How to secure a placement
What does it take to secure a year’s placement in industry? Here’s one student’s story:
Every year thousands of students have to arrange a year of work in the real world as part of their degree course. For most it’s a very enjoyable, and very useful, part of their time at uni - as Sheffield Hallam's Jack Maddix found when he spent a year of his BA (Hons) course at Transform, one of the UK’s leading cosmetic surgery providers.
It was back in 2012 when Jack was looking to arrange his internship and things weren’t looking too hopeful. He’d already approached about 20 companies and drawn a blank. Then, one day, an opportunity at Transform popped up on the uni’s placement vacancy website.
Fired up by these two factors Jack set about putting together a killer application. It came in two parts, the first showed off his uni work and the second was packed with research he’d done into the company and the cosmetic surgery industry in general.
It’s this kind of commitment and evidence that you’ve really thought about why you want to work at a particular company or organisation that can make all the difference.
Then it was time for the interview with Transform’s Marketing Project and PR managers. As well as having to talk about why he’d be the best choice of Intern for the company he had to demonstrate it too – both by writing a dummy press release about a new product launch and, a bit weirdly, by drawing a sheep. Jack reckons it was his very lifelike representation of the sheep that clinched things for him!
Once he’d got through the test he was taken on for the year with the title PR and Marketing Executive and threw himself into every area of the job doing everything from writing new leaflets and marketing literature to going on photo shoots. The great news for Jack was that all this experience led to him getting a permanent job with Transform and now he’s their Marketing Co-ordinator helping to develop campaigns and drive the business forward.
As for his advice for students trying to get an internship right now he says, “commercial awareness is key to any role! Make sure that you read any press about the brand - both consumer and trade. For social media content, look at what brands in other categories are doing, and make sure you check all social media channels like Twitter,Facebook an LinkedIn. Most importantly, you really need to be able to write!”