Gone are the days of no alarms, no one to respond to and no clue what day of the week it is. You’re stepping into a professional environment now and the real world is calling.
I was in this position a year ago and believe me, adapting to working life was a lot harder than I thought it would be. To help ease your transition I’ve compiled some advice for future placement students and recent graduates:
1. Spelling. Always check your spelling, re-read everything you write and brush up on your grammar rules. You’ll look like you lied about your grades if you write “there” instead of “their”.
2. “Me, myself and I”. None of it’s about you; it’s about the company. Take an interest in how the company makes money and what’s important to the people running the company. Learn who they compete with and how, and understand the strategy and objectives.
3. Attitude. It’s more important than you think. It’s a skill that you’ll learn on the job, and the more time you spend with people in the workplace (especially your superiors), the more you’ll realise that a bad attitude will only hold you back. Smile a lot, even if you’re having a bad day.
4. Grow up. You should be open to criticism; when someone corrects you, thank them. Don’t be defensive and don’t make excuses. You have a lot to learn, so soak it up!
5. Aim high. Dress nicely and look well-groomed. You can never be too formal with your appearance. Looking the part makes people believe you can do it.
Believe me when I tell you that getting these basic fundamentals right is essential for success in a new working environment. Good luck to all those people who are about to start their work placement years!