Your first day in a new job experience situation always feels strange; a company with people you don't know, unfamiliar ways of doing things, everybody looking at you. At least, that's what you think. Nothing could be further from the truth, though.
The following do's & don'ts can help you to make your job experience a success.
- Be open, communicative and flexible. Mentally, as well as in practical matters, such as the length of the job experience period, the hourly schedule, etc.
- Set objectives for your job experience. What do you want to achieve? What do you want to have learned? Would you prefer to accompany someone else doing their job, do some research, or carry out a project?
- Show what you can do and set yourself apart by showing your added value. Be aware of what you can offer the employer company and build on that.
- Always have a pen and paper with you to take notes. Write questions down or write down new information that would be valuable for you to know.
- Always behave in a professional manner. Keep your conversations about work rather than talking a lot about your private life and adventures.
- Show initiative! Ask for more or different work if you are ready for it. Always step up if they are looking for someone to do tasks that you are able to do.
- Schedule regular feedback sessions with your job experience coordinator. That will help you to see what you are doing well and where you could improve yourself. Don't forget: every mistake can be a learning experience!
- As an outsider, you may have fresh ideas and a different way of looking at things. Do you have a good suggestion or a tip to improve something? Be sure to pass it on to your coordinator.
- Thank your co-workers and your coordinator at the end of your job experience and stay in touch afterwards. They are now part of your network and may be valuable to you later.
- If the job experience went well and you could see yourself working in the company, tell your coordinator. Keep an eye on the vacancy adverts of the company and keep in touch.
- Don’t feel too uncertain to speak to people or take action because you are afraid of making a mistake. Ask your coordinator questions and go for it!
- Do not wear inappropriate clothing or accessories. Always dress in a professional manner and in keeping with the company culture.
- Do not be a know-it-all and pretend that you should be running the shop.
- Do not gossip with or about co-workers. Stay neutral with respect to everyone.
- Do not expect to get all the nice assignments right away. It is also important to do the less interesting ones, and you can still learn something from them.
- Do not be afraid to ask questions. By asking questions, you show that you are eager to learn and are interested.
- Don't spend all your time looking at your telephone. It is very tempting to check your phone for messages, but it's better if you mute it and put it out of sight. You can read your messages during your break.
- Do not treat your job experience as a sideline while you are working on your thesis or other school or private activity. Your job experience is a real job. Give 100%!
- Do not expect any financial compensation for your job experience if no arrangements have been made in that regard in advance. Remember: you are gaining practical experience and insights in exchange for your efforts.
- If the job experience is not going well, say something about that to your coordinator or your school before it gets too far gone. Don't let things simmer.
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