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Hello everybody and happy Monday!

I have recently been offered my summer placement for 2017 and therefore this weeks blog is my guide on getting the right placement for you. Placements are the time for you to break away from your studies, explore the industry you are looking to go into in order to come back to your final year with a clear mindset about what you are going to do when you leave university. As well as network with experts, meet new friends and explore a new area.

TIP: writing your dissertation on the sector of the industry you want to build a career in is a wise choice!

I have had a clear goal of where I want to end up in life since I was in year 9 of school, maybe even before then but for as long as I can remember, it was always Australia. Hence when I went to university and began to think about placements I was adamant that that was where I was going.

I came to the conclusion in my first year of university that I was not going to complete a placement year but instead do one each summer before I graduate to gain the same level of experience and get out and see the world after completing my degree straight through. This was the best decision for me however others may need the placement year to feel comfortable with a company or fully explore different sectors of their chosen industry.

I completed a placement in Marbella as Marketing Executive for Marbella Rocks Magazine from May-August 2016 and I have recently accepted my offer to work for a company in Sydney Australia who work on a number of events from brand incentives, gala dinners, weddings, sport, music events and film premieres. The range that they put on means that I will be able to fully explore a range of events which will benefit my knowledge and expertise when I come back for my final year.

Due to already securing a placement I wanted to help others with their search. Below I have compiled some tips and advice that I believe will help others find the right placement for them in my experience.

  1. Have an idea what you want to do during your placement or the type of company you would like to work for. Be broad and just have a loose idea as finding something very specific may be more difficult to find.
  2. Have a location in mind. Think about whether you will be relocating to them or commuting. Weigh up the pros and cons of both. If you are going abroad start house/apartment hunting as soon as you find a company you want to work for. I use Air B&B when I search for apartments in Sydney which brings me onto the next point.
  3. If you are relocating closer to the company and have secured a placement with them, ask them about accommodation, especially abroad. You do not know the area or anything about the prices out there so will need help doing so and my new managers have both offered to help if I cannot find anything myself. You are going out there to help them, they are more than willing to reciprocate this.
  4. Approach companies with an up to date CV and a TAILORED cover letter to suit the needs and values of that company. This way you already have common values and beliefs to the company which makes you stand out as a candidate. With these documents attached fill in the subject line or your email will most likely be ignored and write a formal paragraph or two about why you want to work for that company, why their work interests you and what you can bring to the table. If you can bring in knowledge about what they already do it clearly demonstrates your passion and enthusiasm.
  5. Apply to as many companies as you can. Not everyone is kind enough to get back to you and you do not have time to sit around waiting for responses. At the same time do not take the first one that comes to you, there may be something better on the horizon so weigh up everything they have to offer and compare it to others. I accepted my second offer as I preferred the range of events they put on, the way the company worked, what I would be doing and my rate of pay. 
  6. Placements and the experience you gain are a huge part of getting you where you want to be when you graduate so you need to make sure everything is right for you. You do not have to do anything you do not want to do so do not settle or stop applying until you have found something that works for you.
  7. Have confidence when it comes to having phone interviews and Skype interviews. I have had Skype interviews with two different companies and they tend to begin very informal and are based on a talk about who you are, what you do, what you have done and why you want to work for them. They will then explain in more detail about their company and what they can offer you in terms of your placement agreement. Before your interview, have a list of questions that you may need to ask regarding anything from what your daily hours will be, what you will be required to do, rate of pay, living in a different country and managing this etc. I asked as much as I possibly could during my interview so that I feel comfortable with what I have accepted to do, excited to learn a number of new skills and confident that this will be a huge step in my career path.

I hope these pointers have been some help to anyone searching for a placement at university or even searching for a job. These tips can be applied to voluntary or paid work in UK or abroad.

Until next time,

J x

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