Danielle did her year-long placement with the Careers and Employability Team at De Montfort University and shares some lessons she has learnt with future placement students below:
This is one of the best ways to learn about your role and also about the organisation. If there is something which you are curious about, just ask. Maybe you have been told to do something but you’re nor sure why, or maybe you’re curious about why certain process are done they way they are. If you ask, you will get the answers you’re looking for and your manager/supervisor may think that you are extremely interested in the job, so it’s a win-win.
Whilst you are on your placement, it is important for you to improve. A perfect way for you to do this is by asking for feedback. This will not only ensure that you are doing the work correctly, but it will also ensure that the next time you do a task, your work will be better.
Participate in extra projects
Volunteering to take part in other projects is a great way to meet and work with different people who work within the same organisation but in different teams/departments. It will give you the opportunity to find out more about what is going on within the organisation and it is also the perfect opportunity for you to network. Networking is so important and has come in useful for so many people. The people who you work with may be able to help you in the future, so it will be very beneficial for you to take every opportunity to meet new people and keep in touch with them.
If your work starts to pile up, just take a breath, plan and prioritise your workload. After making a plan, if the workload is still too much, you should talk to your manager/supervisor about it. Let them know that the workload may be unrealistic within the set time frame, but make it clear that you will try your best to get it all done on time.
Remember when you start your placement – the employer is not expecting you to be perfect. When I started my placement I was worried that I wouldn’t be as good as my predecessor. I mentioned this in conversation to one of my colleagues and she told me to just be myself. This was one of the best tips given to me when I started my placement. It helped me to relax and become more confident with my skills and knowledge. It reminded me that I am not expected to know it all instantly, and that I am here to learn.
I hope you enjoy your placement year! Do everything you can to get the most out of it, and remember the DMU Careers and Employability Team is always here to help!