Monday, 16 September 2013

Come Back Brighter

The beginning of term is nigh! It is hard to fathom how things have come around again quite so quickly. In the next couple of weeks students across the country will take the first steps of their placement journey with organised lectures and the scrum to book a CV appointment with their placement officer. It tends to be an extremely busy time of year so please be patient but persevere!

One topic that may be touched upon but is unlikely to be covered in detail at this early stage of the process is rejection. Funnily enough when pitching the idea of undertaking a placement year to an audience mixed with keenies and the apathetic, the 'R' word is not one of the most encouraging in the dictionary. And yet for me it is probably one of the most important words that arise from the placement hunt because it is often how a student responds to rejection that will determine if they will ultimately be successful in securing a placement.

Of the 160-odd students from my courses who secured a placement during academic year 2012/13 I would estimate that 95% of them tasted rejection before receiving an offer. Very few students secure the first placement they apply for, so unless you are positive that you will be in that lucky 5%, it is something that you are going to have to come to terms with.

I'm not going to pretend that rejection is a good thing. I know from my own personal experience just how frustrating and demotivating it can be to throw your heart and soul into something and not get the rewards that you feel your efforts merit. But there are two ways to react to a setback when job hunting. You can throw your toys out of the pram, be angry and halt all applications to protect yourself from future disappointment, or you can come back brighter, harnessing all negative feeling and using it as motivation for future challenges.

The second option is what I will be encouraging my students to follow as they begin their quest for a placement starting Summer 2014. There is a long way to go between now and then, during which time most placement seekers will experience setbacks. As most of my students who secured a placement last year can testify, the first hurdle is not the end of the race. Get past it and there is still a reward to chase down.

Good luck to everybody looking for a placement this year. Keep your eye on #PlacementChat throughout the coming months where RateMyPlacement, a range of employers and I will be on hand to answer your placement questions. Hope to see you there.
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Thursday, 5 September 2013

The Placement Seeker's Bible

If you're about to embark on a search for a placement or internship starting in summer 2014, you may be wondering where on earth to start looking for information about companies that offer student opportunities. Fortunately those nice people at RateMyPlacement have published their guide to the Top Undergraduate Employers for 2013-14 in which they list the Top 75 companies based upon the reviews of students who have worked at these organisations. They've even thrown in sections for Small and Medium Sized Employers to boot.

There will be physical copies of these guides available at universities in the very near future, but if you can't wait to get your teeth into the publication, you can access an electronic version below.

Happy placement hunting!
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