Guest blog: How to fast-track your placement year application

Guest blog written by Jessica Murray, Content Creator at Debut

Thinking about applying for a placement year? Wise decision, my friend. A placement year is a sure fire way to build your network, develop some valuable skills and graduate from university with experience that will make you super employable.

But while that’s all well and good, it’s the application that’s the tricky part, right? There’s no denying that some placement roles can be competitive, but don’t let that put you off.

We’ve got loads of top tips for applying (as well as loads of placement year opportunities up for grabs on our app), so why not make 2018 the year you step outside your comfort zone and bag your dream opportunity?

Work smarter, not harder

The most common mistake students make when it comes to applying for placement years is spending hours submitting applications for roles they’re not even sure they want. Apply for less, only the ones you’re really passionate about, and you’ll be guaranteed a much higher success rate.

Over at Debut, we’ve streamlined the application process on our app, enabling you to apply for roles at companies like O2, Microsoft and L’Oréal at the touch of a button. You could even be Talent Spotted, fast tracking you through the recruitment process for roles you’re suitable for without even having to apply.

Perfect your application

If you cut down the number of roles you apply for, you’ll be able to spend longer on each application. The key to any successful application is the way it’s tailored to the relevant employer. A bland copy and paste job is not going to go down well.

Research the company thoroughly, and keep referring back to the job description at all times. Think about what you can bring to the table, and make sure to emphasise it throughout your CV and cover letter.

Keep track of those deadlines

Applying for a placement year while studying can be overwhelming, but you need to make sure you keep on top of those deadlines. It’s best to get your application in as soon as you’re able to, rather than rushing it the night before.

Create a spreadsheet or table to keep track of all the applications you’ve sent, and make a note of deadlines. Try and complete your applications in enough time so you can get someone else to give them a read over before you submit.

No experience? No problem

Many students panic when applying for placement years, thinking they don’t have any previous experience to back them up. But everyone has to start somewhere, and placement years are designed to give fresh young talent some initial experience in the workplace.

So don’t focus on what you don’t have, focus on what you do! Through your degree and extracurricular activities, you will have developed a whole range of skills that can be put to good use. Think problem solving, meeting deadlines, working as part of a team, giving presentations and written communication – all skills that will impress employers.

Bring the enthusiasm

No employer will be expecting a fully-formed and polished candidate. A placement year is as much about you being given the opportunity to learn and develop your skills, as it is about you contributing something to the company you work for.

All an employer is looking for is someone enthusiastic about the company and its values, keen to learn and willing to rise to a challenge. Show them that, and you’ll be well on the way to securing a dream placement role.

Download the Debut app today for placement year opportunities at companies including EY, Bloomberg, Siemens, Microsoft and L’Oréal.