In this blog, Vidhi shares her advice on how to prepare for your placement year and the support that is available from the WBS CareersPlus team in helping you find a placement opportunity.
The undergraduate courses available at Warwick Business School offer you the opportunity to undertake a placement year as part of your course which involves taking a 12-month work placement in the UK or abroad. As part of my BSc Management course, I decided to undertake a 12-month work placement at Vodafone.
If you are interested in taking a placement year, then these are my top tips on how best to prepare:
Attend the information sessions held by the WBS CareersPlus team
The CareersPlus team hold multiple events throughout the year, giving you lots of information about different placement year options. They also arrange for students who have recently finished their placement to speak at these events so you can hear first-hand about their experiences. The team also host several informative sessions providing lots of advice on application tips.
Make a LinkedIn profile
If you haven’t already, I would highly recommend making a profile on LinkedIn as it is a great platform to depict your experience and skills, since you cannot always fit each of your experiences within your CV. Also, a lot of recruiters look at your LinkedIn profile to understand your qualifications better. The other benefits of LinkedIn include being able to search for companies offering placement year opportunities. In addition to this, you can use LinkedIn to interact with students who are currently undertaking their placement years to gain tips and advice about the application process and gain a better understanding of the company.
Refine your CV
After you have a more in-depth understanding of the type of placement year you would like to undertake then you should begin working on your CV. Make sure that your CV is well aligned to the industry you are applying to, mentioning the essential skills that will be essential within that industry, and prioritising the experiences which depict your suitability as a candidate.
Start researching companies and jobs that interest you
It is a good idea to start your research early on as some placement year applications open in August so try to understand a bit more about the companies you are interested in joining. Most companies include several psychometric tests as part of their recruitment process including numerical, verbal, and logical reasoning. In addition to this there will be an interview so try to practice answering some interview-style questions in advance so that you are confident when it comes to the final stage of the process. In order to stay organised I would recommend that you create a spreadsheet and record the companies that you have applied to and what positions, so you can keep an easier track of where you are at with your applications.
My top tip would be to start applying for placement year opportunities as soon as possible. Towards the end of your first term, you will notice that you will have less time available to focus on your applications due to your university workload. The application process usually consists of four stages which include; submitting your CV and cover letter, completing psychometric tests, completing an interview, and finally participating in an assessment centre. The CareersPlus team offers lots of guidance and support with preparation for each of these stages of the recruitment process so make sure you utilise their services and book a one-to-one session with them. Also, if you look at the careers page on my.wbs you will find a practice test and a CV check application as well as lots of other useful resources to help you.
After securing your work placement offer these are some of the things that you need to consider:
Look for accommodation
If you are going to be relocating for your 12-month placement it is crucial that you start to look at accommodation options early on. This will enable you to look at a range of options and find suitable accommodation for your requirements.
Research the company you are joining
You should have already researched the company you are joining as part of your preparation steps but I would recommend doing some further research. You may also want to research some of the people you may be working with via LinkedIn to understand more about their roles. Your research will ensure you have a greater understanding of the company and its offerings which will support you whilst you settle into your position.
Connect with the previous placement students
Again, if you haven’t done this already it is beneficial to speak to other WBS students who have recently completed their placement year with the company you are about to join as you will be able to gain lots of invaluable advice. This will also help you understand more about your job role and what your responsibilities will be.
My ultimate top tip would be to seize as many opportunities as possible since your placement year will be what you make of it. Also, I would encourage you to discover what areas of the business interest you the most and what tasks you enjoy working on as this will help you shape your future career path. Finally, challenge yourself! A placement year is a great way to build on the skills and knowledge you have learned throughout your course so far and apply them in a work setting, so don’t be shy to step out of your comfort zone.
Every WBS Undergraduate* has the opportunity to take a placement year during their studies, if you would like to find out more about our courses on offer, download our Undergraduate brochure.
*Joint degree’s may differ, please refer to the partner department for placement information.