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Tips for Placement or Internship Success
Making the Most of Your Placement or Internship
Placement is an opportunity to learn and gain new skills. You should set goals and milestones in order to assess your progress and achievements. Discuss these goals with your supervisor and discuss areas of improvement, and learning outcomes. You are encouraged to approach your supervisor if you have particular interests or want to learn more about a role or function. This is an opportunity to test a potential career option and the more you expose yourself to, the better assessment you can make.
Keep an inventory of everything you learn and undertake, this way you will have new skills and qualifications to add to your resume and discuss in future interviews. Some courses will require you to review your placement experience. If you write notes on your goals and achievements you will be in a good position to write a strong review/assessment.
Orientation Checklist for Students
Some employers provide formal orientation sessions for their new students, while others have a less formal system. By the end of your first day, or after your orientation session, you should know most of the following:
- Your supervisor’s name, title, phone number, and email address
- Start and end times
- Lunch and break policies
- Who to contact if you will be late or absent
- Which equipment you may use
- Any codes or username/passwords you will need in order to perform your role or access equipment
- Eating areas (Are you allowed to eat and drink at your desk or in a public space?)
- The organization’s office address, mailing address, phone number
- Reference materials, libraries, manuals which you are allowed to use
- Employee access to the facility (times, keys, etc.)
- Parking facility for your car (if driving)
- Phone policies
- How to request assistance and from whom
- How to access supplies
- Confidentiality policies
Punctuality & Attendance
Students are expected to treat their placement and internship as a regular job. You should be aware of schedules and your supervisor’s attendance expectations. Report any absences to your direct supervisor. Makeup days should be scheduled to ensure all required hours are completed before semester deadlines.
For program specific deadlines, check the student information for your program in the field placement section of GHworks.
Before reporting for your first day of employment, be aware of the dress code of the organization. Students must follow the same expectations of regular staff.
Accountability & Conduct
- Be productive and meet deadlines.
- Collaborate rather than compete.
- Be encouraging and helpful to others, always offering to go the extra mile.
- Be flexible, versatile, and able to adapt to change.
- Make good decisions and ask for advice if unsure.
- Be attentive and confident in yourself, but ask your supervisor to clarify instructions if you are unsure of how to follow through on an assignment.
- Demonstrate enthusiasm.
- Above all, utilize this as a learning experience. Take notes, listen actively, and show a willingness to learn and eagerness to excel.
You are expected to conduct yourself according to the Humber/University of Guelph-Humber Code of Student Conduct.
You are expected to share relevant information about your placement and internship experience in a classroom setting. You should maintain confidentiality at all times and be sensitive with private organizational information. You may sign a confidentiality agreement as a condition of your placement.
Be very aware of how you communicate with others in a professional setting. Avoid every inclination to use short forms or lingo in professional communication forms; such as emails and letters. Always address the person in writing with Hello or Dear, and always sign an email or letter with Best Regards, Sincerely, or Thank you. When communicating in person, remember that you are speaking to a professional, and you should conduct yourself accordingly.
Always maintain professionalism. If you cannot resolve the conflict on your own, follow these guidelines:
- Speak to your supervisor in a professional and calm way.
- Have a clear sense of the problem and present a possible solution.
- If you are uncomfortable approaching your supervisor, speak to someone you are comfortable with whom can address the issue appropriately. This may be the instructor/faculty member for the placement or internship course, or your Career & Placement Coordinator.
Expectations at the End of Placement & Internship
Students are expected to meet with their supervisor as the term comes to an end. You are to provide your supervisor with required documentation (i.e. Record of Hours, Evaluation, etc.). Advise your supervisor of all the relevant information including, but not limited to:
- The number of hours you have completed.
- The date you require the forms back (it is suggested you collect the forms at least 2 business days prior to the due date).
Submit the required documentation to your employer well in advance of your exit meeting. Your supervisor should review their evaluation with you and provide you with the documents.
Be sure to thank your supervisor for the opportunity and consider asking for a letter of reference or permission to use their contact information. If you think you would be a candidate for opportunities within the organization, be sure to express your interest and ask to be informed should any opportunities arise. Above all else, be sure to leave on a positive note.