This week, HR student Hristina talks about how she landed her placement at the University of Leeds Careers Centre. She gives a bit of insight into the Leeds Internship Programme as well as application tips and advice.
I’m currently the Data Analysis and Social Media Intern here at the Careers Centre – after I finish my placement I will return to my final year of studying BA Human Resource Management. My placement is a part of the Leeds Internship Programme and I’m involved in analyzing data and producing various monthly/weekly reports, working on the Careers Centre’s social media presence, as well as lots of other ad-hock activities and projects.
My job search experience:
I had decided in my first year that I was definitely going to apply for a placement, so I signed up for the Business School’s From Study to Work module (alternatively, you can take the Career Development CSER2201 discovery module). This encouraged me to start planning my job search strategy as I got lots of useful insights into the application process from the workshop sessions with employers. This had given me an idea of which companies I was interested in applying for, and when, and I managed to start working on my CV early on. I got my CV checked at the Careers Centre more than a couple of times, which I would definitely recommend doing, especially if you’re having trouble at the CV stage of the application process.
As it happens, I had lots of deadlines approaching, and since I wasn’t great at managing my time, I didn’t actually start applying until early December. Looking back on this, I would have started way earlier, which would have given me the chance to improve on the quality of my applications and interview skills. I had a few unsuccessful interviews, and felt rather discouraged about applications. That being said, fear not if you’ve been unsuccessful so far or you can’t seem to find anything that interests you – some excellent job opportunities don’t open until the second semester.
That was the case with the Leeds Internship Programme – my internship role was advertised in the second semester and I got it in early June. This year’s Leeds Internship Programme campus positions have just opened, so make sure you keep an eye out for upcoming positions.
What’s been good:
Staying in Leeds and working on campus is perhaps one of the best parts about my internship. I was dreading having to relocate and making living arrangements in my final year. But since I’m working on campus, living arrangements were really easy to make and I have the luxury of being a 15-minute walk away from work.
The university is a fantastic place to work, the environment is really inclusive and I felt accepted right from the beginning. My job is really varied as well, from producing reports, to organising focus groups and doing social media/managing this blog – this has been particularly rewarding as it’s required me to adapt and develop lots of new skills. I got the chance to participate in the ‘In Leeds’ day as well which helped me develop my presentation skills and network with some of the biggest graduate employers in Leeds. Overall, doing a placement’s been an invaluable experience, and an opportunity I’m happy I decided to take.
My advice is to focus your efforts on researching your options well. I hadn’t thought much about staying in Leeds before I applied for this internship, and it turned out to be a great decision. After you’ve done your research, make sure to target your CV and covering letter to the position/s you’re applying for – the Careers Centre can help you there. For me, the hardest part of the application process were interviews/assessment centres, and I imagine this would be the case for a lot of people. Make the best use of the resources available to you – book a mock interview (something I should have done but wasn’t aware of at the time), attend a networking session or an employer event. These are all things that will help you be more confident speaking to people in a more formal environment.
Most importantly, don’t get discouraged if you’re still looking for a placement – build your resilience and always be on the lookout for new opportunities that might interest you.