It’s early February and you have a few months left before the summer and you need to get yourself a work placement. You know that its essential that you land a placement so as to give yourself the best possible chance of securing a job once you graduate.
There was a recent placement fair in the University, and you applied to several companies but haven’t heard anything back yet. So, you might need to start getting in touch with other organisations to see if they have anything available.
So where do you start?
Well it can be tempting to write a lovely worded generic letter and spend hours on the perfect CV and send out as many letters as possible and hope that someone will get back. But if you think about it everyone is probably doing this.
So, these few steps may help;
- Best approach is firstly identify what type of experience you would like to get from your placement year. Then research what organisations can give you this experience
- You must remember this is a project, so planning is the key, identify a small number of target organisations and then find out who are the key decision makers likely to hire you.
- Research LinkedIn and other social media platforms and connect with these decision makers
- Once you have gathered all the relevant information then make your approach
You’ve got the job
The Summer has arrived, your exams are over, you’ve took a few weeks off and you are about to start your new placement. But, unfortunately, the work doesn’t stop there. How the next year goes can have a massive impact on your future career, so how can you get the most from it. Not only will this year determine whether you want to pursue this career it will also help you gain valuable experience and meet people and industry contacts that could help you or influence how your career is shaped in the future.
Do’s & Don’ts
- Do “get stuck in” and remember that you are in a junior role within the organisation so you may get asked to do things you might not necessarily want to do.
- Do ask plenty of questions, this is how you learn, and they’ll forgive you because they know you are here to learn.
- Do make friends with the past pupils or graduates, they will have a wealth of advice and help for you as they have gone before you.
- Do push yourself out of your comfort zone, this is your chance to develop new skills. For some this might be your first job, so you need to develop your people skills, your resilience and your confidence.
- Do keep a record or a diary as this will help you remember what you did when it comes to writing your CV once you graduate.
- Develop you network, make yourself known to key people, make an impression, remember that saying “its not what you know it’s who you know”.
- Don’t chicken out of getting involved with social events or other areas where you can get involved in the company social life, such as charity work or sports teams.
- Don’t treat this like a gap year, it’s not, someone is paying you to turn up for work on time. They are relying on you to work a full week so no sneaky days off
- Don’t get caught up in office politics, remember how you conduct yourself
Leave a lasting impression
Its common place now that organisations use placement years to identify talent, more and more top performers are offered permanent jobs once they graduate by these organisations. So, this is your chance to impress. You will have built relationships with colleagues, managers and directors over the year and its important to maintain these relationships for the future because relationships matter.
Simple things such as a thank you email to the people you worked with can leave a lasting impression and they will remember you.
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