How do I make the most of my physics work experience?

  • Helena Kudiabor
  • Apr 12 2023

If you’ve managed to secure physics work experience, congratulations! Applications can be very competitive, so well done for making it this far. Whether you’ve got a shadowing opportunity lined up, or a placement year, here’s what you can do to make the most of the experience.


Remember the basics

Firstly, it’s important to remember some simple etiquette. Try to avoid being late to things. If something happens that delays you, let your employer know as soon as possible. While your employer will be understanding at the start, chronic lateness suggests that you’re disorganised and disinterested in your work. Organisation is also generally important, so write down deadlines and important meetings, and make sure you manage your time effectively

Furthermore, make sure you wear something appropriate for the office. It’s best to wear something formal for the first day, and then adapt to what your co-workers wear. Note that this applies even if your work experience is conducted remotely: and don’t forget to wear appropriate trousers! 


Although it can be nerve racking meeting new people, be sure to greet everyone warmly and introduce yourself. If you meet someone who you particularly admire, why not ask if you can have a coffee to discuss their career journey? They’ll offer valuable insights into the industry, explain how they got to their current position and will answer any questions you may have.

Get stuck in

Proactively involving yourself in your work experience is a great way to make yourself stand out. Be sure to ask insightful questions (not those that can be answered by a simple Google search), and this will show you’re genuinely interested in what you’re doing. Furthermore, when networking, ask people what their current projects are, and say that you’re interested in getting involved and learning more. Thus, if they need an extra pair of hands, you’ll be on their mind.

Discussions and larger meetings are also a great way to show you’re proactive: don’t be afraid to speak up if you have a comment or suggestion. Even if the company don’t follow idea, the guts it takes to speak up will be greatly appreciated.

Reflect on your work experience

During your work experience, it’s a good idea to make notes on things you’re doing and skills you’re learning, so you can reflect on what you learnt afterwards. It’s also smart to reflect on what went well and what didn’t. Even if you didn’t enjoy the experience, you’re still one step closer to finding your dream career!