The good, the bad and the ugly of placement searching!

Caroline McNee at desk

Caroline: Placement Coordinator

As a new member of staff, I thought it might be useful to share my observations of the good and not so good things placement searchers have done, in hope that valuable lessons can be learnt!


Making use of the placement unit: In my short time here, one thing has become very obvious. Students who make appointments for advice, email and call regularly have more success in finding placements. Students who have never made contact with the placement unit previously, have turned up and emailed in these last few weeks, confused as to why they’ve applied for so many placements, but have had no success. At this point you identify that there may be huge flaws in their CV and covering letters – things that could’ve been addressed months ago, had they made contact with us.


Last minute searchers: Some students wait until after their final exams are finished to start making applications. Unfortunately, by this stage most companies have already recruited so suitable opportunities can be a little thin on the ground.


Taking on board advice: We advise students on improvements that need to be made to their job applications both in face to face appointments and by email. The students who take on board what you are saying and make the improvements, are the ones that get ahead.


Ignoring advice: Recently a student has emailed questioning why they’ve not been able to get a placement. Looking back at their journal entries (yes we keep a record of all advice given to you guys), the whole team (on numerous occasions) had explained to them the vital improvements that needed to be made to their CV and covering letters, all of which were ignored. There is literally no point in doing a half-hearted application. You will be competing against students who have taken the time to make improvements and their applications will be of a very good standard, making a half-hearted application stick out like a sore thumb.


Unprofessionalism: Sometimes students will apply for a placement and then decide that the company or location isn’t for them. This has led to students informing us and employers at the very last minute that they will not be attending interviews, or even worse, just not turning up, having not informed the company. The unit works hard to maintain strong relationships with companies and unprofessionalism can jeopardise these relationships. Therefore, instead of coming to DMU to recruit students, they may place an exclusive job advert with another uni, meaning our students miss out.


Being flexible: Students who aren’t picky when it comes to location or company, are more likely to be successful in obtaining a placement. If you are only open to placement opportunities in your home town, then you are hugely restricting yourself, and you’ll be missing out on loads of fabulous opportunities.

Hopefully this is some food for thought for placement searching!

Follow these pointers on what you should be doing in your placement searching year, and what you should avoid doing and you’ll be certain to maximise your chances of success.

Fortunately the vast majority of students are a delight to work with and support, and are extremely proactive, so aspire to be just like them!


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