“Don’t all English Literature graduates apply to work with gas and electricity?!”
Don’t all English Literature graduates apply to work with gas and electricity?! Slightly daunted by the move to the corporate world – having only had English teaching and sports coaching experience to my name – I sought a company that invested in its people and an established summer placement programme that promised a strong support network. I found both these things in the Centrica Summer Placement Programme and welcomed the way that they prioritised the behaviours I demonstrated over what I studied.
Disembark free British Gas shuttle bus. Once at desk, listen to some calls from our customers. Meet with a Customer Service Advisor or their Team Manager to gather ideas/feedback. Talk about how placement’s going with my senior mentor over a drink in the chill-out area. Have lunch in the canteen with the team. Present your project to the Head of Customer Services and ask them for career advice. Have 1-2-1 with manager before calling it a day.
“Centrica don’t make the mistake of underestimating what summer placement students and graduates can offer”
The level of responsibility I was given combined with my being positioned in an area of the business where there was a lot of room for improvement. Both of these meant there was a great opportunity to add value. Centrica don’t make the mistake of underestimating what summer placement students and graduates can offer. They know we can offer something unique – a completely fresh perspective on the business and a unique kind of energy and enthusiasm.
Don’t underestimate the value of delivering something small. Particularly in a 10 week placement, time can go very quickly and it’s very easy to get caught up in grand talk of all the amazing things you’re going to achieve. Be ambitious and set yourself challenging goals but make sure you ground yourself by thinking ‘what am I going to deliver today/this week/this month’. This way you will be guaranteed to leave your mark on the business, however small.
Be authentic throughout the application process. You can prepare all you like but at the end of the day you will always come across best when you are being yourself because it is at that point that you show your personality. So try not to fake enthusiasm. Research the company and focus on the aspects that genuinely interest you (they’ll be there somewhere!) and talk about those – this will make your application more memorable.