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The placement search is long and torturous at times, but don’t be disheartened, it is one of the most valuable aspects of your course.

Finding a placement is all about standing out from the crowd. For two years you have made numerous friends on your course and beyond, however in the placement and graduate job market, they are your competition (as harsh as it sounds). Game on!

It can be hard to know where you start, but I found the employment clinics and CV master classes that BU offers a great way to get going.

Likewise, MyCareerHub, is also there to provide links to placement opportunities. There are hundreds advertised, however many of these weren’t in the area that I wanted to work, therefore I sent many speculative CVs to companies. Simply introducing them to the idea of a placement can really work. With some online research that the Wall Street Journal would be proud of, you can find out Managing Directors’ email addresses to send CVs – and trust me, it works!

Freshers' Fair

Working at a stand at Freshers’ Fair with the other BU placement students!

The interview is the most important part of the process and consequently the most stressful for some people. I love interviews; it is the best way to get a feel for the company culture and environment in which you’ll work. Go armed with questions, employers love it and it’s your chance to understand the job role better. There is no set standard for interviews, ranging from assessment centres to informal chats. My favourite ‘interview’ consisted of being sat on a couch with my feet up, eating Haribo and having a chat as if they were a friend. It’s a great way to get to know someone, all the stress is gone and you can just be you! Whatever the process, make sure you do your research and are prepared.

In which industry do you want to work? Do you really know what it is like? Do you feel like working in it for almost 50 years? These are major questions that a placement can really help to answer. I came to university set on working in the sports event industry. No weddings, no parties, no conferences – sports 100%. However, I took a bold move a decided to use the placement year to explore an industry in which I never thought I would work. That is how I found myself working for BU in the Student Recruitment & Outreach Team, getting out and speaking to thousands of prospective students. University is all about new experiences and exploring opportunities, why should placement be any different? And I’m sure glad I did! It has opened a door into a career in teaching, a world away from sports events. That is the beauty of being on placement, not only seeing how industry works but exposing yourself to challenges, concepts and responsibilities that you simply can’t get in the lecture theatre. Having said that… when I’m travelling to an event in Manchester at 5am, those economics lectures on a Friday afternoon look very appetizing.

Manchester UCAS 4

Working at the UCAS Exhibition in Manchester

So don’t be narrow minded, go all in and seize the chance to work somewhere different.

By Nick Payne

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