My Experience Searching for a Placement Role
Hi! My name is Lu Wei and I am currently in my second year of the BSc Accounting with Industrial/Professional Experience programme. I have been offered a 2023/24 placement role and would like to share my experience searching for one. Please read on if you are interested and I hope you find it useful!
Freshers – What can you do?
Some of you might already be in a course programme with a placement year, while some of you are still undecided. Regardless of that, I would highly encourage 1st year students to apply for spring weeks (also called insight days). It would give you the opportunity to gain an insight into the life at a company and have a feel on whether the job is your cup of tea. You can also include the experience in your CV as it shows the employers your initiative and enthusiasm. Some companies may fast track your application or even offer you a placement role after attending their spring weeks.
(Note: I personally did not get on one as I missed the deadlines, but a peer of mine received her placement offer because of the spring week she went to!)
There are plenty of other activities you can do outside of academic scope that help develop workplace skills, such as societies, sports, and volunteering. By taking on those activities without overloading yourself, you are already showing your ability to manage time well.
Many of the placement opportunities for big companies start becoming available in autumn, around September and October. You can spend time during your summer break to make a list of the firms and their respective roles you are interested in and read about them. My advice would be to create a document for each company and update them on a weekly basis.
After submitting your applications, you are likely to be asked to complete online assessments. The University Career Service provides access to free practice assessments on Graduate First website when you register with your university email address. There are also a lot more resources available online so do put them into good use. Remember, practice makes perfect!
Assessment centres and interviews come after online assessments – case studies and group exercises are common tasks at this stage. There is no control over who you will be in a group with, but you can make the best out of it through your engagement and contribution to the discussions. Listen, share your ideas, and encourage others to speak too. Interviews are like your solo shows, dress appropriately for a positive first impression and it is time to put all your hard work into one piece. Make sure you can answer the 3 Why’s: why this company, why this role, and why should we choose you. Although the interviewers may assess you through behavioural/strength-based questions instead of the third ‘Why’, you can easily adapt your answers accordingly.
Alongside your applications, you should never forget about your study. Be aware that your course programme may require certain academic requirements to be met for you to stay on the placement year programme. Don’t let your grades drag your chance to go on a placement down and here I would like to wish you all the best with your application journey.
Written by current BSc Accounting with Industrial/Professional Experience student, Lu Wei