4 Ways to Maximize Your Practicum Experience
- December 15, 2017
- Posted by: Excel Administration
- Category: General Career Training
One of the valuable advantages of completing a program offered at Excel is the practicum component. We believe that a practicum is an important part of every education, which is why Excel has built a strong network of local industries and employers as a resource for our students. This in-the-field experience not only simulates the work environment, but can also introduce you to prospective employers. Even if the company where you complete your practicum isn’t looking to hire, they can be a valuable reference in your job search. Here are some tips on how you can maximize the value of your practicum experience.
1. Keep a Journal: We often suggest to our students that they keep a journal during their practicum to record the insights they gain about the day-to-day operations that would be useful later. For example, if you notice that your co-workers approach office printer functions with a 10 foot pole, you might note that a proficiency with office equipment would be an obvious asset. Or, you might want to note the way that an employee successfully handled a cranky patient, made a purchasing decision, or solved a difficult problem. What personal attributes are you noticing? These are all situations and experiences you can draw on for a future job, an interview, or resume reference. Make a note of the software that’s used and check to see if the preferred processes make sense to you. This is a great way to identify areas that you’ll want to learn more about.
2. Ask Questions: The purpose of your practicum is to find ways to implement what you have learned in the classroom and apply it to situations in the work place. Don’t be afraid to ask questions that will expand your knowledge, or to offer suggestions for feedback. Take the initiative and if there are particular interests you have, ask if there are any related opportunities.
3. Get Acquainted: Get to know the company and the industry you’re working in. This is great practice for your job search skills as you learn about the company structure, the opportunities available, and its role in the industry as well as any professional affiliations. By understanding the kind of information and skills that benefit the practicum company, you can prepare yourself for writing a more effective resume.
4. Make Connections: Everyone you meet has personal connections, and can potentially offer referrals or introductions. If you don’t already have a LinkedIn account, we would strongly recommend this form of networking and inviting the people you meet to join your contact list. Follow up with people they join your network even if it’s just a brief comment. At the end of your course, check back with your practicum employer about the option of future employment or the possibility of a reference.
The work environment is constantly changing as industries and companies evolve. By committing to a mindset of continual learning and knowing how to maximize your opportunities, you’ll be able to find and keep meaningful and rewarding employment.