Finding A Work Placement
Why work placements are useful (and how they’ll help your career)
Work placements provide graduates with a unique opportunity: the ability to find out more about individual jobs with a practical, hands-on approach. Work placements are ideal for graduates who are unsure about which sector to enter, and who wish to learn more about a particular field.
Work placements will help you make up your mind about the type of job it is that you want to do.
Take on several placements and gain experience of the different job roles available. You’ll be able to talk with people who have performed the roles for years and extract important advice that may help you in the future.
In addition, work placements are great for helping your CV stand out from the crowd. Are your peers spending their summers playing computer games or attending parties? Although these activities are fun, investing your time into voluntary work will bring you one step closer to getting your ‘dream job’. You’ll become more employable by gaining really important skills, plus you’ll meet a host of new people and make valuable contacts. Even if the company cannot afford to keep you on long term, they may be able to provide you with a relevant, glowing reference for another company in the same sector.
Finding the work placement
Finding a work placement is not an arduous task; in fact, it only requires you to conduct a search online and make a few phone calls.
First, use the internet to find the details of placements relevant to your degree subject or chosen sector. You’ll find a lot of general advice, but as you filter through the information you will find specific details about placements relevant to you. Look out for websites that list the availability of new work placements in your sector and call as many companies as possible!
If the Google search does not provide you with the required information, try asking your university careers service, or attempt to contact any relevant organisations directly.
Have you tried looking in newspapers and trade magazines and for your sector? You may not find details about work placements in these publications, but you should be able to find contact details for other relevant companies, giving you more places to contact directly.
Don’t accept anything and everything!
It is wise to experience several different types of jobs in the same sector, but don’t just accept everything you’re offered: you should think about whether it is worth it. You should ask yourself:
- Do I already have a lot experience in that area?
- Should I do something slightly different, but in the same field?
- Do I even need practical experience in this area?
- Will getting a placement in Company X strengthen my CV or dilute it?
- Am I accepting this role because it’s the first one I’ve been offered?
- Will this role be good for my CV, or will it just look out of place?
Finally, do some research about the company, and if you can, talk to others who have worked there in the past. Some placement coordinators will strive to help you make the most of your time at the company. Don’t settle for a company that will use you as a free, extra pair of hands. If you can, look for a placement that will set you objectives and provide you with an appraisal. This will help you develop your skills and give you an opportunity to take feedback on board.