Closer's guide to work experience
Friday 31 August 2012
Closer’s 12 point guide to work experience: How to make an impression in 24 hours
• First impressions are everything. Rocking up to work in a tracksuit on the fashion desk is never a good look.
• Smile, make an effort and be positive. A recent Academy of Management Journal and US university study showed that in a group of 177 people on the hunt for jobs, those who remained motivated and positive increased their chances of landing a job.
• Good old-fashioned manners count. Be punctual, polite and considerate.
• Be willing to do pretty much anything and everything asked (within reason!) Making tea may not be glamorous but taking note of how everyone drinks their brew shows an attention to detail and will be noted.
• Don’t make assumptions – if you’re not sure what you’re being asked to do, don’t be afraid to ask questions, write lists and tick off your tasks as you complete them.
• Use your initiative and don’t be afraid to share your ideas – you might even end up with your name in print!
• Be friendly and chatty but pick your moments to speak to the editor. Never interrupt a conversation, quietly wait or come back later. It’s crucial to recognise when people are busy and/or on deadline and it’s not a good time to talk.
• Become a sponge for information. Observe everything and ask how staff members got into journalism. They may have some good advice for you or can pass on some invaluable contacts.
• If you run out of jobs, ask for more! There’s no point wasting your work experience looking at Facebook.
• Save the moaning for when you leave the office. While of course we care about our interns’ well-being, we don’t want to hear about how hungover or bored you are.
• Journalism is a small world so show or at least feign interest. You never know who you might meet on work experience or who will be (or know) your future employer.
• When your stint is over make sure you leave your contact details and stay in touch. If you’ve done a good job, there may be opportunities to go back for paid work. Personal recommendations are worth more than gold!