In recent months here at The Candidate, we have noticed a greater number of clients requesting graduate candidates who already have experience in the industry, straight out of university. So, this week's blog will take a look at how a placement year during your time at university can make the road to obtaining your dream job a little easier.
When asked why they are going to university, the majority of students would tell you to increase the chance of obtaining a fulfilling and better-paid career in the future. So, when given the opportunity to boost your chances with a year in the industry whilst studying, there's no doubt a sandwich year is an appealing option for many undergraduates.
Taking up the opportunity of a sandwich year whilst studying for your degree could be a huge benefit to you when it comes to job-hunting after graduating from university. A 'sandwich' degree refers to a course whereby you have the opportunity to spend time with a company in the industry of your field of study. In most cases, your university careers service will offer support in applying for industry placements and offer further support throughout your placement.
When it comes to graduate recruitment, statistics show that employers specifically seek out graduates who have had industry experience. A survey of one hundred recognized companies conducted in 20111 found that a third of graduate vacancies will be filled by candidates who already have industry experience or who have worked for their new employer as an undergraduate.
An article from the Guardian in November (2012)2, stated that graduates should be set to face 'tougher times' as the graduate job market becomes more competitive and many companies struggle to accommodate new graduates in an unsteady economy. In this competitive graduate job market, it is almost vital to have industry experience as employers are looking for candidates who can hit the ground running, with minimal support, which is an extra cost to them.
Experience with a large, recognized company on your CV, straight out of university, can set you out from the rest of the crowd and give you a real advantage against other candidates. Also, in many cases, the company you spend your sandwich year with may offer you a permanent position with them after graduation if you show commitment and willingness to learn on the job.
As well as improving your career prospects after university, a placement can also develop you professionally and prepare you for the real world of work. Taking a year in the industry shows potential employers that you are serious obtaining a long term career in your field of interest and desire to improve yourself professionally.
In addition to the long term benefits of spending a year in the industry before leaving university, your placement year will be paid work which gives you the chance to start saving money and even paying off some of your student debts.
Sandwich courses are specifically designed to introduce students to the industry as well as give undergrads, who may never have had a job before, into the world of work. Taking up an opportunity of a placement year whilst at university is undoubtedly the 'Pay now, play later' option in terms of getting a head start to your ideal career after graduating. You are less likely to have to settle for an unpaid internship after graduation and experience gained on your placement year will take away many anxieties that graduates without experience in the industry can face when taking their first job.
If you need advice on enhancing your employability or updating your CV get in touch with us here at The Candidate. Email: [email protected]