8 things your Placement Coordinator wants you to know

AbbyAdvice, Second Year

If you’re searching for your placement at the moment, keep reading.

Here in Careers+Placements, we have a fab team of Placement Coordinators here to help you with your search. They’ll run mock interviews with you, offer advice on CVs, cover letters and applications, help you to identify your skills and strengths, and chat through your options with you. Think of them as your Placement Search Cheerleaders.

We recently asked some of the Placement Coordinators what they’d like you to know. Here’s what they said:

You can book appointments with them
It’s easier than booking an appointment with the GP, promise. Appointments are available virtually at the moment. You can have a phone appointment, or a video appointment through platforms such as Skype or Microsoft Teams. These 1-to-1 appointments are great opportunities for you to discuss whatever you need, in a confidential environment. It doesn’t matter what stage you’re at – whether you just don’t know where to start, or you’ve got an interview coming up that you’d like help to prepare for – the Placement Coordinators will be happy to support.
Appointments are usually available to book seven days in advance on Aston Futures.

They can run mock interviews with you
Interviews are scary, aren’t they? Or at least, they can be if you’re not prepared. If you do secure an interview (big well done!), you should be thoroughly researching the company so that you can impress them with your knowledge, and you should be thinking about how you’ll answer questions that might come up. One really important thing you can do to help you prepare is to have a mock interview with a Placement Coordinator – it’ll give you an idea of what to expect, and hopefully make you feel more confident.
You can book a mock interview by emailing your College placement inbox. Someone will be in touch to arrange a suitable time and date:

bssplacements@aston.ac.uk
epsplacements@aston.ac.uk
hlsplacements@aston.ac.uk

There are lots of places you can look for placement opportunities
Naturally, the first place we suggest you look for a placement is Aston Futures. It’s our online jobs portal where you can find part-time roles, volunteering opportunities, placements, and graduates jobs. If you can’t find what you’re looking for on Aston Futures, have a look at this blog post, where we share some other sites you can use in your placement search.

You can write speculative applications and reach out to people you know

If there’s a company you’d really like to work for, consider writing to them to see if they have any opportunities that could work as your placement year. You can read our tips for sending speculative applications, here. And don’t forget, you can also reach out to people you know. Perhaps you could do a placement with the family business, or maybe your friend’s uncle runs an engineering firm that you’d love to work at. It’s completely fine to source a placement through the people that you know.

Your placement does not have to be related to your degree
You might be studying marketing, but that doesn’t mean your placement has to be in marketing – you always have the possibility of branching out and trying new things. Who knows, you might discover a new industry that you love! Plus, whichever industry you’re in, you’ll gain so many transferable skills that will give you an edge when you graduate.

  • Jordan studied Politics and International Relations, and he worked as a Workload Manager for a technology company on his placement.
  • Meha studies Applied Chemistry, and she’s currently working in the railway industry on her placement.
  • Alba studies Business and Mathematics, and she’s now completing a marketing placement.

First impressions count
We talk about this all the time, but the reason for that is because it’s true. When you send a CV, cover letter or application to an organisation, it’ll be their first impression of you. So let’s make it a good one, shall we? It’s really important that you get things checked before you apply for a role. Read your work back and see if you can spot any typos, grammatical errors, or copy-and-paste mistakes. If you’re working on your CV, you can upload it to CV360 and get instant feedback. Once you’ve done this, you can send it to the Placement Coordinators for a final polish. The Placement Coordinators will also review cover letters and applications for you.

You’ll likely get some rejections, but that doesn’t mean you should give up
We know it can be disheartening when you get a rejection email, or perhaps don’t hear back at all. But it’s important that you keep going. With each application, you are one step closer to securing something. And hopefully, the more applications and interviews you do, the better you’ll become at doing them! We recently wrote this post about building resilience – give this a read if you can feel your determination starting to wobble.

You should be considering flexible placement options
Yes, in an ideal world, you’d be looking to secure a 12-month placement. Unfortunately though, the pandemic has made this trickier than usual. To make things easier for you, we’ve introduced a range of flexible placement options for the placement year 2021/22. You can get an overview of the flexible placement options, here. And don’t forget, you can always discuss these options with the Placement Coordinators – just book an appointment on Aston Futures.

Photo by Gustavo Fring from Pexels