My Top 10 tips for Starting a Summer Internship or Industrial Placement

hollyIf you have just started a new job or are waiting to start this summer, then this is the guide for you! After recently joining Computacenter for a year long industrial placement, I wanted to write about my experience. These are my top 10 tips for impressing your new work colleagues and being successful in your first few weeks of work!

1. Smile and say hello.
Put yourself out there – this is something that very few young people typically do, so why not surprise your new employer and show them what a fabulously friendly individual you really are! No doubt they will be impressed with your confidence.

2. Nerves are ok!
It’s perfectly natural to be nervous in your first week of work – a new environment and so many new faces is bound to make you feel  a little anxious, but try to harness that feeling and turn it into something positive! Make yourself a cup of tea to calm yourself down and offer to make a colleague one too – it’s likely that making friends will help to calm your nerves and settle you down.

3. Be engaged – no yawning!
Working a 9-5 job is tiring, especially to those of us who find it hard to wake up for an 11am lecture! However, you will get used to it. Employers totally expect the change from university to full time work to be a big one – however be careful not to be rude. Just because they expect you to be tired does not mean that it is acceptable to yawn. Try really hard not to yawn and if you really have to, try to disguise it by covering your mouth or make your excuses and leave the room. Splashing your face with cold water or drinking a cold drink can help to make you feel more awake and alert.

4. Never underestimate a blazer jacket!
No one ever likes being the person that goes under-dressed to a party and work is no different! My top tip is to take a blazer with you to work; it can instantly smarten up any outfit and if you do feel overdressed you can hang it over the back of your chair. In my opinion, it’s better to be over dressed than under dressed in business. This is especially true if you are working in a head office of an organisation or anywhere where there are clients visiting. Take time in your first week to see what other people in your department wear and follow their lead but obviously don’t disregard the dress code set by your employer.

5. Be prepared.
Definitely swat up and do some research on the organisation and the department you’ll be in before starting. It’ll make your life so much easier in terms of learning about what the business does and what your job role may involve. Your new work colleagues will no doubt be impressed with your knowledge of the market, of recent projects that the business and their competitors have undertaken. This takes me nicely onto my next tip…

6. Ask questions – lots of questions!
If you’ve done your research, you’ll know what you don’t know before you start work. There really is no shame in asking about something that you are unsure about, in fact employers usually love when you ask for clarification because it shows that you are engaged and eager to learn!

7. Network network network!
Take full advantage of meeting lots of people in your first couple of weeks as you never know who you may need in the future, whether it be during your internship / placement or in your future career. Many organisations are extremely proud to welcome undergraduates into their teams and it is likely you will meet some senior managers early on in your time there. Try not to let your nerves take over – they are just normal people after all, who will want to see you succeed! Again, try to asked informative, engaging questions and send a follow up e-mail to thank them for their time. LinkedIn is great for this, so definitely try and connect if you think it is appropriate. You can always ask your line manager for their opinion on this if you are unsure. On the topic of LinkedIn…

8. Use social media to your advantage
Your employers will absolutely love it if you engage with their social media outlets whilst you are working for them. Whether this be tweeting about your excitement to start your job or maybe tagging them in a photo of the amazing lunch you had in the canteen, employers are always looking for ways to engage and attract young, future talent to the organisation – your input will only help this! Undoubtedly, be aware that what you post or tag your employer in will reflect on not just yourself but also on the organisation, so make sure anything you do is appropriate and in line with the company’s social media policy.

9. ALWAYS have a notebook handy
I cannot stress enough how useful a notebook has been in my first couple of weeks of work – whether this be to write down names of people you have met or be it a seating plan of those in the office, a notebook is essential if you are to succeed. No one can remember everything, so why not give your brain a break and jot down some useful points. Trust me, your first couple of weeks will be ‘information overload’ and your future self will be extremely thankful to present you for everything that you have written down! Finally and of course most of all…

As the saying goes, time flies when you’re having fun and it is likely that your time working will fly by too, so make the most of it! We all perform our best when we are relaxed and enjoying ourselves so try and be composed and feel at ease at work. If you do find that you are anxious or are naturally a stressed person, try and have some relaxation techniques that work for you so that you can calm yourself down in times of unease – I always find that a few deeps breathes and some chocolate do the trick nicely!

Thank you for taking the time to read my top 10 tips – I hope you find them useful in your future job opportunities – you can also see them on my linkedin page. Best of luck!

Holly via HenleyCareers