Some of you may want a placement but may struggle on where to start and what you are looking for. I have a few tips to share with you that previous students have passed on during their placement search.
- Start Early – A lot of companies start posting their placement opportunities during October-November and have January/February application deadlines and this can be a busy time for students as it is exam period. My advice would be to start applying as soon as the term starts as this is when you are most likely to have the most time to sit down and complete applications. Also some placement schemes are very popular among students because of the size of the company and the brand name. They are likely to get dozen of applicants each year so there is the possibility they may close earlier than advertised if they reach a certain amount of applicants. Therefore to avoid disappointment I would stay prepared, a useful way to not miss any is by keeping a calendar of closing dates for applications.
- Be Flexible – It is important to know what you want from your placement however don’t narrow your search to a specific popular company or just one role. As there is a lot of competition and you could be limiting yourself to just applying there. My advice would be to research several companies regardless of their size and to a number of roles in your field. The key is to develop your skills in a professional setting and it may not be exactly what you want to do after university however the experience you gain will be invaluable.
- Ask Lecturers – Many of the academics have worked in the industry before therefore they have built key relationships with companies and know how valuable experience can be. If you’re enjoying a module, you could ask the lecturer if they know of any placements available in their field. It’s always worth a try and the most you have to lose is 15 minutes writing an email.
- Tailor your application – Most applications for placements, require for you to submit both a CV and cover letter. Your CV should highlight the key modules and work experience you have that is relevant to the job you are applying for so that they can see clearly your transferable skills. You should take time when writing your cover letter as this is where you can expand on why you should be selected as a candidate for the job. It’s important to be specific on what you can offer to the company and the passion you have to work for them.
- Get it proof read – Get a friend, your mum or your partner to read through your application to make sure you haven’t made any mistakes in your grammar. You can also ask The Placement Team at University if you need any extra help answering a specific question. But don’t underestimate how long it will take to write a good application and to get someone to look through it, doing it the night before is really not going to work in your favour.
Hopefully this advice will be useful to anyone trying to get a placement next year. Good luck!
ADH Placements Team