So you’ve just got an email confirming a dream work placement. Congratulations. But wait, what are you going to do when you get there? How should you behave? Where is the office? Would it be okay to use Tinder at the office? What?!
Well firstly, breathe. Secondly, it’s okay, Wannabe Hacks have got your back! Here’s some things to remember not to do on placement:
Showing initiative on placement is crucial. As we all know, journalists are busy people with deadlines to keep so waiting to be told what to do isn’t a good idea. Ask what needs to be done at the start of the day and if you have finished a job, don’t be shy about asking for more work!
If you have an idea, share it with someone. If you’re lucky, it will be used by the office. But even if it isn’t, it shows you are interested in the creative process and happy to help out. Newsrooms and publications are constantly on the hunt for ideas and stories so don’t be afraid to contribute. And if your idea gets knocked down, pitch more ideas. Just because one idea gets knocked down, doesn’t mean all your ideas will be. Be politely persistent with ideas and explain clearly why you think they would work.
Politeness and even the oh-so-cliché act of making tea can still go a long way. Making tea for someone also gives you a chance to get to know your colleagues and chance for them to get to know you. But don’t be a try-hard, no one likes one!
It sounds obvious but being disorganised can really mess up your placement and can end up making you look unprofessional. Wake up early and find out exactly where the office is and what transport you are going to use. I would definitely recommend keeping a diary of things of the tasks you are asked to do and the contacts you make. Don’t forget to bring spare pens and paper.
Now I’m not saying you need to rock up dressed like you’re going to a wedding. Sure you might get a few numbers but that’s not what the placement is about! If you are offered shifts, you will essentially be representing the company and no one really wants to be represented by someone who looks like they’ve just rolled out of bed. Make the effort.
A placement is not only a chance to show off your skills, its also a chance to show your personality and how you would fit into the team. Newsrooms often have interns in and out all the time. In fact I know of one publication that had its internship programme booked up nine months in advance! People are far more likely to remember someone who took the time to get to know the office and not someone who sat in the corner on Facebook stalking people.
Just because the placement is finished, doesn’t mean your contact with the company should end there. In fact, after the placement is the best time to thank the editor for the opportunity and maybe even outline a few things you accomplished. This is why keeping a diary of all the things you have did at the placement is a good idea.
By maintaining contact and pitching a few ideas occasionally, it’s a shrewd way of keeping you in consideration for potential jobs. Immediately after the placement is also a good time to ask for a reference which could help with other jobs.
Do you have any other things that aspiring journalists should not do while on work experience? Let us know in the comments or tweet us @wannabehacks.
Featured image courtesy of Christina Michaels for Wannabe Hacks