The Ultimate Guide To Getting A Placement Year
So, you’ve decided that you want to do a placement year. Next step, finding one. The task at hand can be incredibly daunting (there’s literally so many things to consider) and can be very stressful if you have no idea what you’re doing. This handy guide will help you on your way to getting a placement year.
1. Plan, plan, plan
The biggest downside to a placement year is the stress and time that goes into getting one. Like, who has the time for lectures, assignments, and securing a job? Get around it by setting a deadline for each step, i.e. completing your CV and applying, and by deciding how much time a week you want to commit.
2. Decide what role you want to do
Unless you’re some kind of super-student, you probably don’t know exactly what you want to do with your life. No, you don’t have to decide that for your placement year, but make sure you pick a job that is somewhat related to what think you want to do.
3. Think about where you want to live
There are so many options. You could move back home, stay at uni, or try somewhere completely new. But it’s important to consider what you will be able to afford (base it on an average placement salary), where you will feel comfortable, and who you will live with- not all of us want to move in with a bunch of strangers in a London house share.
4. Perfect your profile
Whilst each job will need an adapted application, it’s in your best interest to make a CV and cover letter which can be slightly changed depending on each role. You can find tons of online help or drop into your university careers service for some personal advice. And don’t forget to make a LinkedIn.
5. Find jobs
By far the longest step, but the most important. RateMyPlacement and Indeed Jobs are great websites- they are a goldmine of opportunities. Apply for somewhere between 30-50 roles, tweaking your CV for each one.
*Top Tip: don’t just apply for big-name companies, they have way more applicants.
6. Be prepared for video interviews and lengthy applications
Most companies utilize multiple online steps before inviting you to an interview, so expect to spend a few hours on video applications (these are horrible, but you have to suck it up) and long answer questions.
7. Don’t be disheartened by the lack of replies
You won’t get a reply from three-quarters of your applications. It’s just the way it is, and it doesn’t mean you won’t get one eventually. Lot’s of companies put finding their placement student at the bottom of their to-do list, so don’t let it get you down, and don’t keep staring at the clock.
8. Use your uni
When you get invited to interviews and assessment days, don’t go in blindfolded. Use your university resources to perfect your interview technique and see if you can find any details online about what a companies interviews are like.
9. Apply speculatively
If you’re at a dead end with no replies and no hope, send off applications to smaller companies that haven’t advertised. A crazy amount of placements on offer don’t get uploaded to job boards, and it’s your job to send letters like mad to find them.
10. Keep checking
Not that this needs to be said because you will go a little bit mental waiting, but check your inbox at least twice a day. And check your spam. Your job could be hiding from you. You don’t want to miss out on getting a placement year because you forgot to check your email!
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