An apprenticeship offers the perfect learning environment for any young adult who wants to accelerate his career. Unlike a typical internship or an entry-level job, the expectations during an apprenticeship provide an atmosphere for value creation and fast growth.
Here’s an example of the difference in expectation for apprentices, taken from a guide we wrote for our business partners.
Intern: “I’m here for the summer. I don’t cost the company much. They don’t take me too seriously. If I do the basics and have fun it will be a nice bullet on my resume.”
Entry level employee: “I got the job. I’m in. I’m comfortable in my role. I need to make sure I’m moving up and being given proper attention and support. When is the next raise coming?”
Apprentice: “They’re taking a chance on me. I’ve got a once in a lifetime shot at creating tremendous value and making myself indispensable. They’re willing to train me and give me real responsibility. It’s up to me what I do with it. It can result in a job, or an out the door. Time to show what I can do!”
However, the expectation for growth is not enough. It’s not enough for the business to hire you and lay the foundation for your success at their company. The end result is up to you!
Here are some tips for accelerating your apprenticeship experience:
Ask good questions.
Don’t just be silent. Actively involving yourself in discussions will increase your learning potential and your social capital.
Questions are powerful messengers. They signal your interest in the company. They show you are willing to learn from others. They indicate your growth mindset.
Ask for ideas. Ask for book recommendations. Ask for feedback. Ask about the company philosophy.
Take advantage of resources.
Your environment may be crafted for learning, but unless you are taking charge of your apprenticeship experience, you won’t learn much. You’ll learn by working, but it’s helpful to research on your own as well.
In your free time, learn to know your company’s content front to back. This can only benefit your work experience! If you know the articles posted on the blog, you’ll be able to direct customers to them quickly. Additionally, you’ll have all the information you need about the business at the tip of your tongue when you need to explain or sell your product!
When colleagues give you book recommendations, take them seriously. Read the articles your boss mentions. Attend conferences and webinars your business partner suggests.
Don’t stop at using the resources for your own benefit! Give your coworkers feedback on what you learned and thank them for their suggestions. Write book notes and document them on your blog. Put your findings into action through projects for your business partner.
Don’t be afraid to venture outside your job description.
Do your job first. But the whole point of an apprenticeship is to learn as much as possible through your work. Seize the opportunities around you, even if they aren’t technically in your list of duties as an apprentice.
Check in on the sales department across the hall. Fill in for coworkers that are gone. If a new idea is thrown out, jump on it! Find as many opportunities to create value as possible.
Yes, this includes doing the unenjoyable tasks as well. Be willing to do the work that nobody else wants to tackle. Sweep the floor if it needs to be done. Find gold in the grunt work.
But above all, do your job.
Your main focus should be the work you were hired to do. Do your job.
Questions will become annoying if you aren’t completing your work on time. Your extra study won’t help if you aren’t applying the resources to your work. You won’t be able to branch out into other areas if your own job isn’t getting finished.