Getting the most from your placement year
Having finished my placement year over a month ago, I knew I wanted to share some of the ways that I made the most out of my year. I think these could help anybody undertaking a placement year or internship to get the most of it. Some of the tips are likely to be more obvious than others, but I think if you do these things you will get so much out of your placement year. You should be able to make yourself a more employable, especially for when you graduate.
Say yes to everything
Yes, yes, yes. This is a big one and the perfect way to get the most out of your placement year. There are endless possibilities in the world of work and the best way to find out which bits you prefer is to try them. There may even be something that sounds completely awful, but when you try it you may even enjoy it. The only way you can find this out is to try it. Plus, the more opportunities you say yes to, the more you are offered as it is obvious you are open to trying new things.
Find new opportunities
Perhaps you will not be offered opportunities during your internship or placement year, but it is always worth trying to find new opportunities. I was sure to share throughout every stage that I was happy to try anything. If there is something specific you want to try during the year, just ask. The worst that will happen is they will say no. Perhaps, even find someone who works in the department or area that you want to try and see if they have any opportunities for you. This is the year to try as much as possible and gain an much experience as you can.
One of the best and only ways to learn is to ask. The world is full of acronyms and you are never going to know them all. No question is stupid, no matter what looks you get, so don’t be afraid to ask. I sat through a whole meeting not knowing the acronym and when I asked everything became so much clearer. From then on I simply asked.
Provide your opinion and suggestions
A lot of the people I spoke to about placement said they were worried to share their opinions during discussions because “they were only an intern”. I would say go for it. It is likely your team would be interested in your suggestions, as you have a different perspective on life. A fresh pair of eyes can bring a lot to a team. The worst that can happen is they will disagree and not implement it, but other than that you have nothing to lose.
Step out of your comfort zone
There is no better time to take a risk and try something new than during placement year. If you step out of your comfort zone here, then you will be so much more likely to gain a whole host of experience. Try something you never thought you could, perhaps presenting to a group of people, trying to learn a new skill or simply perfecting one that is key to your role. You will learn so much and I definitely learned that when I push myself I get the best results.
Talk to everyone
You have a whole group of people who have been in industry for varying lengths of time and have a multitude of different experiences. You can learn so much from them. The easiest way to do it is simply to talk to them. Even if it is about their role within the business. Just talk to people and you can learn.
Make the most of it
My placement year went so quickly and I have soon found myself back at university studying towards your final year. Using the few things I have mentioned can definitely help to get more from the internship. After all, you are going to be much more employable after the year so allow yourself to gain the confidence you need to apply to graduate jobs.
Please share any further tips you have in the comments below, I would love to hear them! Good luck with your placement years and make the most of every second.