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The Do's and Don'ts of Placement Applications

By Will Butler on Mon 11 October 2021 in Placement Blog

Do's and Don'ts of Placement Applications

Hear from Will, our current New Business Sales placement at PS & student at University of the West of England, as he lets you in on the key Do's and Don'ts when applying for Placements.

Thinking back to 9 months ago, I was in the exact same shoes that you’re in right now. Going through the lengthy process of applying for placement after placement. Having gone through this process and successfully securing a role as a New Business Sales Assistant at ProspectSoft, it’s safe to say I’ve learnt a lot. And, sharing is caring! So, I thought I’d share some of the key do’s and don’ts when going applying for placements so employers fall in love with your application. 
 
Do: Prepare (or Prepare to Fail!) 
Before you start applying for placements, make sure you have the right tools in place. Go back to basics and ensure these things are perfect. This really starts with nailing your CV (so get it checked by a Careers advisor at Uni, your parents, friends, whoever you trust!). The time and effort you put in prior to beginning writing your application can be the difference between not getting a placement versus a year in industry, where you’ll gain invaluable experience.  
 
Do: Research 
Research is essential. When applying for a placement, it’s vital to conduct thorough research into the organisation (what they do, where they’re based, key financials, culture, anything noteworthy in the news about them etc.) and the role itself (key tasks, reviews from previous employees, other employees within the department etc.). Adding a personal touch, particularly to your cover letter, can make you stand out by demonstrating that you’ve put time and effort in rather than just churning out another copied and pasted application.  
 
Do: Make use of your University’s Facilities  

As well as getting the CV perfected, see if your Uni offer any other services like mock interviews and Assessment Centre practice. Having this under your belt will only put you in good stead when it comes to the real thing. Plus, why not use these services? After all, you’re paying for your university experience, so make use of what they have on offer!  
 
Do: Quality over Quantity 
Securing a placement doesn’t mean submitting absolutely tonnes of applications. You’re creating more work for yourself! Instead, take a “quality over quantity” approach. Tailoring your application properly means you’ll less likely have to do so many! 
 
Do: Keep Applications Concise & Relevant 
There’s nothing to be gained from ‘bulking out’ your CV or Cover Letter with information that has no relevance to your application. You want to be selling yourself, so use concise facts and points that clearly indicate why you want this role and to work for this company. Remember – you're selling yourself, not giving them your life story! 
 
Don’t: Submit Applications Without Proofing 
Recruiters are bombarded with hundreds, if not thousands of applications in today’s competitive market, so it’s your job to make their life as easy as possible. Attention to detail is really important, and some of the bigger firms even have technology in place to scan applications for mistakes in their first review phase. Make sure the structure and formatting are neat, be consistent with fonts, and keep your points concise. A big “don’t” when writing your CV and Cover Letter is spelling mistakes – these will likely result in you getting a straight up rejection. By checking what you’ve written a few times over then getting your peers to check it, you can avoid these simple mistakes. 
 
Don’t: Copy & Paste! 
It’s actually really obvious when an application has been copied and pasted. Employers can spot it from a mile off! Of course, your CV will largely remain similar for each application, but there should be amendments made here and there to personalise it, and your Cover Letter should never be duplicated from a previous application. Including generic statements and generic terms to describe the company and only changing the name of the company is likely to lead to an instant rejection. For example, it’s great to hear that you admire the company and are interested in their company culture – but why is that? Can you give more specific reasons/explanations that will only be relevant to that company? If not, don’t include it! Stuff like this may seem flattering and easy to write, but it won’t wash with the person reading it unless it really links to the specific role/company! 
 
Don’t: Panic! 
Employers will likely receive hundreds or thousands of applications, meaning you won’t hear back immediately – it's normal! So, don’t stress if you don’t hear back within days or even weeks...it doesn’t mean you’ve been rejected - employers around this time are simply very busy. Use this time to put the effort into your other applications to ensure you stand out. If you are starting to get concerned about the status of your application, check the portal you applied through in case there’s an update, check your emails (properly!) and even your Junk/Clutter. It’s also worth checking their deadline – if you applied in October but they don’t close applications till February, they need to give everyone a fair chance, so you might not hear back for a few months at least. Proactively and politely getting in touch to see if there’s an update is not a bad thing and can further demonstrate your interest to the employer, but cover all bases above first! 
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Looking for a great placement? How about a getting a hands-on role at the most awarded SME in the UK? Applications for our placements are now OPEN! Check out our award-winning placement opportunities in Sales, Customer Success, Marketing, Technical Services & Software Development right here. 
 
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