How to do work experience

Make use of your godparents

Any godparents who failed to remember your birthday can be now prevailed upon to help you find a week or two of work experience. This is the perfect time to use a little Catholic guilt.

Write a good letter

Ask the HR department who you should write to. Mention your schooling, awards, or voluntary work. Explain why you want to work for the company and specify available dates. Check spelling! Send your letter six months before you want the placement, and check in three months if you haven’t heard back.

Plan ahead

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Call them the week before you’re due to arrive to check start times, if you’ll be reimbursed for expenses (you may need to keep receipts), and how long it takes to get there.

Do your homework

Research the company so you’re as well briefed as possible. Most businesses have websites that detail their mission statements, plus useful information such as department-head names and key clients.

Dress the part

It’s very important to have the right look.  If in doubt, dress up for the first day and tone it down later. Even trendy businesses such as PR will appreciate someone who looks like they’ve made an effort to be smart.

Ask questions

Your boss will want to make sure you have an interesting week, but they don’t want to waste time explaining a task only to find you’ve done it wrong because you didn’t ask them to clarify something. No one will think you’re stupid for asking quite the opposite.

Keep to the task

You might hope to shadow a lawyer at a court case in the Old Bailey or pitch for a new client. The reality is that you’ll probably be asked to make tea and alphabetise files. However, these tasks can be vital to some, so do them quickly and well and you might get moved on to bigger things.

Do lunch

Not four-hour lunches with your mates, but with fellow interns or ask someone at the company. It’s your opportunity to find out about the job and show off your personality.

Make a note

Always carry a notebook with you you might be asked to do something that slips from your mind seconds later. It’ll also make you look as if you’re taking the work seriously.

Write a good letter

After the placement, write to thank the company. If you want to work for them further, say so you might get well-paid work in your holidays that’s fantastic for your CV.