Growth & Jobs | Professional deportment for students during summer employment
AS THE summer holiday approaches, many secondary and tertiary students anticipate securing employment opportunities, whether it is an internship, temporary job, or volunteer position. Summer employment often provides students with an invaluable opportunity to gain practical experience and develop skills for their future careers and earn an income.
Shemmar Rowe, a resident of Spanish Town, who is pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in applied science with a major in forensic chemistry at the University of Technology, commenced internship on June 1. Prior to this opportunity, he worked in the book rental department at a high school in St Catherine last summer and more recently, in April to May of this year, as part of a programme by the HEART/NSTA Trust. He emphasised his intention to apply the work ethics he developed from his prior work engagements during his internship.
“I learnt the importance of being organised in carrying out responsibilities, being more efficient, and being on time,” he said.
Tiffany Lee Beckmann, manager for talent, performance and culture, The Jamaica National Group, stressed the significance of students maintaining professionalism in the workplace and urged them to assess their digital presence before starting their summer employment opportunities.
“In today’s digital age, it’s important for students to understand the impact of their online presence. Posting or sharing inappropriate content that is offensive or controversial is not only inconsistent with a professional image, but can negatively affect employment prospects,” she advised.
Lee Beckmann pointed out that summer employment opportunities are often limited. However, students who prioritise professionalism are more likely to get rehired, whether for another summer programme or permanently.
She shared the following guidelines to assist students on how to present themselves professionally during summer employment:
1. DRESS APPROPRIATELY
The dress code varies among workplaces and may either be business formal, business casual or casual. Adhere to the dress code of your workplace. Not only will doing so make you fit into the work environment but it demonstrates respect for your workplace. Additionally, pay attention to grooming and personal hygiene.
2. BE PUNCTUAL
Being on time for work is an indication that you respect others’ time. On the other hand, arriving late can result in delays in customer service delivery. Factor in the extra time you would spend on the road due to congestion, so that undue delays will not cause you to arrive late. Additionally, make sure to turn up on time to meetings and staff engagements, and complete assigned tasks within the expected time.
3. MAINTAIN A POSITIVE ATTITUDE
Having a positive attitude and demonstrating willingness to adjust can create a favourable impression among colleagues. Show interest and enthusiasm in the performance of duties assigned, and be willing to take on challenging tasks which can further expand your learning experience on the job.
4. COMMUNICATE EFFECTIVELY
Speak clearly using appropriate language and tone, and listen attentively. Communicating effectively also entails non-verbal cues, such as maintaining eye contact, using appropriate facial expression and body language.Never be shy to ask for clarification if you do not understand an instruction or how to do a task.
5. BE OPEN TO CONSTRUCTIVE FEEDBACK
Summer employment provides a valuable learning opportunity for students; therefore, seek feedback from supervisors and colleagues on areas you can improve on. Be receptive to constructive feedback and apply the suggested changes. Demonstrating a willingness to learn shows your commitment to personal and professional development.
6. SHOW INITIATIVE
Employers appreciate individuals who show initiative, are proactive in their work, and take ownership of their responsibilities and own up to mistakes. Going above and beyond what is expected and doing your work well will set you apart.
Lee Beckmann also suggested that students take the opportunity to network and build relationships with supervisors and colleagues on the job.
“They can do this by attending social events, actively engaging in discussions, and showing interest in others’ work. Building a strong professional network can open doors to future opportunities and help them navigate their career path with greater confidence,” said Lee Beckmann.