Should I Take a Placement?
I’ve just finished my years placement and I've loved it so much, but I’m aware that not everyone will be able to see the benefits.
I took Business Studies at uni and on my course alone there were about 300 of us, this isn’t including those who took Business and Marketing or Business and Finance etc. If you think about all the people coming out on unis with business related courses in the UK and then add those from all over the world, thats a lot of competition. So you need a USP!
USP (Unique Selling Point)
Doing a placement gives you a USP and means that you'll leave university with not only a degree but a years paid work experience, a reference and good understanding of the day to day activities on an office. It can also give you an idea what you want/don't want to do when you graduate.
Talking points in future interviews
Having had that work experience also means that when you go into your next interview you’ll have practical and work related examples which will make you stand out over those who didn’t take a placement. If you can refer to your uni assignments as well as your placement projects, it will give you more to talk about and it'll give your interviewer more of an idea of what you have been and could be capable of.
Broader understanding of a business
Doing a placement teaches you things that you could never learn in a classroom. One being how to conduct yourself around the office, in a meeting and how to present an idea to a department. These may seem like obvious or irrelevant skills but they are really important when building your personal brand. I ensured that I conducted myself in a professional manner as I wanted my colleges to respect me and then respect my ideas when I bring them up. I may only be a student, but my ideas were valid and I needed that to come across to my colleagues.
Another thing I learnt was that when leading a meeting, you have to ensure that everyone is focusing on the points that you think are key and when people go off on tangents, you are responsible for getting them back on track. In the beginning I was very quiet and thought that if I interupted people, they would think I was being rude, but in reality you want to convey a message to them in a clear and concise manner.
You get paid
You'll find that some/most year long placements will pay you for the year. The amount can vary but still you can earn an income. If you can save the money when you're working it'll also meant that you can go into your final year of uni with some money in the bank, you you can be less reliant on your student loan.
This is only the tip of the ice burg, I could go on and on!
If you do have any question about taking placements I'd be more than happy to help so leave a comment below!!