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Top Tips for Starting Your Placement

By Imogen Lloyd on Fri 26 May 2023 in Placement Blog

Nervous about your first day on the job? In this blog we'll reveal some of our best advice on preparing for your placement year, so you feel ready for the transition from university to the working world.

The weeks leading up to your placement can be both incredibly exciting and extremely nerve-racking. It’s such a big shift from the university lifestyle that you’re used to, and you’ll no doubt have a few questions and concerns prior to your start date. In this situation, preparation is key so I’ve shared with you some of my best tips for starting your placement!

1. Utilise the knowledge of existing placements

During the first few weeks or even months of training, most companies will have you working alongside their current placement students who have a year of experience under their belt. Speaking to like-minded people who have felt the same anxiety that you’re currently experiencing, but have come out the other end, is a great way to put your mind at ease.

This is the perfect opportunity to ask any questions, seek real advice, and learn a bit more about the company and what to expect. Even before starting, consider connecting with placements on social platforms (LinkedIn, Instagram or Facebook) – it might seem daunting, but they’ll be happy to help!

2. Be organised and build good routines

The switch from a university lifestyle to working 9-5 initially feels like a big change but will – in time – become part of your routine. Staying organised can be a brilliant way of bridging this gap and turning those early starts into habit. 

Putting routines in place such as picking your outfits the night before and prepping your lunch will make your weeks run a lot smoother and take away a lot of the last-minute stress from your mornings. 

3. Plan out the first day

Your first day of placement will most likely be the most nerve-racking, but there are a few things you can do beforehand to make the day less daunting.

The Commute

Make sure you know exactly where your office is and the commute you'll be taking. It’s always worth a little practice run, if you can, the weekend before to ensure you know which train or tube you need, how long you need to leave for the drive, and where to park. 

Engage with other placements

The brilliant thing about doing a placement is that there are many others going through the exact same experience as you. Engage with them, get to know them better and maybe even arrange to go in together on the first day.  

Final checks

Finally, double check you have everything in place the night before. Make sure your alarm is set, your laptop is ready in your bag, and your lunch is already made to make it as easy as possible for yourself on the first day. Then you’re ready to go!

4. Keep note of everything

Write down key information during training 

There’s likely to be a great deal of information to take in during training, a lot of which might not be important straight away but may be used later down the line. Start as you mean to go on by making lists of important tasks to complete, how to complete them, as well as any other relevant information like policy guidelines etc. 

Making note of tasks

Right from the beginning of your placement, make notes of any of the tasks you get involved with. You may think you’ll remember everything, but as the placement goes on it’s very easy to forget smaller projects due to the wide variety of tasks you’ll be getting involved with. 

While on placement, most universities also require you to complete some work about your placement. Whether it’s a few learning logs or an essay relating your theories to the working world, you’ll need to make sure you have your projects noted down in detail. Your placement is likely the most valuable work experience you have to date to mention on your CV and during interviews, therefore you want to include all the details.

5. Embrace social opportunities

Finally, the great thing about doing a placement is that there are many others going through the exact same experience as you. Engage with them, get to know them better and maybe even arrange some socials before work begins. Whether this is going for a coffee the weekend before or having a quick chat online, going into your placement on the first day having already met a few other placements will help you feel so much more at ease.

ProspectSoft offers placements a month of training before getting stuck into their roles, so they're fully equipped with the knowledge they need to succeed. Take a look at all the roles we have to offer now.

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