If you are thinking of undertaking placement year, but aren’t sure where to start, here are some top tips from a student who successfully navigated the journey from placement seeker to placement success!
Thanks to Charlotte, a current final year student of Business and Enterprise Management, for her insights which will help you to ‘stand out from the crowd’.
It can be very daunting entering into the professional world and the highly competitive job market. Here are a few ‘top tips’ to hopefully put you at ease.
BEAT THE RUSH
I began looking at placements in mid-October, many large organisations close their applications in December. It’s nice to get the process underway before deadlines and the January exam period starts looming. I found that making a list of the employers and roles I was interested in and ordering them by closing date was a good way to keep organised with my applications. Additionally, by starting early there are often more opportunities to choose from to find the right placement for you.
Research business areas and employers of interest to you and look out for employer presentations at the Careers centre – some companies may surprise you with what they have to offer. There is also heaps of information online – lots of organisations have careers websites which offer information about all their schemes but also be sure to read around the company.This wider research will be especially important in the latter stages of the application process.
QUALITY OVER QUANTITY
It is very easy to fall into the trap of just applying everywhere but you run the risk of spreading yourself too thin. Reading the role specification will give you a clear idea of which skills in particular are essential. Remember to read up on each company and take time to tailor each application to the role’s requirements. If you can, interact with employees at careers fairs or employer events and find out what it’s really like to work for the company or day to day activities associated with the role.
HERE TO HELP
It is a great idea to ask someone else to read your cover letter and CV. Often you can easily read over your own mistakes. An outside opinion will also be more critical of your application and can see if your personality shines through. You can book 1-1s through SHIP or the careers centre.
STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD
It is all well and good providing multiple examples of the skills and knowledge you have gained at university however, to make yourself more three dimensional, try to include a variety of scenarios. By this I mean expanding on the skills that you may have picked up through part-time work, hobbies, societies or sports teams. This will give a fuller picture of your personality.
So, what are you waiting for?