Global Placement Stories | How to Start a Placement Successfully

Katinka Singh is a student in Informatics at King’s College London. In this entry of Global Placement Stories, Katinka Singh gives advice on how to start a placement successfully!

Starting a new job at any stage of your career can be a daunting experience – but maybe more so when it’s your first. The first thing to keep in mind, is that every single person you’ll meet in the workplace has gone through exactly what you’re going through, so there’s never a need to feel alone or shy about the process!

There’s two things I’d really recommend to help yourself settle in but also put out a great first impression; networking and being proactive. Working on yourself is always a work of progress and having time to reflect is key to mastering these skills.

Networking when you’re new to a workplace is always much easier than networking when you’ve settled in. This is because it’s more effortless as you’ll be getting to know a bunch of people anyway. Whenever you bump into someone new it’s less awkward to schedule in a catch-up on first talk than to let it marinate 6 months. Getting to know people, their job role and experiences might not seem fruitful when you don’t really know what’s useful yet BUT more often than not these contacts will be used some point down the line – and if not, then you’ve got some insights on the broader spectrum regardless!

Being proactive is definitely a great way to put out first impressions on the team. Make it a task to skim-over starter documentation provided but also taking an extra into reading around to any indirect links. Having that knowledge is going to get you familiar with the firm and allow you to make suggestions with more context. Don’t hold back in questioning the “norms” within the team because sometimes you’ll have outdated structures which have been kept around for ease over effectiveness.

Again, remember you’re definitely not the first person to feel intimidated by settling in and definitely not the last either! Good luck and savour the experience!