Cat is currently a final year student at University of Leeds, and has recently completed a placement with Rate my Placement. Below she gives advice on how to look for placements.
My name’s Cat, I’m a fourth year (eek!) Geography student and have recently returned to the scary world of referencing, seminars and turnitin after a year of working as a marketing assistant at RateMyPlacement.co.uk.
If you haven’t heard of the website before, essentially, it’s a one stop shop for work experience. They work with around 250 employers to help find students placements, internships, vacation schemes and insights.
Securing my own role, recruiting the following year’s placement students and working for a website dedicated to placements, I’ve managed to pick up a few nuggets of information along the way which I want to share with you on how to make your job hunt as effective as possible!
Do your research
I had a chat with the Careers Centre about what I wanted to do and they were able to point me in the right direction. They also checked over my CV and recommended places to start looking for the ideal role. This was a great starting place, but I also spoke to students who were on placement and found out what it was really like from them.
Only apply for roles you want
After attending one horrendous assessment centre for a company I never really wanted to work for in the first place, I decided panic applying was not the way forward. Working for a company, which wasn’t right for me, would mean I wouldn’t enjoy my year and they wouldn’t be making the best investment. It is important to put time and effort into applications, and you will want to do this if the role is right for you.
Tailor your applications
Similarly to the point above, it’s easy to send out the same application to similar companies, or to create one blanket application to send out to tonnes of companies. This doesn’t work. Last year, when I was recruiting placement students, if I had an application with the wrong company name on, or different competencies to the ones stated on the job description it was immediately rejected. Competition is high for placements so make it easier for yourself by sending really well written applications to companies you have an interest in.
Do something to make you stand out from the crowd
At RateMyPlacement.co.uk, one student secured the role by Tweeting the company Liam Neeson style, another sent a box of Quality Streets to the office with each of their ‘qualities’ written on. Whilst this is not always appropriate, work out what you want recruiters to take away from your application and ensure you will be remembered for the right reasons. Be sure to follow this up too! Connect with recruiters on LinkedIn, Tweet the company and make your application the one they take a second look at.
How would you like to portray yourself
If you were going to pick out your three best qualities, what would they be? Can the recruiter tell this from your application? I asked my friends and family how they would describe me in three words. This helped to explore how other people viewed me and whether this matched what I thought of myself. I felt much more confident heading into interviews with a clearer understanding of my strengths and weaknesses.
I hope this helps! Fingers crossed to all of you on your placement hunt, it can be scary sometimes, but it’s all worth it in the end! You can find out more about RateMyPlacement.co.uk, the roles they offer and further advice here
Look out for Cat’s upcoming blog which will provide useful tips on how to use social media for job hunting