Big company or small? Local or farther afield? Broad or niche? You may be having trouble deciding where to target your application efforts and unfortunately there’s no crystal ball to say what type of placement would be the perfect fit. But there are a number of things to consider to help steer you towards success.
Grow your skills
It might be tempting to look for a placement doing something in which you feel really confident or have already gained lots of experience. This is great if you are 100% sure this is what you want to do when you graduate. But you might not be so certain or maybe even a little confused about the direction you wish to take or industry you wish to work in. If this is the case, why not use this opportunity to widen your experience or test yourself; to explore something new or develop your skill set in an area where you’re not so accomplished or confident? It will help you to grow and learn, which will ultimately benefit you in the long run.
Remember a placement does not have to be the final destination; it can be a stepping stone.
When searching for the “right” placement be realistic about moving away from home or the commuting distance you are prepared to accept. In the beginning when you’re presented with a very exciting dream placement, an hour and a half commute to work and back every day might not seem too bad. But after time it may start to take its toll on you, physically and even financially if you are driving. Think about how much time you are prepared to commute each day, consider your mode of transport, are there trains that will get you there faster? How much will this cost? Then you can work out the radius for your search. If you are moving away to a new city or even country, ensure you do your research about the culture and customs; think about accommodation and how much financially you’ll need to live. Also, remember to think about your life outside of work too, so you have a work/life balance that suits you.
Don’t forget when thinking about finances that you can still apply for a proportion of the student loan and if you are going outside the UK, especially Europe, there is generous Erasmus funding available too.
Do something you enjoy!
You might wish to pursue a career in Marketing, but what do you enjoy outside of your studies? This might give you some ideas of what industries you might like to pursue. If you have a passion for cars and motorsports for example, maybe look into marketing placements at car manufactures or race teams. It’s the perfect opportunity to explore your future career, whilst working in an industry that interests you. Who says you can’t mix business and pleasure!
Type of placement
There are many different types of placement, with the range being as varied as the companies that offer them. Some involve you getting stuck into a project and having real responsibility where you can make your mark, some are very supported with mentors and a fixed training type experience, where others are broad and offer you the chance to spend time on many projects or in multiple departments, learning as you go. It’s worth thinking about what you want from a placement, how confident you feel and what would suit your future aspirations.
This may seem a lot to think about, but don’t let it put you off – dream big! Just remember the more you prepare and the more questions you ask yourself, the more you will know what placement is suitable for you and it will give you the confidence to take the next steps.