Congratulations, you landed yourself work experience! Give yourself a pat on the back for getting one of the hardest parts out of the way when getting experience in any industry. Here at Makematic, we’ve had the pleasure of working with young people from all walks of life to help introduce them to the world of work. Here are our top 3 tips to help you nail your work experience. Who knows your employer might be so impressed with you, that they’ll offer you a job!

#1 Communicate Effectively

If you want to master anything during your work experience, it is to communicate. Communicate your challenges, struggles, and wins to your manager and peers. Believe it or not, your managers want to know how you’re doing. If you’re not communicating your challenges during your work experience, you will not get the most out of it. Your manager doesn’t see your progress during your experience, and you may end up not learning as much as you’d like to learn. So let them know. There are no silly questions. 

Secondly, communicate effectively and professionally. You will be stepping into the world of work, and in case you weren’t aware, things operate differently. There is an unwritten rule that you should respond to work-related questions within a 12 hour period – unless of course, you are on leave. Failure to do so may appear to your colleagues and manager as unprofessional. You can’t leave work emails on read or ghost them, unfortunately, they’re not your exes. If you’re busy and can’t respond within that time frame, let them know. Pro tip: this works for relationships as well. Though this may be a case-by-case scenario depending on the urgency of the question or task. 

In addition to this, write and answer your emails appropriately. Here are a few things to keep in mind when sending an email to colleagues and your manager:

  • Begin with a greeting, such as “hello ____,” easy right? Acknowledge the reader before diving into your main message or request. If more than one person is in the email, address them collectively: “Hello everyone”
  • Make the main body of your message concise and easy on the eyes. If there are too many clustered words together, consider separating the sentences to a new line, this will make it easier to read. Pro tip: if you can’t condense your email, consider setting up a call to explain further. No one wants to receive a novel via email.
  • Just as you want to start things off on the right foot with your greeting, you also want to part well. That means writing a friendly sign-off. And there are plenty of options to choose from, such as “Kind Regards” “Regards” “All the best” “Best” “Best Wishes”

For a more in-depth guide on how to write a proper email, check out this article from Grammarly, which we highly recommend you installing (not sponsored).

Check out our previous blog on 4 Tips on How to Communicate Effectively Online.

#2 Get To Know People

Or as we like to say “go off and network“. This may be more difficult to do if your work experience is done virtually. Difficult but not impossible. Referring back to the first tip, the easiest way to network is to communicate with people. The harsh reality is that even though you’re the new person on the team, people will not come to you and ask who you are, especially in a virtual environment. You’re going to have to make the first move. 

The easiest way to get to know people and network during your work experience is to simply send them an email, or if you’re really keen send them a Zoom call invite. Introduce yourself and be interested in them; ask what their role is, how long they’ve been at the company, and how they got to where they are now. People love talking about themselves because it’s such an easy topic. 

When you finish your work experience, you’ll have made professional connections that you can reach out to in the future! Connect with them on LinkedIn too. If you don’t have a LinkedIn, we highly suggest you make one.

#3 Prepare to do the most and sometimes the very least

In some cases, the workplace will have tasks for you that can be overwhelming at times. If this is the case, then breathe. Take a walk. Eat ice cream. It’s easy to look at all the things you have to do and do them all as quickly as you can. But we don’t recommend doing this. Why not write everything down on a to-do list? Prioritize your work. Communicate to your manager if you’re struggling to get your tasks completed.

On the other hand, prepare to do the least. There are times when the company is busy and your manager may struggle to organize work for you. In this case, you may be encouraged to shadow a member of the team and learn from observation. Additionally, consider doing some continuing professional development courses. There are so many free courses online that you can choose from. Take LinkedIn Learning, they offer hundreds of courses and events ranging from digital marketing to a course about building a better to-do list. Whatever situation you find yourself in, stay positive and try not to come across as bored or frustrated.

If you’re still looking for work experience, check out this Skillsumo video on How To Gain Valuable Work Experience. Skillsumo gives young people access to relevant and inspirational careers advice.

Why not check out our vlog on “How To Get Work Experience” where we have a Zoom chat with former work experience student Amelia Knopik.