You’re part way through your college or university course and you have the option to do an industry placement. Do you? YES! And here’s why.
Are you very well versed in your course materials and have an idea of what you think working life will be? Well, we’re here to tell you that work, in theory, is very different from real, everyday work. Taking on the challenge of a placement is the perfect way to dip your toe into the ups and downs of working life and get a real idea of whether it is indeed the job you’d like or the industry which inspires you. Your placement experience will shape the decisions you take further down the line. Perhaps it will change your mind entirely about your professional plans. Or, it might underline just how passionate you are about the path you’ve chosen. Either way, it’s a lesson that is difficult to learn in any other way.
From exams at school to maximising your experience in college or Uni, you will have been working on compiling a great CV up until this stage. The reality for graduating job seekers is that the recruitment market is competitive. There can be a very large pool of applicants for any one job. So, having work experience and placement positions listed can be a very compelling way of separating yourself from the crowd. The more practical experience you have, and references from those experiences, the more interesting you will be to potential employers. The actual experience of placement will also give you confidence and knowledge that you can use in an interview environment.
The beauty of placement is that you could have the opportunity to spend time in a company that may be very difficult to gain full-time employment in. Taking on a placement role could provide you with invaluable experience within a market leading company. It could help you to shape your goals and career path to improve your chances post-university of entering a similar level of company. You may even decide to pursue several placements. In doing so, building up a real professional profile, gaining experience in a cross-section of companies, and giving yourself context against which you make future professional decisions.
Spending even a short time as a placement candidate within the industry gives you the opportunity to vastly expand your professional network. From placement peers to more senior team members, you’ll find your connections multiply very quickly. Take advantage when they do, send a LinkedIn request, and follow up meetings with an email. By the time your placement ends, you’ll be impressed by just how far-reaching your new contacts are. These relationships could be hugely beneficial going forward. Perhaps you’ll find a mentor, perhaps you’ll hear about industry jobs and news through your peers, whatever the outcome, developing and nurturing this network is a huge win.
Research shows that students who do professional placements improve their performance in final exams by 5%. Compelling right? Apparently, post placement, students are more engaged with their work, come closer to beating the urge to procrastinate (we’re listening!) and become more adept at efficiency and productivity. Win-win!
Over the past four or five years, all of our ASG placement students have gone on to achieve a First – that’s obviously down to their own hard work, but hopefully due in part to the insight, experience, and work ethic they absorb while being here (plus we’re super-proud parents of them all and we love watching them soar in their early careers!) 😉 .
So, whatever reason appeals to you, professional placement is an unmissable opportunity for students. Take the leap and make the most of your time before heading back to uni to pick up those improved exam results.