What is a placement?
A placement is essentially a period of work experience, usually undertaken by students while studying for their degree. They vary in length and could be for as short as a week to year-long "sandwich" placements which are an integral part of some courses. You will also see the term "internship", which can be used to describe a placement but is also used for a period of work experience undertaken after graduation. Both placements and internships should ideally be paid, but you will also see unpaid placements and internships advertised.
Finding your own placement
Applying for advertised placements is not the only way to gain work experience. As well as looking on UniHub for the latest placement vacancies, it's also possible to find your own placement using a more proactive approach - this will require research, perseverance, and a plan!
The University advertises placement vacancies on UniHub, why should I find my own?
If you are on a sandwich course, your placement team will be able to tell you about placement vacancies they are advertising. However, finding your own placement is also an option; perhaps you have a very particular role in mind, or you know of an organisation you are interested in, or you may be looking for a placement in a very specific geographical location. If you do find your own sandwich year placement, you will need to check with your placement team that it is going to be suitable.
Who could I approach for a placement?
Think about the type of industry and organisation you would like to work in and the type of role. You can use Prospects to find information about different job roles.
You can find organisations to contact by using:
LinkedIn - use keywords in the search box to find specific types of organisation, and narrow down by location
Online directories such as Yell, Thompsonlocal, Kompass
Graduate careers websites such as Prospects and TARGETjobs can help you identify organisations, professional bodies and Skills Councils, which often have useful employer directories
Be selective - it is better to approach a number of carefully chosen companies, showing that you have researched them, than sending off the same CV and cover letter to 50 companies. Don't just go for big-name companies you have already heard of - small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have lots of opportunities and could offer a very varied experience, so be open-minded.
Who else could help?
If you know anyone who works in the industry you want to enter, ask to have a chat with them about their job and their company, and seek their advice. Do they have any connections you could approach? LinkedIn can help you find out who the people you know are connected with - you may already have some useful "second connections".
Thursday, April 4, 2019 - 12:53