10 tips to make your work placement work for you

Making the most of a work placement can mean all the difference when finding a graduate job. Here's how.

As a designer, your first experience of studio life is likely to be in the form of a work placement. While the experience should be useful in itself, there's a lot you can do to ensure that you get the full benefit. Follow our tips to ensure that you're getting everything you can out of your placement.

01. Show your commitment

Be on time, be early, stay late, say yes to everything and no to nothing (within reason). Show your eagerness to learn and experiment.

02. Be nice

There's never any reason to be arrogant, no matter how talented (you think) you are. Being friendly and likable is as important as your skill level, and a must for graduate entrants.

03. Show your passion

Extracurricular interests fuel creativity in unexpected ways. Take the time to tell whoever's looking after your placement a little bit about your outside interests.

04. Don't be shy

Have a point of view, be outspoken in meetings, and justify your input and involvement. No one wants a wallflower in the creative space – you need to have confidence in your ideas. And show it.

05. Don't be precious

Great creative work needs to be tested, criticised and challenged many times. So be ready to stand up for your work if you believe in it.

06. Communicate

You've got to have a voice and speak up. Part of being a creative involves explaining and talking through your work.

07. Ask for a job

Unless you make it absolutely clear that you'd love a full-time position, you might not be offered one.

08. Ask for credit

If there's anything you've contributed towards, no matter how small, ask for a credit and if it's okay to use in your folio. Make people think you value the work you're doing.

09. Leave a calling card

Whether it's a business card, portfolio link or copy of your carefully honed resumé, ensure there's something people can remember you by after you leave.

10. Follow up and keep in touch

Send a thank you card to whoever looked after you. Say you enjoyed your experience and would love the opportunity to work with them one day. Ask them to get in touch should anything come available and check in every few months.

Words: Tom Dennis Illustration: Luke Brookes

This article originally appeared in Computer Arts issue 229.