A Guide To: Thriving on your Placement or Internship

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Starting your placement or internship might be nerve wracking, but it’s also super exciting. It’s a chance to forge your own path, get some first-class work experience and help you understand what you want from a job.

To help you on your way to a budding career our placement student, Anna, has put together some tips and tricks to help you thrive on your placement or internship.

You’ve got this.

Start on the right foot

Obviously you won’t know the ins and outs of the whole role, however there are bits you can do before you start your placement or internship.

In the lead up to your first day, you’ll be sent documents to sign and read through. Read them. They’ll provide you with the key information you’ll need to know about the company and job before you start. It might help to start thinking of ideas you can suggest in meetings.

Day-before prep is also super important. If you’re heading into the office, make sure to:

  • Wear an outfit that fits the office clothing policy
  • Pack all your tech the night before
  • Plan your route so you’re not late.

Find your way

Be proactive. Introduce yourself to people in the office and start conversations. This will help create connections with your colleagues, and could even be the starting point to a new friendship! 

Take every opportunity that comes your way, but also don’t be afraid to create opportunities for yourself. You are in a really good position to shadow anything you may be interested in. 

Understand that it’s okay to push deadlines back and not take new projects on if your workload is too busy. If it gets to this point, speak to your manager –  they’re there to help you prioritise.

Let’s get social

Be open to attending social events at work. Whether it’s after work drinks at the local pub, a sporting club or a summer party, it’s important to get involved with as much as possible.

Another great way of doing this is going into the office as much as possible. You’ll have the opportunity to meet people outside your team.

Why not join the social team and help organise events? It’s a great way to work on something without the added pressure of actual work, plus it looks really good on your CV.

Although a little awkward at first, these can really help you get to know your coworkers, making work life so much easier.

Work on that imposter syndrome

It may likely be your first brush with the working world, so it’s normal to feel a little out of your depth when you start a placement or internship. However, you’re there because the employer knows you can 100% do the job.

When that dreaded imposter syndrome starts to creep in, why not try some of these daily affirmations?

  • I am a strong a capable person
  • I trust myself to make good decisions
  • My accomplishments have brought me here
  • I don’t have to be perfect to be successful
  • It’s okay to make mistakes, they’re something to grow from.

Grow your confidence in meetings

Believe it or not, we’re not all born with the gift of public speaking. The good thing is, there are ways to grow your confidence in meetings. Here are Anna’s top tips for overcoming this hurdle:

Use the hand up feature on virtual meetings. This really helps you to contribute to the meeting without interrupting the flow of conversation. It’s also a great way to encourage everyone else to do the same.

Join meetings a little earlier. You get a little time to chat with your co-workers while everyone joins. This helps you get more comfortable pre-meeting, squashing any nerves you may have.

Ask colleagues questions after meetings. If you have any questions you weren’t able to ask, don’t be afraid to message colleagues. This can be useful for getting involved in future projects you’ve shown active interest in.

Look after your mental health 

The working world can be tough. That’s why it’s so important to look after yourself during your placement or internship. Here are some ways to do it:

  • Give yourself things to do outside of work. Having hobbies and activities you love give you something to look forward to when you leave the board room. They can reduce stress and lift your mood
  • Working with other placement students or interns? Form a group. Linking up with colleagues in a similar position will be a huge benefit and a great way to make friends
  • Learn when to take a break. Yes, a placement is one year and that makes you want to cram it all in. Slow down, plan a few days off and recharge. When you’re running at a 100000000mph, you’ll find yourself not checking in, causing some serious burnout
  • Don’t be so hard on yourself. Remember, you got the job for a reason. As long as you try your best, are open to feedback and are willing to learn – you’ve got it.

It also helps to know what mental health benefits and systems your workplace has – just in case it does get too much.

Starting a placement this summer? Hear more tips from our team!

We hope this will help you start your placement or internship with a well-deserved bang.

Good luck!