Placement: The Half Way Point
Following a busy week on placement, resulting in a lack of blog content (sorry!) I decided to reflect on my experience so far, in case any of you are considering whether or not a placement year is right for you.
First of all, yes, yes, yes. Placement is definitely right for you. What could be better than a practise year at work? A year to try something you think you’ll like and practise at working life.
I would say this to absolutely everyone. Yes, at university you do learn a lot about yourself personally and eve professionally. But, placement year has taught me just as much about myself, if not more, especially on the professional front.
Lets go through the whole process from applying to getting a job.
The application process for me was quite daunting; I have never been sure about what I wanted to do and so trying to decide which opportunities to apply for was a difficult decision. With this, I would truly say apply for whatever shouts at you. I think our university never made it quite clear how competitive the application and interview process is to get a placement. In trying to build our confidence, they reassured us that we would all get a placement when realistically it is a competitive process. With this in mind it is a balancing act. Apply for roles you are passionate about and can really convince an interviewer that you would bring your passion to your work. Equally, don’t put all your eggs in one basket, make sure you apply to enough roles that you aren’t pinning all your chances in one place.
Interview was really where I struggled. My applications, thanks to the help I had from university as well as the hard work I put into them it meant that I had strong applications. However, when I got to interview (I had so many!) I just couldn’t get my strengths across. Although I was confident that I would be able to do the jobs, I couldn’t get this across, most probably due to my nerves. This was a massive learning experience for me and I hope that following my graduation I will be able to succeed in interview, much faster. What I have learnt is that you really need to be yourself, but for, my confident self. Also, don’t be scared to be confident in your abilities or to tell people about them, especially in this situation.
When I eventually got the job however, I have continued learning. I think everyone expects to learn something about working and how you fit into an organisation etc. However, I have learnt more about myself than I ever realised. As I mentioned, I never have really known what I wanted to do post-graduation. I knew I wanted to get a job, just wasn’t sure what I would be doing! Perhaps, I am still not 100%, but I am so much clearer on what my strengths and weaknesses are as well as what I want to get from a job, including what is important to me. This is really why I would recommend a placement year to everyone. It may be that no matter how much research you do, your placement year is not 100% for you. But, that is ok, because really you will learn so much about yourself and what you want either way.
Have any of you had a placement year? Do you agree with what I am saying?