The time has come to dust off the alarm clock, dig out those smart shirts you think you brought, and get stuck into some work experience. It’s nowhere near as daunting as it might sound and could actually end up being very useful, and even quite fun, if you do it right. So, Peter Ames from offers a few words of wisdom about how to ace your placement.

Say hello to 7am

This won’t be easy, but a big part of dipping your toe into the real world is setting an alarm and getting up to commute. It’s going to be a shock to the system at first but you’ll get there. And if you’re really struggling here are our favourite two apps to give you a bit of get up and go in the morning:

Sleep Cycle: Analyses your sleep patterns and chooses the best time to wake you
Morning Routine: Which requires you to hunt down and scan an item before it quietens

This does also mean you might have to cut out the occasional midweek night out. Now, the prospect of living like an ‘adult’ may seem awfully tedious but it’s not actually all that bad. Eight hours sleep can feel quite pleasant, nightclubs are actually quite rubbish and Grand Designs arguably represents a much better use of an evening. Why not go the whole hog and be ‘that guy’ who offers to cook dinner for everyone, you’ll soon be popular beyond your wildest dreams.

Commuting can be fun

Last year the Guardian found work experience placements can cost up to £926, much of which might go on commuting. But it’s not all that bad, with a bit of effort you can turn the dreaded commute into a little bit of me-time.

Remember all those books you said you read on your personal statement? You could actually read them. There are podcasts aplenty out there and you could even learn a language. Just don’t try to make any friends on the tube, there are some things that you can’t achieve even on the most productive of commutes.

Get used to office habits

Unfortunate though it may seem, work experience will introduce you to a whole host of new people. It will also introduce you to their, erm, quirks. Recently, at Office Genie, we had a look into the biggest office pet peeves, these are all fairly common so prepare yourselves for (and try your best to avoid):

Poor hygiene, the number one complaint and the easiest to avoid, so make sure you’re acquainted with a bottle of Radox and a can of Sure and you’ll be fine
Smelly food, which was an irritant to over 20% of people; so maybe don’t bring in last night’s pickled herring
Lateness is still not appreciated, even if you’re not getting paid, and rounds of the top three office irritants

Bad though all this sounds, remember the sorts of things that go on in Fresher’s Week? Doesn’t seem that bad now does it?

Embrace it

The real key to work experience, at the risk of sounding like a motivational poster, is to approach it with a great attitude. There’s a very real chance you’re going to have to make more cups of tea than you’ve ever made before – so at least you can perfect that particular art.

You’re also probably going to have a few less-than-stimulating tasks, but do them well and you never know your employers might take notice and allow you spread your wings a little more. What’s more, on that dreaded day when you come to look for a job for real, a little experience and a glowing reference really go a long way.

Article courtesy of Lilli (Office Genie)