18 January 2024

A Placement Student’s Do’s and Don’ts of the Application Process

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Deadline season is here, and you may feel as though everyone has their placements already lined up but you.

Try not to worry! I was in the exact same boat last year. 

Let me properly introduce myself. I’m Grace, RateMyPlacement’s Marketing Placement Student, and I’m here to provide you with a bit of advice on what you should and shouldn’t be doing to land yourself a role. 

I know, I know. You probably feel swamped right now with all those uni deadlines, group projects and the thought of having to do multiple interviews and even a presentation in order to get a placement. But I can promise you know it’s worth it. 

My advice is to be super organised, get a notebook and plan out your days – even to the hour if you have to! I sat myself down for around two hours a day, to look and apply for placements, so if i can do it so can you!

Still overwhelmed? Here are some more tips on how to manage stress at university

When you’re applying for any placement role, make sure all of your socials are up to date. For some employers this will be a first impression of a candidate – especially when it comes to Linkedin. 

Make sure that all these elements are tweaked:

  • Profile picture 
  • Background photo 
  • Headline 
  • ‘About ‘ section 
  • Featured content 
  • Skills/accomplishments 
  • Endorsements 

Revamping all of these will maximise your employability as employers are looking for driven, career conscious individuals! One thing I wish I came across sooner, was the vast amount of courses Linkedin offers. From copywriting to how to use google analytics, these are all free courses that you can complete and then add on to your profile! 

During our new Career Coaching Course this year, we touched on how to use Linkedin effectively in your job search. You can catch up on all our 10-minute Insight Sessions now for free.

I’ve been there! After a few rejection emails, I kept thinking what’s wrong with me? However it wasn’t me and my skills, it was my application. You’re cutting yourself short if you only ever send very generic CV’s and Cover letters. 

After switching up my strategy, I was the one turning down interviews because I had already secured my placement. 

Speaking as someone who has been in your shoes, try doing things a little differently: 

  • Tweak job titles to the one you are applying to on your CV
  • Adapt your cover letter to base it on the company you are applying to – include their missions, values, recent campaigns, include a bit of research about them
  • Or even if you are doing all these things, reach out for feedback, find out where you went wrong! Learn from these mistakes. 

Need more support? We’ve got you! Here’s How to Write a Placement CV.

Don’t think, just because you’ve never had a professional job, that you don’t have the relevant experience and skills for a placement. Because it’s simply not true.

Whether you’ve worked in the local pub, are part of the uni Business Society or done the odd job babysitting, there are definitely skills you can demonstrate. Focus on what you’ve learnt from these – was it organisation, responsibility or communication? Don’t be afraid to shout about it.  

Luckily for you, we wrote a blog on how to improve your employability as a student… we know we are the best.

Once you’ve had a successful application, you’ll usually be invited to an assessment centre pretty quickly. So it pays to be prepared. Here are my top tips:

  • In an assessment centre you’ll be faced with a group task, a presentation, an interview and possibly some in-tray tasks. Research and get clued up on everything you may expect here.
  • Make sure to plan your route into the office, don’t be late but also don’t be uber early!
  • Don’t make the mistake of not planning on what to wear either! Having to get up at 5am to get to the office at 10 was NOT FUN, especially with the stress of having no clue on how to dress. Here’s where research can prove helpful. Look up the company’s socials to see what kind of things the existing employees wear to work.

Trust us, you’re not too late! 

Not all of us can have all of our ducks in a row when it comes to searching for a placement. Take some time to look at all of our current roles that are still open! Disney, PwC and Natwest are just a few of the live jobs waiting for you. 

What are you waiting for? 

Apply Apply Apply 

We feel this 100%. It’s tough. Weeks and weeks of applying all whittled down to a couple of rejection emails – especially if it’s from the roles you really wanted. Please don’t give up!  It’s so important during this time to keep picking yourself up and keep applying, cause in a year, you could be living your best life in your dream placement.  

So why are you still here?