It’s not just experience you need in the 2019 graduate job market to get ahead, it’s relevant industry experience gained from placements.
In 2019, as the number of graduates leaving university and entering the workforce each year continues to steadily rise, placements will become an invaluable way for young people to make a name for themselves in an increasingly competitive marketplace.
With placements typically adding a year to your studies, many students choose not to undergo a year in industry, instead choosing to graduate and begin their search for full-time employment sooner.
However, the latest High Fliers report into the graduate jobs market has revealed that over a third of the UK’s top employers said it is “not very likely” or “not at all likely” that a graduate with no previous experience would be successful in landing a job at their firms – no matter what or where they studied.
Placement opportunities are available at large corporates, small companies and overseas. Thinking about your preferred career after graduation, and then matching it to a relevant placement, make a successful career start more likely. For example, if you have plans to start your own business, a smaller company is likely to be more relevant. Conversely, if prestige and internal career progression is important to you, a major “blue-chip” company is an obvious choice. Choosing the right placement is a key to unlocking these opportunities.
Depending on what you’re looking for and where you want to be after graduation will affect which placement route is best for you.
But what is it about placement experience that employers find so appealing? What will you gain? And why should you do one?
1. On a placement you are given the opportunity to put your theoretical studies to practical use.
This is particularly important in the Tech and other STEM sectors. Being able to demonstrate your ability to apply theory to execution will show employers the skills you possess and how well-rounded you are.
2. Applying for a placement forces you to think about the sector you want to work in and why.
Making this decision sooner rather than later will only work in your favour, and having undergone a placement year shows that you are committed and able to work towards a goal.
3. And a placement year will expose you to various areas within an organisation, helping you understand where you’re going to perform best.
This is appealing to employers because it means you’ll already understand where your strengths lie, and they won’t have to risk putting you into a department where you won’t flourish.
4. Your experience and your gain is hyper-relevant to what future employers are looking for.
General part-time work experience which can teach you valuable skills, isn’t designed for the specific sector you want to get into after university.
5. You learn valuable skills that employers are looking for.
Such as organisation, teamwork, communication, problem-solving and the ability to add value to an organisation.
6. Your CV will have more substance and you’ll have something to talk about beyond academia and societies when in an interview.
An interesting CV with experience to query you on is what many employers are looking for from graduates.
7. The number of placement opportunities is increasing year on year.
According to the latest statistics, almost three-quarters of top graduate employers will be providing paid internships to penultimate year students in 2019, and over two-fifths are hosting course placements as part of a degree course.
8. If your placement year is abroad you’ll stand out even more to prospective employers.
Having the guts to pack up and work overseas proves that you’re a confident and able person who is willing to take a risk and push themselves. You’ll also gain valuable language skills that always help when looking for work.
9. You’ll feel a lot more confident at the end of it.
Entering the working world after three or more years of university can be daunting for anyone, but a placement year will make you more prepared than your peers who chose not to undergo a year in the industry. Having the confidence to apply for roles and communicate well in interviews and assessment centres can be just as important as having the skills to do the job.
If you want to succeed after university, it really helps to embark on a placement year. Whether your course offers it or you need to find one yourself, don’t miss what is proving to be the best opportunity to get ahead of your classmates and secure a top graduate job after you leave education.
Alelion are currently hiring students for their industrial placements.
You can find out more about their opportunities and how to apply by clicking here.
To hear current and past interns share their experiences at Alelion, head over to their YouTube channel.