Student Placement : 5 Top Tips to Survive Your First Week

Student Placement : 5 Top Tips to Survive Your First Week

Liron Oren

Written By Liron Oren

All messages of support I received prior to my first day on my marketing assistant placement at Jigsaw Business Group. It is an unfamiliar feeling working within an office environment. Having become accustomed to the processes of studying for a BA (Hons) degree in Business with Marketing Management at Northumbria University and the tasks involved in my part-time job in the retail industry.

Jigsaw have always made it known to me that the priority of this 12-month placement is to maximise my qualities and skillset. Understandably, I was nervous on my commute to our office, unaware of the responsibilities I would be tasked with throughout the placement year. However, I was eager to find out; and so, entered the office with the positive mentality that this year would benefit me greatly.

That being said, I am thankful for the advice I received from my peers throughout my initial days at Jigsaw and wish to pass this on, so here are 5 top tips to surviving your first week at your new placement.

During the first few days in a new position; it is easy to feel overwhelmed with information. Inductions, health and safety meetings, lots of new colleagues with names to remember. A common feeling is pressure to catch up to speed with the rest of your colleagues immediately, especially if you are replacing a team member. This will take time however, and therefore; it is important to remain focused on your tasks and avoid procrastination. Procrastination breeds information overload. Feeling like you have an unsurmountable amount of information to comprehend can be off-putting when starting in a role, however; taking a deep breath and evaluating the essential information that you need to know immediately to begin undertaking your basic responsibilities will ensure you make it through the first days of your placement.

Despite feeling like your brain is overloaded with information, it is still necessary that you ask questions when assimilating to your new role. Your colleagues will likely expect this from you as the new team member in the workplace.

When undertaking a project during your initial days of a placement, asking questions, seeking clarification and ultimately understanding what is expected of you from the brief is critical. Failure to do so may mean that you may not complete the task to the standard expected. Fully understanding a project brief will save yourself and the business ample time and resources. Be sure to note down all information you receive from co-workers in detail, as to avoid asking your new colleagues the same question twice.

Assess what you aim to achieve within the role during your first week, it is likely that you will attempt to juggle all your new responsibilities to acclimatise. Set aside time to address which tasks are required to be completed within the immediate future and prioritise these, projects with longer deadlines can be undertaken later.

It is also a good idea to tackle longer, more difficult tasks at the start of the working day, when your productivity peaks, with alertness peaking at 10am. It may be tempting to complete smaller tasks and ease yourself into the working day, however, this is a bad habit to partake in. Research shows that blood pressure and the body’s ability to clot blood are higher during the early morning, meaning tasks that require analytical skills such as reading and writing complicated texts, problem solving, and planning should be conducted during this period (CBS News).

These are the people you will spend a large portion of your day working with, and so it is a good idea to build good relationships with them. This can be achieved by acting as a sponge and soaking up the office culture; attending social events that you are invited to during your first few days. Feeling integrated within the business quickly should allow you to feel at ease within the unfamiliar surroundings and therefore will boost your productivity within the role (TopResume).

Approach with a positive mindset

“If you spot an opportunity early on and are really excited by it, throw yourself into it with everything you have got” – Richard Branson (LinkedIn)

Having the outlook that you are in this placement because you were the candidate that is the best fit for the role allows a confidence that is essential for your first few days of employment. This was the first step in ensuring that I took full advantage of my first week at Jigsaw, as applying this attitude to all encounters during my first few days allowed me to integrate myself within the workplace quickly, understanding the responsibilities I would undertake and learning how to carry them out.

This was already an easy task as the staff of Jigsaw and Ecusol have been extremely welcoming towards me, making sure that I am equipped with all the information and tools necessary to assimilate to my new surroundings and responsibilities. However, a positive attitude certainly makes the transition easier.

Identifying a candidate for a role that will best fit into your organisation is difficult. If you are an employer seeking to recruit, Jigsaw People offer exemplary services that allows the perfect candidate to be found, providing the perfect fit for your company. Contact us to find out more.

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