Advice for a Placement Year

They say a placement year is a great way to get a head start in your career and gain industry experience but how true it this? Well, incredibly true! The experience you gain is invaluable.

As someone who has just completed a placement year between second and third year of university, I have experienced this first hand. Although every placement is different, I can promise you the long-term benefits are priceless.

Working with Adgen has helped me to develop a whole host of skills, all of which can be attributed industrywide. Although the journey has been incredible, getting here wasn’t necessarily as plain sailing as I first thought.

Based off my experience, there are some words of wisdom I want to share. In this blog post I explore my top tips in getting a placement, their duration and the financial benefit of doing so.

Annabelle 2
Annabelle Carter, Graduate Digital Marketing

How to land a placement.

I wish I could offer you a step-by-step list here, but truth is, it varies person to person.

During second year of university, I knew I wanted to look for a placement but didn’t know where to start. I attended all the webinars and meetings you could. I worked on perfecting my CV. All of which helped me understand how to secure a placement.

When it came to applying, the process was very disheartening, rejection after rejection. After some time, it felt like it was never meant to be. Turns out, I was looking for all the wrong things. I thought the big industry names such as Disney, Rolls Royce, Volkswagen were the only place I could gain valuable industry experience. Turns out, that isn’t the case and sometimes smaller companies are even more valuable because you can’t help but get stuck right in. For me, my placement came as a result of a seemingly normal weekend brunch with a friend. Here, I bumped into a family friend, we got talking and before I knew it, I was chatting to a member of the Adgen team. Just a few days later we were discussing the logistics of a placement year and the rest is history.

How long does a placement need to be?

At first thought, a year in industry in the middle of your university journey can seem like a long time. Some people might opt for three months, others for six. There is no exact science on what works best.

However, reflecting on my placement, I am so glad I chose the option to do a full year. I now feel like any other member of the team, not just a student intern. The relationships I have developed in this time both at Adgen and across the industry are something I just wouldn’t have been able to do without the full 12 months.

So yes, placements can vary in length but just consider the value you would get from the time you spend with the company. In my opinion, the full year is the most valuable way to do it! It provides time to put learnings into practice, nurture your relationships and all in all, get the most from the experience.

The benefits of being on a paid placement.

After saying that 12-months is the best option for a placement, it would be wrong for me to ignore the money aspect of it all. Although you are gaining industry experience that improves the long-term career aspect, working at your local supermarket and getting paid £10 an hour may seem more appealing.

Although non-paid internships can be beneficial, a 12-month placement is likely going to be more achievable with the added bonus of being paid. Personally, placement was my first experience of being in a full-time, paid role. Reflecting on the past year, this has benefitted me in numerous ways. I feel more prepared for a career after university and what used to be the daunting post-education life. Not only that but it has also helped me to stay engaged and motivated during this time, alleviating the financial burden of returning to university post placement.

Placement top tips.

Reflecting on my time at Adgen I have three top tips for anyone considering a placement:

  1. Look locally.

    Universities tend to support you in aiming high; chasing those big, global names, as they should! But remember, hundreds of applicants are doing the same thing so don’t forget to check out the options in your local area.
  2. Keep an open mind.

    At first, a placement can be a daunting process. Some people know exactly what they want and get there with no trouble. That’s great, but for some of us we have no idea on the specifics. When you arrive, keep an open mind, take all the opportunities you can, learn your strengths. Being on a placement is likely the only time you can try different roles in a company, make the most of it.
  3. Say yes!

    I alluded to it my second top tip but just say yes to everything. A placement is the perfect time to trial things out so make the most of this opportunity and take anything that is offered to you. An extra webinar, yes! A work social, yes! An industry event, yes! All of these are learning curves, see what you can get from them.

Whilst every placement is different, these takeaways can help you make the most of it. Whether you are just starting your placement or still looking for one, good luck!