Placement Advice to a Gold Scholar:
On a lot of people’s minds this year- placement hunting!
Getting placements can be a challenging time. It’s likely to be your first set of applications to industry specific jobs, so there is a lot of learning involved. While the practise that comes from these applications is invaluable, the end goal is securing that placement by the end of the academic year. Fortunately, with the Gold Scholarship, we have a lot of advantages at our disposal to help with these application processes- so here’s some advice to help you make the most of it!
Utilise Your Network
One of the most crucial aspects of the Gold Scholarship is the skills and opportunities it gives you to expand your network. The mentoring database has professionals from a variety of disciplines, who are willing and able to help your in your first steps into your career path. Don’t be afraid to reach out to someone; making that first contact is the hardest part! Most of the Gold mentors are happy to look over application documents like CVs and covering letters, which is a resource we are incredibly fortunate to have.
It’s not just your Mentoring network that is useful- our network of Gold Scholars has grown a lot since our first year in 2017! This is the first year we have students that have come back from a placement, and if you want advice from any of them don’t be afraid to send them a message. Some may have insider knowledge on the company you’re applying for that could help you in your application.
Celebrate Your Volunteering
If you’re applying for placement in your second year, you’ve done (at the very least) 50 hours of volunteering. This is a wealth of experience that would provide excellent examples in interviews! Can you think of a time you lead a project and that went well? Tell us about a time you worked in a team, and how that went. Have you ever faced a difficult challenge you’ve had to overcome? Examples in placement interviews don’t have to be work experience based, so don’t be afraid to get those volunteering hours known!
Furthermore, volunteering can convey to a company your values. Many companies that you will apply for will have a Corporate Social Responsibility strategy- raising money for charity, doing community work. Relating this to your volunteering is a great way to show a company that you’ve read up on these strategies, and that you’ll fit into their culture.
Deploy Your Skills
Aside from volunteering, the Gold Scholarship provides a great chance to develop your skills.. From team building events, to career planning talks, to professional skills sessions (and don’t forget the networking!). If you believe they are relevant, make sure you mention them to employers. It shows you’ve taken initiative in your learning and you can go into interviews confidently knowing that you’re just as prepared as anyone else!
Finally, remind yourself of each of the aspects that make you, your background and your journey building up to your application. On the Gold Scholarship, we have worked as hard as anyone to get to where we are. Be proud of what you’ve achieved and the challenges have overcome. Placement processes are difficult, but keep reminding yourself of all the other times you have overcome obstacles. It’ll be worth it in the end!
So good luck, I hope this advice helps. My name is Sophie Christie and I am the Communications Officer for our Gold Scholarship Programme.