In this blog Brian Matthews, Managing Partner here at The
Candidate reveals how you can bag the perfect work placement to
gain the experience you need for your dream job!
It's well known that gaining work experience is important to
boost your CV and help you make the first steps in many industries.
However, landing a placement that will look great on your CV as
well as helping you gain the skills you need to make the next steps
At The Candidate we work with a number of
universities in the North, and we are currently working with Manchester Metropolitan
University and the university's Agency Life programme, which
places undergraduate students into work experience placements. The
programme has recently published research that found graduates are 50 per
cent more likely to secure a place on a graduate programme if they
had previously undertaken an industrial placement. So we thought we
would offer our five top tips to help you land the perfect
placement, that will help you boost your CV and give a good
impression to future potential employers.
What is it you want?
You really need to carefully consider what you want to get out
of the placement before you start contacting businesses. Asking
yourself the following questions will help you clarify what it is
you're looking for:
- Is there something that you've missed out on in your degree or
through other qualifications that you would like to learn through
hands on experience?
- What type of working environment do you want to work in?
Smaller companies often allow you to get a breadth of experience
across various departments, whereas in larger companies you can
spend all of your time in one department and really get to know how
- What are your career goals for the future?
Research is key
All of the work experience you gain will give you new skills and
make you look impressive when you start looking for your first
professional job. But it's really important that you try and get
placements that are in the area you want to progress your career
Here are some things you should consider:
- How well-established is the company? Search them online and see
what you can find out about the company as a whole.
- Do they offer work placements already? If so, do they outline
what you would be doing if you worked with them? Also, do they pay
- Does the company have an office culture you are comfortable
with? Looking at a businesses' social media pages will give you a
good feel about the office environment.
Act like you're applying for your first professional
You want to come across as professional as possible when you
first get in touch with a company that you're looking to work with.
First impressions are crucial.
Create a cover letter and perfect your CV like you would if you were
applying for a permanent role. Then, if you can get the managing
director's email from the website, or the address provided for
placements and careers, and personalise your cover letter with why
you want to work with them in particular.
Voice your opinion
When you reach the interview stages for a placement you need to
come across confident and be able to talk about the industry you
want to work in and the issues currently facing it. Most people
seeking work placements are students or young people fresh out of
education, therefore candidates sometimes feel like they don't have
the authority to express an opinion when it comes to the industry
they want to work in.
Cliché's exist for a reason
Don't forget the basics when it comes to looking for your
- Proofread you email, CV and cover letter.
- Check your
social media accounts are up to scratch and give off a
- Dress smartly for your interview.
- Send a follow up email thanking your interviewer.
- Be 15 minutes early to an interview.
- Make eye contact with your interviewer.
- Prepare an appropriate portfolio to show off your work.
Candidates often get their first full-time position through a
successful internship, so getting the best placement you can is
likely to be a great investment in your future career.
To read the full article and get more advice on landing your
perfect placement see our piece on the Total Jobs website.