I wanted to make a few blog posts about my year working in industry, and the first post I wanted to make was about my search to find a placement with a few tips to hopefully help others in future when looking for theirs.
1. Start searching early.
I feel this is quite an important point as although I did start searching pretty early on in second year, I think I could have started even earlier. A lot of the big corporate companies like to start the process nearly a year in advance. Even if you do not wish to go to a large company, it is good to start the process early as it means you will have your CV and portfolio ready and up-to-date.
2. Don’t worry about rejections.
Believe me, I had many. It’t not because you are bad at what you do, it is simply because someone may had a slightly different set of skills which is more specific to what they are looking for, or even something minor such as another candidate can speak German which may come in useful at some point. Either way, don’t be disheartened by a rejection because there will always be a different company that you will be more suited for.
3. Try to use any known contacts.
It sounds cliché but it is true; a lot of the time in the creative industries it is about who you know, as well as what you know. Many people I know who found their placements, found them through family members or friends, and it is not a bad thing doing it that way – any way to get your foot in the door of somewhere!
4. Where to find placements…?
There are many places that help students to find their placements, starting with the University Career Hub, I didn’t find mine via there but I know many others did. A lot of jobs get put on there pretty regularly, so always check there. Others places to look are ratemyplacement.co.uk, mediargh.com, indeed.co.uk and companies even post a lot of student jobs on LinkedIn! However, I know a lot of people (including myself) didn’t get their placements via advertised job sites. When I was searching, I would search for Design Agencies nearby, and simply send companies an email telling them a little about myself and the fact I was looking for a years experience in industry, this proved quite a successful way of doing it as I got a few interviews from it, and eventually landed my placement.
5. Don’t panic if it gets to June and you still haven’t got anywhere.
I didn’t officially get my placement until the middle of July, because the company I eventually worked for were moving offices in the summer, therefore this was a very busy time of year for them. I think this is true for a lot of companies; they are always busy and haven’t necessarily got time to be thinking about a new person coming in and needing to be trained up. So one piece of advice is when you are trying to sell yourself to the company, you need to make it obvious to them that you are not going to be a burden – one company said they couldn’t take me on as they didn’t feel they would have the time to give me the experience that I needed. Fair enough, but technically it should be you getting involved in their work, not them having to change their normal routine to accommodate for you. Essentially, you should just be another normal employee, not ‘the intern’ or ‘the student’.
6. Do everything you can to ensure you get a placement.
Doing a placement has been the best decision I could have ever made, and everyone I know who has done a placement agrees. Not only is it a great experience, but it will set you up for the future. I (and many others) have been offered full-time jobs once graduated, and even the people who haven’t been offered anything, can at least put on their CV that they worked for a company for a whole year, not just 4 weeks. Im not saying that if you don’t do a placement, that you aren’t going to get a job, but I really do think it helps a lot if you have done one – you get to know the ins and outs of a company, and work with real clients on real projects – its exciting!
I hope this has been useful and there will be writing more about my different experiences during my year.