Undertaking a placement is a big decision for some, and an obvious choice for others.
It offers you the chance to gain valuable experience spending time working for an employer and carrying out duties or tasks as any other employee of the company would. Arguably the information gained and skills learned whilst on a placement can be as important as anything you will have learned in education and it is a fantastic opportunity to put that theory into practice. Good quality placements usually offer set objectives for you to achieve and provide an appraisal or other feedback at the end.
The benefits of a placement are endless, with more and more people finishing university with a 2.1 or above, a placement is a great way to get a head start in our competitive job market.
The practical experience in the industry you wish to work in can be invaluable; regardless of how much you think you have learned about your chosen career from your studies you will acquire even further skills from a placement. You will also grow an awareness of current developments in the sector; a placement will allow you to question and learn from people who work in your chosen career. They will be able to give you a good, personal insight into what the job entails and what has been developing in the industry.
The experience of teamwork and development of interpersonal skills you learn on a placement is far greater than that in a classroom; your ability to work in a team and with your colleagues around you is essential in every type of job and a placement will allow you to gain experience of this first hand which will make you a more rounded and attractive candidate for any employer.
Did I mention as well that more placement students go onto achieve higher grades and better degrees? The additional skills and knowledge gained during a placement can often be directly relevant to your studies which applied correctly can lead to better grades.
And finally, there’s the chance of a firm offer of employment; performing well on a placement can often lead to a firm job offer at the end of it. Employers place great emphasis upon the value of skills. Any work experience will add to your skills profile, supplementing those developed during your degree and through extracurricular activities.
If we were to advise on how to look and apply for a placement; we would suggest you start to look as soon as possible. A number of large employers begin their advertising as early as late September so it’s good to get your applications in as soon as you can – this way your profile is at the top of the pile!
Make use of your careers service as well, to give you guidance on how to prepare your CV. It’s important to try to attend company presentations and careers fairs, as this will enable you to find out more about the organisations and the roles they have to offer.
Most importantly, don’t give up. Being resilient can pay off and use the process as a learning tool as it will give you real life experience of the recruitment and selection processes!