4 Ways To Make The Most Of Short Term Work Placements

Beginning the job hunt can be extremely scary. Getting yourself a work placement or two and gaining some valuable work experience is a great way to ease yourself into the big wide world.

You may be lucky and gain two or three months somewhere; on the other hand, you may only manage a week. No matter how long the placement is, there are some important things to note so that you can get as much out of it as possible. After all, you are the individual that it’ll benefit the most.

Below are our tips on how to make the most of short-term work placements.


Make a good first impression

You’ve got to remember that on any placement you’re probably being scrutinised from the minute you enter until the second you leave. You may not realise this, but having an intern is a great way to see someone’s potential – far greater than grilling them inside an interview room for half an hour, having met them for the first time.

They’ll notice how you dress, how punctual you are, how you hold yourself at the desk, how friendly and approachable you look throughout the day – everything. After all, they’re looking to see how well you fit the team and whether you could be suited to a role.

It’s crucial to set a good first impression instantly and maintain it throughout your time there. Even on your first day when nerves are taking their toll, try to keep in mind that your every move will be noticed. Although it could become tiring and feel as though you’re acting at times, it’ll play to your advantage by the end of your placement.


Ask lots of questions

As daunting as it could seem in the busy environment of an office space or wherever it is you’re working, try to approach as many people and ask as many questions as possible. Every employee will have their own story as to how they got there and will be able to offer different but equally valuable advice for you to take on board. Arrive with your empty notebook and the intention to fill it by the end; you never know how useful these notes could be.

Actively seeking advice will not only provide you with a greater insight into the industry but also show your watchers that you have a level of enthusiasm and confidence to be able to spark such conversations in a pressured atmosphere. It will also put you in good stead for the interview room, where similar intellectual conversations will be had; your gained knowledge and assertiveness will help you stand out.


Be enthusiastic

Entering your placement with a ready attitude will help give your employers a good first impression. If you’re willing to help people, then they will be willing to help you. Offer to make teas and coffees, ask if you can help with any small tasks and do it with a smile on your face.

You may be assigned the nitty-gritty stuff at first. However, after a while they will trust you with bigger responsibilities. Be a go-getter!


Be yourself

It’s crucial to be exactly who you are at work – a professional version, sure, but still you. No act can be maintained forever, after all.

Act according to formal customs when needed, but equally be friendly and approachable. Be down to earth, talk about last night’s new BBC1 series or tell them that story from your morning commute. Whichever way you get to know your new colleagues, see them as people not position; it will pay off.

No matter how long a placement you manage to get, it’s a great way to get to know any industry. Be proud of the opportunities you’ve made for yourself and make the most of every minute. Stay in touch with the contacts you make, and that summer internship may well become your dream job!


Harriet Mills is an English Literature and Creative Writing graduate based at her hometown near Cambridge. She is an aspiring writer interested in features and travel writing. She is keen to pursue copywriting as a career. For more of her story check out her personal website.

Inspiring Interns is a recruitment agency specialising in all the internships and graduate jobs London has to offer.