I remember the thought of second year and the looming placement application deadlines can be daunting, however there are easy ways that can really make your application shine and make second year a breeze!
I started looking for placements at the beginning of second year as some companies close their deadlines early. I got a microbiology placement at GlaxoSmithKline in December 2016. The Careers+Placements staff helped me prepare for my interview by practising questions with me and providing me with really helpful links, so I felt fully prepared for the GSK recruitment process.
There is a huge range of placement types – from working or studying for 12 months in the UK or abroad, to doing half and half! Aston Futures shows lots of placements available (and some of the opportunities on there are exclusive to Aston students) but there are other really great companies out there too, so widen your reach. If you do find a placement yourself, make sure to chat with a C+P Placements Coordinator to discuss if it will be feasible.
Gaining relevant experience can help you stand out to employers when applying for placements, but it can be difficult – a great thing you can do is get involved with your course representative meetings as it won’t take much commitment (only 3 meetings over the year!) but they are good for developing your communication skills whilst having a positive impact on your course. Another great option is joining a range of societies – in particular, try to work on a committee if possible. At the end of the day, relevant experience is not essential – just make sure you show employers how good you are by tailoring the skills you have learnt through other activities to their placement opportunity, and researching the company, which will show them you are seriously interested in the role.
Best of luck!