9 TIPS TO SECURE THE PLACEMENT OF YOUR DREAMS
By Hannah Gill
Applying for placements can be a daunting experience, from knowing where to apply, to deciding which placement is the right one for you (after all, you will be spending a whole year there!)
From my own personal experience, I will be sharing with you my 9 tips to securing the placement of your dreams.
APPLYING – CV AND COVER LETTER
Your first impression to any company is crucial, and can be impacted by the smallest of mistakes: incorrect spelling, poor grammar and so on. To make sure you give the right first impression, tailor your CV and cover letter to each company, by pulling out characteristics and skills the company is asking for, and linking them to your experiences. This may seem tedious, but it is definitely worth it in the end! Your CV should include your RELEVANT experience, and not everything you have ever done, but the most important things that fit accordingly to the job role you are applying to.
After your CV and cover letter are accepted, you will then move onto the next stage — depending on the company this will be either a video interview or a telephone interview (or both!). In the video interview, you will be asked a series of questions about the company, how you would react in certain situations, and general competency. My top tip for the video interview is to be prepared, research the company prior to starting it, and take your time to answer each question fully to the best of your ability. It can be an awkward experience recording yourself speaking to a screen, but just remember to relax and you will fly through it!
The telephone interview is slightly different to the video interview — mainly because you will be interacting with a real person! It is all about the company wanting to know you better and understand your personality, so be yourself! Again, prepare as much as you can — research the company so that you are not stuck in an awkward situation where you cannot answer a question. Lastly, do not be afraid to ask any questions! Many companies want you to ask questions, and see it as you having a real interest in working for them.
If you make it to this stage — well done! Assessment centres can be very nerve-wracking; however, they are not as bad as you think. The company wants to see how you would react in certain situations, and really understand if you would fit with their culture, not scare you into not wanting to work for them. There is normally a presentation, a group task, and an interview in most assessment days; however, this can differ depending on the company. A key thing to remember is that you are not just being assessed on how you perform in these tasks, but on the day as a whole (even at lunch!). Companies want to see additional attributes, such as how you listen to someone else’s presentation, your networking skills and how you interact with others, so remember to stay professional and be yourself!
LINKEDIN AND SOCIAL MEDIA
Beware what you post on social media! Many companies will research your name when your CV lands on their desk, so make sure you do not post anything unprofessional, or if you do, change your privacy settings so that only people you allow to can access your media. What you post on social media can be extremely detrimental to an employer’s opinion about you, and could be the difference between being hired and not.
RESEARCH THE COMPANY
Researching the companies you have applied for is key to getting any placement, as it shows them that you have a real interest in working for them. However, do not just find out the standard facts about the company, such as its yearly turnover or number of employees. Find out something that could make you stand out from others for knowing, such as charity work they do, or any projects they have worked on in the past.
DON’T BE AFRAID TO SHOW YOUR ACHIEVEMENTS
Whether it is in your CV, on a telephone interview or at an assessment centre, do not be afraid to mention your hard work and achievements! To many (including myself) it may feel as though you’re boasting, but this is your one chance to show the company your skills and achievements, which could be the difference between securing a placement and not. You want to show the company the best version of yourself, so to do this it is vital to stand out and display your experiences.
One of the most important lessons I learnt from applying to placements was to be yourself. This is important because a company assesses your personality and how you would fit in with the culture. Therefore, if you are not yourself, you may end up working somewhere that does not suit you at all.
DON’T GIVE UP
Last but definitely not least, don’t give up!!! Applying for placements can be a strenuous and long-winded process. Alongside this, passing many stages of the application and then being rejected can knock your spirit, however if you persevere and are diligent, you will be rewarded in the end.