Happy New Year! I hope you’ve all had a great start to 2017 and I hope all your assessments went well too.
Now, I am currently on my placement and would like to share my experiences so far. In this blog I will share my experiences on applying for placements – believe me I made a lot of applications!
Now, I had a quite a hard time finding a placement and even though I started searching and applying as soon as I entered second year, I did not receive any offers until May/June (the end of second year). So first thing – don’t get stressed and it’s never too late to apply.
There are many companies that offer placements and internships, yet still it doesn’t seem like enough and competition is tough. My advice would be to use your contacts, if you know people in an industry ask them. Also email/ask smaller companies; they may not advertise for placements or have a fancy webpage, but they may still have something available for you – if you don’t ask you don’t get!
When filling in application forms, I would suggest making a copy of the application not only for your own reference to refer back to if you get an interview, but also most companies ask very similar questions, so it’ll save you time filling in the many application forms, if you have your previous answers saved somewhere.
Moving on to interviews, there are many types of interviews – phone interviews, Skype interviews, video interviews, one to one and panel interviews. It is important to prepare for an interview even if its over the phone. Take a notepad to make notes and it’s also good to have a few sensible questions ready to show your interest in the position or company. I know we all get nervous during interviews but the way I think of it, is that an interview is not only the employers chance to know us but our chance to know the employer. We also need to make sure the placement will suit us. So think of it as a formal conversation (not a test), be friendly and smile. If you don’t understand something they’ve asked you, just kindly ask them to explain. Some places require you to attend an assessment centre, this sounds scary, I know. But it’s not as bad as it seems. There’s plenty of practice online, so make use of that. Furthermore, in team assessments you’ll find a loud person and a really quiet. To stand out you have to be a good listener and you need to contribute evenly. So don’t be afraid to give your opinions. Oh, and show you’re listening – use eye contact, nod you head, show them you are interacting! Same thing goes for when you talk- look at everyone, acknowledge your team. Finally, when it’s over, thank them for their time and tell them that you’ll look forward to hearing from them.
Another tip – if you don’t hear from them for an interview or even after an interview, be sure to chase them up, don’t go over the top, but chasing them shows you’re really interested.
Placement searching can be overwhelming but don’t stress about it. Make your applications good, and save them, then you’ll fill them in quicker. Organise yourself and keep a list of all the applications you’ve made and note next to them the stage of application you are at, whether that’s an interview or a chase up. Make plenty of applications! Keep applying until you receive and offer! And you will! Just don’t give up! For example, I got an offer in May for a placement but it was only 3 months long, I accepted and completed it, but I had another 6 months of placement to find. After many applications and searching I finally got offered a 6 month placement in December just gone. So don’t give up. Keep motivated. Get organised. Concentrate on your uni work and make time for applications.
The next blog will be about my experiences on placement, so watch this space!
Good luck! 🙂