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Student Work Placements - 5 Mistakes To Avoid
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Every year there are college and university staff across the country trying to find suitable student work placements for students on their courses, which will provide them with relevant work experience. Many institutions have useful contacts with companies who have a tradition of offering a number of student work placements each year and staff do everything to maintain those relationships.

However, it often seems there aren't enough suitable placements in the companies that students want to work in and competition can be extremely fierce. Therefore, one of the worst things that can happen on student work placements is for the students to behave in such a way that a company is reluctant to hire students from that institution again. Although this may not happen very often there are reports of studnets not taking their placements seriously enough and seeing them as a learning opportunity and a possible lead into future employment.

So if you’re a student being sent on a work placement even if it’s to a company that you wouldn’t have chosen decide that you’re going to enjoy it and get as much out of it as you can. Listed below are five mistakes to avoid making on student work placements.

1. Acting unprofessionally

There are a whole list of things that I could mention here but I know from anecdotal evidence that some of the most common unprofesional things that people have done on student work placements include: regularly turning up late, chatting on a mobile telephone in work hours, surfing the internet or chatting on facebook or failing to turn up. These are such unnecessary mistakes to make. Ensure you turn up on time, switch your phone off, don’t surf the internet unless you’ve been asked to and if there's a good reason why you can’t turn up make sure that you ring in.

2. Showing you’re bored

One of the worst mistakes that you can make on student work placements is to show that you’re bored. Perhaps you haven't been giving the most exciting job to do like photocopying or stuffing envelopes or other jobs that are very dull, but that’s a normal part of working. Tackle any job you’re given with good grace.

3. Being arrogant

Never act as if you’re superior to the people that you’re working with. Always bear in mind that they’ve been doing the job a lot longer than you and will have acquired lots of knowledge which most will be willing to share if approached in the right way.

4. Failing to research

Not bothering to learn even the most basic information about a company will not impress the people you work with. Its always very obvious the students who have done their research and are really interested in a company. You will increase your chances of future work if you show your interest and knowledge.

5. Ignoring learning opportunities

Some students on work placements make the mistake of just seeing their placement as a tick box exercise and something they have to get through. This is a real mistake. Where ever you work view it as a great opportunity to learn. If you have some specific goals for your placement talk to the person allocated to supervise or mentor you. You want to acquire as many new skills and as much knowledge as your can. Take the opportunity to talk to other staff, ask questions, listen to what they say and learn.

Summary Make sure that you avoid making any unnecessary mistakes such as the ones listed above during any student work placements that you undertake. Always maximise your opportunities to acquire knowledge and learn new skills. You may not work at your first choice of company but every placement will offer you work experience that you can add to your CV and in job interviews in the future.


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