When starting University, I had no idea that I wanted to do a placement, let alone a placement in Recruitment. I started looking for a placement fairly late compared to a lot of people at University, which reduced the number of companies I was able to apply to significantly as many companies fill these placement positions as early as November.

Whilst this narrowing of my search made me panic slightly, I knew I would only undertake a placement that was of the highest caliber and one that really could offer me the necessary experience I wanted to gain from a placement. From speaking to my fellow placement colleague, here at Barrington James, Tom Frost, we decided that the 3 primary things that we both wanted out of a placement were social aspects of an opportunity, money, and experience within a field we felt most relevant to both of our careers respectively.

I had very little guidance when initially searching for my placement within businesses, so here are some top tips I wish I knew then, that I know now:

Make sure you are aware of the pros and cons of actually doing a placement. This is vital as for many people there is often the misconception that it’s a ‘year off’ from University, however, in reality, it is really hard work and you have to have that motivation to perform at your best potential. So my first tip is to make sure this is initially the right option for you.

Secondly, make sure that it is actually something that you want to do. This is vital as it is a decision that will stick with you, either good or bad, for the next year of your life, a year you won’t ever get back. You’ll need to have some understanding of what you want to get out of the placement- this is vital as you will be in contact with an array of companies. You need to know what they are offering you over their competitors, whether this is an unmatched training programme, a key experience in a specific field of interest of yours, or even just a way to get your foot into the first step of the career ladder.

I’d personally recommend having a look on the company’s website, this will give you the background you need on what the company is about, and the image that they are trying to get across to their audience and whether this matches what you are looking for.

Thirdly and most importantly, conduct research into these companies before applying, to ensure you get the best chance to succeed. Many students are attracted to a placement due to its name and the brand that accompanies this name, however, whilst yes, working for a large, multi-specialised, global company looks good on your CV, it means nothing if you are dreading going into work every morning for an entire year.

Hence why I always say, the most important aspect of a business is its culture, and knowing what the ideal culture of the business you want to work for looks like. If the culture of the business does not align with the culture you want, your placement will be a very unenjoyable one. It is vital that you get given the opportunity to really thrive in the year you are there, so even if they are a large and globally-known business, if the culture is poor, what is the point?’

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