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Succeed in the workplace
Succeed in the workplace

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4.1 Making the most of your work experience

Photo of children playing in a flooded street, one child leaping up in the air.
Figure 8 Making the most of opportunities

Once you have found some work experience, how can you ensure that you make the most of it? After all, it is a big commitment on both sides and you want to be sure that you can reap the benefits. The following points can act as a kind of checklist for you.

  • Have clear aims – set goals you can reasonably achieve in that period.
  • Understand your needs – they should fit with the organisation that is offering you work experience.
  • Find support – ask for a named person who is responsible for helping to make your work experience successful.
  • Get feedback – ask whether you have shown aptitude for the work or demonstrated learning of the skills needed.
  • Build your contacts – look for opportunities to make contacts, remembering chats during coffee or lunch breaks can be perfect for this.
  • Review what you have done – what did I learn about the work, the employer or myself from this experience?

This last point is probably the one that gets overlooked, especially if you are particularly busy, but it is perhaps the most important to spend some time on. Asking this simple question and making notes can help you when writing job applications, in interviews and with the important task of deciding on your career path.

Hopefully, you now feel you understand the potential value work experience can offer you personally. You may have concluded that it is just what you need and it will form part of your action plan at the end of the course. You may, on the other hand, still be actively searching for alternatives. Voluntary work is one such alternative and is covered in the next part of this week’s study.