Alicja is a final year student in Business Management, who completed a placement year with HP in 2020/21. If you are interested in completing a placement between Stage 2 and Stage 3, you can find out more in the Business School UG Stage 2 Community 2021-22 on Canvas, or contact the NUBS Student Experience team.
The below tips are presented in the form of a checklist with a short description of each point. Personally, I found all these to be relevant and very helpful when looking for a placement.*
Part 1: Research
- CV and cover letter – The first step is to make sure your CV is updated and in line with the companies’ expectations. Stop by Newcastle University Careers Service, they offer advice on how to write CVs and cover letters.
- Companies, roles, and salaries– Spend some time looking through available offers and see the role descriptions. It is important to know what interests you and familiarise yourself with the way placements are advertised.
- Requirements and values – Each company has its own values and specific requirements. Make sure you research the company and get to know their most recent projects. Your knowledge will help you show how you can fit into the firm and what you can bring to the team.
- Preparing for common interview questions and tasks – Look in to common interview questions and prepare a few answers for each question. Try to base your answers on both your academic and professional experience.
Part 2: Early Start
- First applications are a form of practice – Starting early gives you the opportunity to practice applying for different placements, which means later when different positions become available you feel comfortable with the application process. It is important to note that some companies close their applications as soon as they fill their positions so having a head start is very important.
- Keeping track of deadlines – Early start also means it gets easier to schedule all your applications and track your deadlines. Putting them into the calendar makes it easier to schedule enough time to focus on your first choices.
- Taking your time with applications for your first-choice companies – Similarly to the above, it is important to take your time when putting together your first-choice applications. Make note of your answers from any tests and make sure you are prepared to explain your application further if necessary.
Part 3: Be ready to face rejection
- Using rejection to your advantage – Rejection is unavoidable, so it is best to use it to your advantage. Understand what you could have done differently and analyse your mistakes. It will be much easier to improve with your next application(s).
- Write notes for each of your applications – Sometimes companies take quite a long time to get back to you. To remember your answers and what you have said in your covering letter it is crucial to take notes so you can easily access them when needed.
- Asking for feedback when possible (even when successful) – It is always worth asking for feedback after an interview or an assessment centre. Hiring managers can point out your strengths and weaknesses and let you know what impression you made.
- Involving your friends – Your friends can help you more than you think. They can proofread your CV and cover letters. You can also do mock interviews with the university’s Careers Service so you feel more comfortable talking about yourself and your experience.
*Please note the above points are from my personal experience and that each person is different and might find different tips helpful.