International blogger, Jessica Giovanni shares her advice on securing that perfect placement.
Searching for a placement is at the best, tedious and at the worst, downright depressing. Even though you really want it, it’s frustrating to spend hours honing an application only to get nothing but a “thanks for applying” email in return.
Well, here’s a list of tips that might help you receive that much-prayed-for email saying “welcome to the family.” Now these tips aren’t exactly rocket science, and you have probably heard them before, but sometimes pressure, nerves and panic can block these helpful reminders from our brain.
Yes, I know, this is the most cliché advice anyone could ever give. However, the idea that being positive does soothe your mind is undeniable. Also, thinking positively will give you the energy and persistence you need to be successful, from the first step of creating a winning application to finally getting the placement you want.
You have to really want to do it.
Believe it or not, this will give you a jump-start. It is far more likely that you’ll get the placement you want if you’re willing to go the extra mile to get it.
Make sure your CV and covering letter stand out from the crowd.
Worry not, the Employability and Placement Unit (EPU) are ready to help you. Just make an appointment for your CV and covering letter to be checked. They will also give you other essential advice for another stages of your applications.
Apply to as many companies as you can.
The more companies you apply to, the better your chance of getting interview invitations. Remember to be realistic, most big companies do not usually provide placement vacancies. Plus, even if they do, they will surely be highly competitive. The main point of going on to a placement is to gain experience to make ourselves more employable in the future. Therefore, it is okay to apply to smaller companies too.
Prepare before an interview.
Impressing in an interview is much more than a smart outfit, good manners and being confident. The pre-interview tips listed below will better prepare you for your interview, but note what threads them together: preparation. Preparation will also help avoid those awkward silences when your mind goes blank.
- Know and show your value.
As an interviewee, every moment should be spent demonstrating your suitability for the role and the values you possess. For example, if the assessment day includes an ‘informal lunch’ with existing employees, or a ‘group chat’ before the formal interview, remember they are still watching you. You are being judged from the moment you step into their building.
- Plan answers to the questions.
Make your answers thorough and concise, find ways to show how your experiences are beneficial to the job role. “Tell us about yourself”, yes, they will ask you this annoying question so really think about your response. Treat it as a sales pitch, because if you get nervous and trip up on this question, it gives a terrible impression. Touch on areas of your personality and lifestyle that you enjoy and make you stand out. After all, if there’s one thing you should be an expert on, it is yourself, right?
- Think about what they are really asking.
As a hint, employers will almost never ask you about previous employment, because they know we’re all pursuing our degrees and have little work-experience. Therefore, they rely on strength-based questions to get an idea of whether you will suit the role and the company. Remember that interviewers are looking for a specific thing with every question asked. Again, the EPU are experts on this. They will tell you what questions might be asked and they can even give you a mock interview before the real one.
- Aim for a conversation, not a monologue.
Ask questions where you can, pick up on what they say and respond to it. Ask about the work culture, personal development opportunities and how they work as a team. This shows that you are engaged with what has been said and that you’ll take the role seriously. It will also make them start imagining you as part of their team.
- Tell them just how much you want this.
People often apply for jobs listlessly, even to companies they aren’t that keen to work for. Make it as clear as you can that you aren’t that person and that you really do want to work there. However, telling the company straight out without demonstrating it first is not a wise thing to do. Show them that you have done your homework: know the companies history, values and competitors.
And finally, Enjoy yourself!!
Because after all, a placement should really be about helping you get a foot in the door to start your dream career. So there is no reason to not be excited about it!
This post was bought to you by Jessica Giovanni – Our International Student Ambassador from Indonesia. Jessica is currently a second year student, studying Food and Nutrition BSc. Jessica is president of Coventry University’s Indonesian Society.