Hi guys, I know that you guys are just in your first year and still trying to find your feet at university and probably looking for a placement is the last thing on your mind. But I know that there are some of you out there that are interested in getting a summer placement in your first year. So as I’m currently in my second year also looking for placements, I felt that it is only right that I share a few handy tips with you. Enjoy!
Ok, I’ll be the first to admit it not many companies like to take on first year students, but if you start doing your research early you’ll be surprised at what you just might find.
No.1 Research, Research, Research
A really good website to use for finding placements is Gradcracker because
- They have a wealth of information about different companies that offer work placements (both summer and industrial) for students in engineering and technology
- They have this amazing thing called ‘My Gradcracker’ which allows you to follow lots of different companies so that whenever new positions arise within the company for placements they will alert you through your email. As well as this ‘My Gradcracker’ allows you to track your applications, upload your CV and write about your key competencies amongst many other things. Other really good sources for finding placements are Target jobs, Aston Futures and the good old Google search bar.
- Gradcracker only ever advertise paid internships-kerching!
No. 2 Make a list
Right… now that you’ve found which companies offer first year students summer placements, the next stage is to make a list of the company’s details. This list should include details about what the company does, so basically what they specialise in, their values, what the role they are advertising entails, the skills set that they are looking for in students who want to obtain a placement with them and the application process. Oh…and don’t forget to note down the deadline, the last thing you want to do is to try and submit an application form after the deadline- Not a good move.
No.3 The application process
How are you supposed to apply for the job? You need to find out whether they are after a CV and Cover letter or an online application or even both. Does the online application involve a psychometric test? What if your application is successful? What does the interview process involve? Does it involve a telephone interview, assessment centre, in-tray/e-tray activities? These are just some of the questions that you should be asking yourself in order to prepare for the journey ahead. A lot of questions…I know, but it has to be done.
No.4 Get your CV and Cover letter checked out
At Aston we are extremely lucky because we have an incredible careers advice service, so make sure you use it! You can book an appointment to see one of the careers consultants in the careers and advice centre to have a look at your CV and cover letter and give you feed back on how to improve it. Appointments can either be booked online or in the main build on the first floor of the South Wing. They also conduct mock interviews, so if you are successful with your application you can also book an appointment for a mock interview. You can also use the Aston careers website for additional information and help.
No.5 Aston Futures
Use Aston futures to keep up to date with the latest employer events, careers fairs and workshops. The careers fairs are an excellent way to meet with representatives from different companies. This is a great opportunity for you to ask them for useful hints and tips about making a successful application to their company. The workshops are also extremely beneficial because they give really good tips and advice on different things ranging from how to write a winning CV and cover letter to ‘How to ace an application form’ amongst many other things- Trust me, you don’t want to miss out! So be there or be square….
No.6 The outcome
So after you’ve done your research, used Aston futures, had your CV and Cover letter checked out and finally submitted that CV and Cover letter or completed that online application form. What happens next? Well either one of two things will happen. You’ll either be successful and be invited to an interview or an assessment centre or maybe even get a telephone interview 🙂 Or you’ll get a sad email telling you that on this occasion you have been unsuccessful 🙁 Either way, you would have learnt a lot from the experience which will help you a great deal when you’re in your second year like me searching for an industrial placement.
So no matter what happens, don’t be dismayed but….