2nd year Amy Taylor who is studying at Royal Holloway's School of Management on the 4 year "Year in Business (YIB) programme" has already secured her placement for next year with Enterprise Rent a Car. In this blog article she talks about her she found the application process and gives a lot of advice for other students looking for placements. 1st years who will be embarking on their placement search later in the year maybe interested to read Amy's advice about starting the process early.
How did you find the application process?
When preparing myself for the application process, I took into consideration the advice from previous YIB students and the placement staff who all suggested starting early and this proved vital in me gaining a placement. Having never held a job in a senior management position before or any real experience in specific company sectors I knew the application process would be challenging and time consuming. After attending many placement advice evenings in my first year, I knew that a CV could make or break your success in finding a placement, so I did my research on what makes a good CV and used the resources available on the university careers page to shape my skills and experience to each job role. I would highly recommend attending the placement events held at University and visiting the careers centre (or at the very least have a read of the website), you will gain valuable information and a better understanding of how your CV is perceived by potential employers.
Initially I did a general google search for the top student employers and recommended placements for management students. Following the advice of the careers staff I then focused my searches on Rate My placement. The book based on this website was a major asset to me narrowing down my placement options, it gave details on each company, explaining the type of positions available and helped me compare the advantages of each firm.
After this stage, I realised how time consuming applying for placements is. Along with repeating all your personal details for each position, you often have to answer multiple questions which vary from mathematical, verbal or scenario. These require a great deal of focus and time, so trying to find time between all your other commitments is very difficult. In my first year we were recommended to start applying early into second year, primarily in the later weeks of 1st term. However, the strongest bit of advice I can offer is it’s never too early! I began applying for placements during the summer after my first year to avoid the stress of applying during my studies. Although there are fewer placements open, you get a head start and get the process moving quicker.
Due to my eagerness to apply very early I was offered to participate in multiple telephone and video interviews. I found these so much easier compared to the daunting online test questions. Centred on my previous experience and skills, it is just an opportunity for you to show your personality and demonstrate what you can offer a company. Confidence is key for this stage in the process, although you do not want to appear to be reading from a script, I found it useful to scribble down some notes before the interviews about examples of key skills and some answers to general interview questions. This preparation ensures you can answer the questions fully and not miss out anything important.
Within 2 months I was offered the opportunity to go to an Assessment centre. I had no idea what to expect and unsure how they would be measuring my ability to perform the job. Fortunately the careers centre held an evening to meet local company representatives. I strongly advise that whilst you attend these events, you should take to time to hang around after and talk to the employers. I took this opportunity to ask them how they run assessment centres and what I should expect. I gained some valuable knowledge as well as networking with these companies. The assessment centre was not what I expected at all. There was a very relaxed atmosphere and an overall great day. You should never be afraid to ask questions or make suggestions. Get stuck into group tasks! They will be looking for leadership qualities and by being confident and making your view heard you will be remembered.
I was very fortunate with the placement process as it was a lot less stressful than expected. However this is only due to me starting very early and getting my name out therefore before the crowds of applications. So get applying early!
What recommendations would you make to that Year in Business students starting in their 1st year at Royal Holloway and their 2nd year?
My advice for 1st years is to not wait until you start second year to start applying for placements. Second year involves a lot of reading and essays, so the last thing you will want to do is to come home from a long day and spend hours in the evening applying for placements. Get your LinkedIn set up early and keep an eye on placement websites during the summer. A contributing factor me being offered my placement was my early application- it demonstrates dedication and eagerness. I would also recommend using the facilities made available to you via the careers centre. The advice on CVs, assessment centres and opportunities to meet potential employers is vital.
Following this I would advise second years not to give up, the application process is very time consuming and frustrating. But persist through and demonstrate confidence and preparation throughout each stage and you will be rewarded eventually.
What is your job title and what projects will you be working on?
I will be working for Enterprise rent-a-car as a management trainee at the Heathrow Airport branch. I will learn how to motivate a team, achieve performance goals and run a branch. Along with regular interactions with customers I will gain a greater understanding of the business world. This placement appealed to me as it incorporated all aspects of my degree and not focused on one particular sector. I hope this will help me decide which sector I wish to pursue in my career.