If you’re contemplating getting some work experience, you might’ve read that most of your time will be spent observing. Understandably, you might be a bit confused about the skills you could be taking away.
Well, not all work experience will be watching and learning (and even it is, at least your observational and note taking skills will be top notch by the end of it). In reality, you’ll probably be leaving your placement with new or improved technical skills that are specific to each job or industry.
Is that all?
Definitely not. There’s way more to work experience.
Just applying for a position and turning up will guarantee that you have demonstrable talents to add to your resume.
Don’t believe us? Here are just a few examples of skills you’ll need at work and that you could develop when you sign up:
You won’t be expected to problem solve at work experience, but finding solutions to how you’ll get there each day, arrive on time, and organise your day are all examples of this skill.
Arriving on time, knuckling down, and getting tasks done are all a part of building this valuable skill.
Communication and other interpersonal skills
Having to work closely with your supervisor, other employees, and customers means your verbal and non-verbal communication skills will get a workout. In addition to honing your communication talents, you might find that your active listening, clarity, and diplomacy abilities are improved too.
Working well with other people, listening to them, following instructions, engaging, and adding value in the workplace are all demonstrable teamwork skills, highly desired by most employers.
This includes looking the part, taking the job seriously, trying your best, and using appropriate language.
Have you heard the phrase “it’s not what you know but who you know”? Well it’s very true in lots of aspects of life, so learning how to network could open up lots of opportunities for you.
Watching and learning everything from how to write professional emails, the best way to answer the phone, when to step back from a situation, and how to remain professional in all situations are invaluable when you’re looking for paid work.
If you finish a task and your supervisor is busy, wash up the mugs, do some filing, or ask around if there’s another job you can do to help out – just be proactive. Also, let your employer know if you have an idea about trying something new or different that could help get the job done.
Don’t complain, don’t slack off and take advantage of the fact you’re not at school, don’t take excessive breaks, and don’t spend time on your phone. Do try your best, give everything a go, and ask for help if you need it.
Willingness to learn
Be enthusiastic, show you’re ready to listen and learn, try new things, follow instructions, and don’t be a know-it-all.
Computer, technical or practical skills
You probably already have a great understanding of technology, but using it in a workplace environment, and using new programs, software and equipment will only expand your knowledge.
Dealing with the public isn’t always easy, so learning how to handle tricky situations, keep customers happy, or just provide people with the information they need is a great skill to have in any industry.
Confidence and self-esteem
These might not sound like typical workplace skills, but they’re really important as you go through life. They’ll help you reach goals, take opportunities, challenge yourself, and ultimately help you move forward.
To get the most out of work experience…
Ask lots of questions at your placement to maximise the benefits from being there.
Think about the skills you gained from your work experience and make sure you add them to your resume or portfolio.
If you’re looking for more information, we have heaps of other blogs you can read on our website here.