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10 things I learnt when applying for my first placement

This post covers the personal journey and strategies used one of CareerEar's professional members, Daniel Tuitt. Learn how to stand out and take steps towards securing your first placement.

Many students and first-time career seekers consider applying for a placement to gain experience in a field that may define their future career. However, finding a placement can be an emotional roller coaster ride of cover letters, endless job searches and rejection letters.

1. Continue until completed

As my journey illustrates – it can take time to find the right job. Everyone’s journey is different. You may get an offer in the first week after your first four applications or six months later after hundreds of applications – try not to worry you will be fine.

2. Don’t be afraid

If you do not get your dream placement it’s ok. Most placements are designed to help develop a variety of skills. You should never be afraid of applying for roles that are not directly linked to your course.

3. Wear multiple hats

It’s not just enough to think like an employee during an interview. By thinking like the manager, other team members, departments or even the customer you will develop a unique perspective. This will make you stand out as you can think of solving problems in a different way.

4. Always say thanks

Failing an interview or assessment centre is not necessarily the end. Try sending the interviewer an email thanking them for the opportunity. When another opportunity comes up they might think of you.

5. Be creative

If online applications and CV submissions are not working. Try something new! Debut, an app that gamifies the search for internships, placement and graduate position through playing games rather than assessment centres and interviews.

6. Get organised

Finding a job can become a tedious process. The last thing you want is to forget what job you applied for, apply for the same role twice or prepare for the wrong interview. I put together a document that helped categorise all my applications.

7. Build relationships

Networking has always been the key to success in business. Start developing authentic relationships with recruiters, employees and even other students. You never know where someone will be in the future.

8. Match made in heaven

What you are studying and what you love doing can be two very different things. In an ideal world, you’ll find a role that fits between the two. A placement may sound amazing but you need to always carry out some research to understand whether the job is right for you.

9. Getting thick skin

Success is built on resilience! Throughout the application process, you will hear a lot of “NOs”. You need to stay focused and work hard to ensure that you are reaching your goal. If you are passionate about getting a placement it will become easier.

10. Learn from failure

Feedback is essential to being successful in life. Whenever you are not successful getting a placement you need to understand why and work on that issue so it does not happen repeatedly.

Please feel free to share your thoughts! Maybe your experiences have taught you other lessons that I have left out.


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