Since returning to university for my final year after my placement, I have been trying to balance (not always successfully) my uni work, dissertation research, exam prep, a social life, a part-time job and applying for graduate jobs – but, thanks to my placement year, graduate job applications have been made a hell of a lot easier!
To provide you with some context, I worked as a Public Affairs Assistant for the aerospace pioneer Airbus. The job itself was brilliant and I am so glad I went on placement during my third year, but it is only now that I realise how helpful doing a placement is for future job applications.
My placement year has provided me with a whole host of examples that I can draw upon where I have used the various competencies that employers are looking for in candidates, whether this is in job applications, cover letters or interviews. When I was applying for placements, I often found myself using the same university assignment or group work task example for the majority of the competencies that employers asked me about, but now, from 12+ months of working full-time, I have tangible examples of where I have used these key skills. For example:
- Producing political briefings and consultation responses has improved my writing skills.
- Organising political visits and networking receptions has developed my event management and organisation skills.
- A range of projects including the creation of an e-newsletter with other interns and an analysis of Airbus’ UK supply chain has required both teamwork and leadership skills.
- Delivering presentations has built upon my public speaking and verbal communication skills.
As well as the skills listed above, one of the most important things that I have gained from my placement year is a good, professional reference! Having worked alongside my line manager for over a year at Airbus, he has been happy to validate what I have written on my CV or in job applications to employers by acting as a reference and he has also been able to provide an accurate account to employers on how I work and what I can bring to a company.
To summarise, my placement has helped me massively when it has come to applying for graduate jobs. For that reason, I could not recommend doing a placement more! But, for final years who have returned from placement, it is worth taking some time to think about the various things you were involved in during the year and the skills and competencies you learned from the experiences – which may not always be obvious at first!
Good luck with your applications!
Written by Rachael Woodroffe