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10 Top Tips for Applying to Placements

By Harvey Rudolph on Thu 19 December 2019 in Placement Blog

Applying to placements may seem daunting...that's why Harvey has created 10 top tips to guide students through the process!

1. Be Yourself – Getting across your personality is vitally important to see if you’d be a good fit for the culture of the company. Recruiters aren’t just assessing your academic skills and experience - they want to see how you engage with others around you. After all, you might be working with these people for your placement year, so it’s important to show who you truly are!

2. Back up your answers Think of good examples as to why your skillset and experience match the role you’re applying for. Even if you don’t have direct experience for the placement just yet, they want to see what you’ve done to go the extra mile. This can be through societies at University, volunteering, or an extra-curricular activity you’re passionate about. These sorts of things will set you apart from the rest. In other words – sell yourself!

3. Preparation Arrange a calm and quiet place which has good phone reception to do your telephone interview, where you know you won’t be distracted. If you’re doing a telephone interview at home/in a shared house or flat, make sure your friends can’t disturb you! It’s easy to forget, but the interviewer has taken the time to invite you to this call, so it can really show a lack of respect if you don’t prepare.

4. Research, research, research! Before both the telephone interview and Assessment Centre, it’s crucial that you have good knowledge of the company you’re applying for, as well as the role! Most information can be found on their website, through blog pages or even through social media. In telephone interviews, they’ll likely ask at least a few questions relating to the company and the role, so make sure you’re prepared with some foundational knowledge.

5. Punctuality is key If you’re invited to the Assessment Centre, make sure you arrive in plenty of time and are well prepared. You need to show from the outset that you can be dependable and reliable to meet expectations and deadlines, so plan your transport well in advance to avoid any issues and be communicative to the employer about your plans. Someone who doesn’t keep the employer in the loop in a professional manner will lose marks before the day has even begun.

6. Presentation skills If you’re asked to do a presentation at an Assessment Centre, make sure you practice what you’re going to say (maybe even in front of family or friends). Whatever the topic is about, you need to stand out - talk passionately and confidently to the room. The way you deliver the presentation will showcase your abilities under pressure.

7. Be a leader & a listener During any group tasks, remember to put your points across whilst listening to and encouraging others. It’s important to be confident and energetic, but make sure you involve others and respect their opinions in order to work together collaboratively. Actively participating is one thing, but no one likes someone who is overbearing! 

8. Body language matters – It's not always just about what you say. Look interested when others are speaking, and make sure your posture is professional and engaged. A smile goes a long way too!

9. Teamwork Although everyone around you is effectively your competition, they’re also potentially going to be your future colleagues, so make sure to build relationships with them during the day in group tasks and during breaks. Students can be so keen to impress the employer, but can totally forget about how they’re acting towards their peers – and it shows! Remember that all Assessment Centres will include group work, and even when you’re not completing a task, they’ll still be assessing how you interact with others.

10. Have fun & enjoy yourself! It sounds like an impossible task...but at the end of the day, remember that the employers are humans too! It’s important you try and relax as much as possible and enjoy it. You’ve got to the Assessment Centre, so should be proud of how much you’ve achieved already!
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