Blue, yellow, and purple neon signs reading

Placement Ambassador Kaitlin shares how to perfect your placement search

  • 18 December 2019
  • 5 min read

Placement Ambassador Kaitlin shares her thoughts on placement search perfection. Spoiler alert: It’s easier than you think…

It’s that time of year, isn’t it? Winter deadlines are mostly done, and your mind is finally wandering back to your Placement search. Don’t worry, you haven’t left it too late. There’s still plenty of time to find an amazing Placement opportunity. You’ve actually got until the end of August to secure a role. But that doesn’t mean you should leave it until then.

If you’re anything like I was during my placement search, you’re probably doing a really good job of procrastinating your applications. Maybe you’ve got a few great job ads bookmarked, but you’re not sure if they’re 100% for you. Maybe you don’t think your CV is flawless enough yet. Maybe you’re scared that applying will actually lead to scary interviews. You want it to be perfect, right?

Well, let me stop you right there. I hate to break it to you, but you are never going to have a perfect placement process. Because perfect doesn’t exist! And more than that, it doesn’t matter.

Placement ambassador Kaitlin filming brand social content at Debenhams

Me smashing a bottle of gin while filming brand social content while at Debenhams

Placement ambassador Kaitlin filming brand social content at Debenhams

You’re allowed to make mistakes!

The Perfect Placement Role

Two things hold students back when selecting roles to apply for. They either think they aren’t qualified enough to match the job description, or they think the role isn’t exactly what they want to do.

First off, employers don’t expect you to know EVERYTHING. Believe it or not, they’re well aware that they’re hiring students who aren’t yet fully qualified. Sure, it’s great if you meet the job requirements perfectly. But employers are just as interested in students who have only some of the relevant skills if they also show potential and are keen to learn.

I always tell students to be open-minded in their placement search. When I was looking for mine, I considered any job that was at least half what I wanted to do. Unfortunately, there’s no job out there which is entirely perfect. You’re always going to have to do a few tasks which you don’t love. That’s just life. But if a role has some aspects that you think you’d be brilliant at and enjoy, apply! An industry placement is just the first step on your journey, and you never know where it could lead…

The Perfect Placement Application

I think if I’d spent less time proofreading and obsessing over my applications, I’d probably have applied for twice as many. I was really lucky that one of my earlier applications was successful, if it hadn’t been, I’d have been in trouble by applying for so few!

The Creative Careers team are such a great resource to have at your disposal. Use them and trust them, they know what they’re talking about. If you want them to check over your CV, cover letter or application, even just for peace of mind, they’re totally happy to.

The perfect application doesn’t exist, there’s no way to know exactly what an employer expects to see. All you can do is appear keen and invested in the role, do your homework on the company and double-check your application for errors and typos. Do that, get it checked over and then hit apply! After all, a slightly imperfect application still gives you a better chance than one you never actually get round to submitting.

Male student looks down at laptop

In bed, in the library, wherever! Just get applying!

The Perfect Placement Interview

Interviews are always going to be slightly scary experiences. In fact, it’s good to be a bit nervous because it shows that you care about the role you’re applying for. But don’t waste a second stressing about your interview going perfectly. Because it probably won’t, and that’s completely fine.

By the interview stage, employers already think you’re qualified for the job, or you wouldn’t have gotten that far. Take confidence from that. In my experience, interviews are really to see what you’re like and how you’d fit into the team. So all you can do is try to relax and be yourself. I know that’s easier said than done, so my three tips for acing an interview are:

  1. Prepare. Read interview guides and think of answers to potential questions. Think of questions you want to ask them (they love that). Find out as much about the business and its values as you can. As my Dad always says, prior preparation prevents poor performance!
  2. Reprogram. The feeling of stress/nerves is actually remarkably similar to feeling excited. A tip that’s helped me is to pretend that your butterflies are actually Christmas-level excitement. Try thinking ‘Woo, interview today, buzzing!’ I know it’s cheesy, but it actually works.
  3. Remember they’re just people. They might be the scary job-gatekeepers but they probably also love memes and Game of Thrones and sometimes forget to send birthday cards to their family. They aren’t perfect individuals, and they don’t expect you to be either. Just take deep breaths and use your interview as an opportunity to get to know them too.

So there you have it, the truth about perfect Placements. If you make a mistake, you’ll either learn from it or it won’t even matter. So what are you waiting for? Have faith in yourself and get applying. And don’t forget your Creative Careers team are here to help you every step of the way.

Have your say

If you’re one of our students in the Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries and have a suggestion for something you’d like us to write about, or you'd like to contribute your own story, please let us know by emailing creative-careers@port.ac.uk.

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