As valuable as the knowledge you get from your studies is, university can also be a time to build your professional experience as well.
Whether you have years of work behind you or you’re coming to your subject fresh, it’s always a good idea to think about going for a placement.
What are they?
Essentially, this is work experience that you can do in your free time or during the term breaks.
You go into an office environment and learn about the way a company works, helping them with some of their tasks and generally getting a feel for the industry.
How to arrange one
Your first stop should be the Careers and Employability service.
They can sit down and explain your options, the kinds of things that would fit your goals and help you with your applications.
Please note though, they cannot offer you placements and you will need to find them yourself.
But they can work with you and help guide you in the direction that would be most helpful to your plans.
If you already have an idea of where you want to do a placement it’s totally fine to email their HR department and ask about any schemes they’ve got.
Some bigger companies have very organised programmes that will require application forms and interviews.
Others might just ask to meet you to see if you’re serious about the position.
Whatever the case, make sure you have the terms of the placement sent to you in writing.
You’ll need to know how long it is and what tasks you could be performing before you agree to do it.
Getting something out of it
It’s a good idea to try and learn as much from your time on a placement as possible. That’s why it’s strongly recommended you write everything down.
Keep a diary of your time with the company and regularly review it as you go through your experience.
This will help you remember details of the placement when you come to talk about it in interviews after graduation.
Why should you do it?
There are loads of reasons to get some work experience while still at the Univeristy.
- You will be able to apply the theory you’re learning in the classroom to a real-world environment.
- The skills you learn will be highly valued by employers in the future.
- It’s an opportunity to find out how the company, and the industry more generally, works.
- You can use it to build your network.
- It will give you a chance to think more clearly about your career goals.
Wherever you decide to apply for your placement, it’s an opportunity to get a huge amount of experience.
Remember to work hard and, most importantly, enjoy it!
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