Article

So You Completed Some Work Experience: What Next?

Posted:
05 July 2022
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You did it!

You conquered your workplace fears, stepped up, and probably made a couple of mistakes, but we bet you took it all in your stride and have reached the end of your work placement feeling more confident and ready to take on your next challenge!

There are exciting times ahead, and we’re sure you’ll want to use this momentum to set yourself up for future success.

It’s easy to think DONE as soon as your placement ends, but if you want to maximise on what you’ve achieved here, there are a few steps you should follow.

We’ve mapped these out for you below – take a look and see if you can tick these off each time you complete a work placement or job-ready activity:

STEP ONE: Say Thanks.

It sounds obvious when someone says it, but it’s an easy step to miss!

Your host employer will have set aside time and resources to help you have a great experience, and you have likely benefitted from the dedicated time some of the staff have given you to show you the ropes and answer any questions.

Offering an authentic thank you at the end of your placement leaves your employer with a good impression of you and young people as a group. This helps them feel confident offering the same opportunity to others in the future and offering you a reference when you might need one.

Which leads nicely to our next step.

STEP TWO: Ask for any feedback (and a reference).

It’s a good idea to get some time with your employer to discuss any feedback they might have for you – this can help you identify any areas you need to focus on in the future, but it can also highlight areas you’ve to improved in already.

Sometimes feedback goes straight to your placement coordinator, but don’t hesitate to show some initiative. If you’ve gotten on well with everyone and feel confident about asking for and receiving feedback face to face, this is a vital part of being in the workplace that will pay off to get some experience in if you can.

It’s also an excellent chance to ask your employer if they’d be happy for you to use them as a reference contact in the future or if they can provide you with a written reference.

STEP THREE: Take a moment to reflect.

Whether you loved your placement, hated it, or just had a bit of a meh experience – it’s essential to self-reflect on your experience.

We recommend keeping a placement journal to note your day-to-day activities, key learnings and how these link to your skills – but don’t panic if you end up doing this all at the end. Make notes about what you learnt on the placement and the skills you developed and practised.

You may also find it useful to audit your skills using a skills assessment. A good one to use here is a SWOT Analysis. Check out our full blog on how to do this right here!

STEP FOUR: More of the same or something different?

Another critical aspect of reflecting on your experience is determining whether you want to find more opportunities in similar roles and industries or want to try something new.

If you loved your experience, you might want to do a similar opportunity in a different company so you can start comparing and learning more about the role of culture fit alongside practical work experience.

If you didn’t enjoy the experience, your reflection could offer insights into why this was and what you want to avoid in the future. It’s important not to let a negative experience put you off gaining further experience or placements – not every placement you do will be a good fit – and that’s okay!

STEP FIVE: Get some extra input.

This might be from teachers and careers advisors about how to maximise the experience and where might be an excellent next step or fit for a future placement.

It might be speaking with friends who’ve also had placements to compare notes and experiences. If you had a work experience that felt ‘just okay’, hearing from friends who really enjoyed their placements can help you pinpoint what was missing in your experience and how you might find this in your next opportunity.

STEP SIX: Update your resume.

Making notes of your activities and skills will also help you with this step!

Add your role, the employer and dates, and note it was a work experience placement. Focus on what you learned and use 3-5 bullet points to detail this alongside how what you did links to your skills.

Updating your resume as you go, rather than when you need to send it for something, ensures it stays fresh while everything is still clear in your mind – ready to head out to new opportunities.

Where to From Here?

We’re all for forging ahead and grabbing any opportunity to explore your career ideas and start to see how you might want to shape these further!

It’s one of the reasons we work with some of the biggest employers in Australia to help bring the opportunities directly to you.

If you’ve completed some work experience and are raring to see what your next opportunity might look like, head over to our Employer pages and start exploring today.

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