Placements: How they work and where to find them.

So, after what seems like a very long (but very quick) second semester, I have officially finished my second year of university! It’s been a crazy one what with studying abroad, becoming a student ambassador, and completing numerous intensive assignments – but I think it’s safe to say that I had an amazing time.

Now I’m looking forward to the next chapter of my journey – placement.

My course is a slightly special course as we have a mandatory placement year. This means that we have to complete a 32 week period in the industry on a pass/fail basis in order to continue with our degree.

I am lucky enough to have started my placement at The Walt Disney Company in London and to say I’m loving it would be an understatement! But before I get ahead of myself, I just wanted to share a little bit of insight into the placement process for those of you who are still searching for a placement or who are just interested in how it works!

Firstly, I was abroad when I started looking for placements, so I didn’t have much help in the realm of where to find them, what to say, or what to do. But I honestly think that the best place to start is just researching a bunch of different organisations in your field of interest and seeing if any of them offer work experience opportunities on their website! Even if they don’t, there is no harm in sending a polite email asking whether such an opportunity would be available and attaching your CV.

My first word of advice: do NOT be disheartened if places don’t reply to you.

Some companies are extremely busy and just do not get the time to reply, especially in the world of PR. I know it can be demoralising and feel as though nobody likes you enough to reply, but that is rarely the case. And even if it is – who would want to work somewhere like that anyway! Look bigger and better.

The second place I would look is on placement finding sites. On these you can often find established and sponsored placements where they are actively looking for interns. These websites often rank and provide further detail on these placements too, so it’s helpful if you want to know a little bit more about them without asking! Some of the websites I used were: Milkround, Ratemyplacement, and Glassdoor.

My next piece of advice: even if an interview doesn’t go how you want it to, always be polite and take the time to network.

One of the placements I interviewed for, I didn’t get due to schedule clashes, however I thanked the contact at the company for speaking with me and told her I would love to speak with her further in the future and asked to connect on LinkedIn. She was extremely receptive and now I have another contact in the industry. It’s great to make the most of the opportunities you are given as you never know what doors they might open for you in the future! If you make a positive impression in or after the interview, people will remember it.

Finally, you hit the interview stage. With placements, oftentimes there can be many stages of interview. Me and my friends have had everything from video interviews, to assessment days, to traditional in-person interviews. Some of the tips I have from my experience are to be prepared, to be confident, and to not let the nerves get the best of you! I know it’s easier said than done, but if you come into a company knowing everything about it and more and you say it with confidence, that is what’s going to wow interviewers. At the end of the day, your interviewer is just another person, they have already chosen you for the interview stage and they just want to see if you’re a nice person and a good match for the company – they will be your coworker after all.

That’s about all the advice I have for now, but for those of you who are still looking – don’t give up! Placements are an amazing opportunity to network and experience your role in the real world. You just have to find that one that fits right for you. Best of luck to you all of you searchers out there, I hope this post was useful!

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