Archive | skills

New Year, new placement goals!

It’s the New Year, and most students have reached the half-way point on their placement. By now, you have settled into your role and the company, and can do your day-to-day job pretty darn well. In fact, you can probably do it so well that sometimes it feels a bit repetitive or even boring. This is not good for you or your employer, so what can you do about it?


Reflect on your role and think about how you could improve what you do

blog1Think about other functions within the business

blog2Plan your personal development


Once you’ve identified something that you’d like to do whilst still on placement, you have the most important step to take: speak to your line manager and let them know what you are thinking. Make positive suggestions about what you’d like to do during the rest of your time on placement, and discuss the possibility of taking on additional things to improve your skills and knowledge. If you’ve found an online course that you’d like to do, and it would benefit you in the current role, you can ask your manager if you can set aside some working time to study the course.

The key in all this is to be active and drive your own development. Employers are generally very happy to accommodate your development requests as long as it doesn’t have a negative effect on the business. I hope you’re able to come up with some exciting goals for the next few months!


Secured a placement!

This post was written by second year BSc Accounting and Finance student, Della.


Hi everyone, I hope your placement search is going well! I was recently lucky enough to be given an offer for a global investment bank – and it was my first placement application! I would like to share my experience with you, along with some tips I hope you will find useful.

Take time on your applications

As this was my first application, I had little experience of doing placement applications, and so spent a lot of time on it to make sure I showcased all the relevant skills for the job I was applying for. This helped me a lot. It is much better to spend a significant amount of time on each application, rather than sending off quick fire applications which tends to be a waste of time. I would say the most important thing is sending your application to your placement advisor as they can easily see any areas for improvement. The placement team have a huge amount of experience and are extremely friendly so please use their help!

Prepare well for the interview

As soon as I found out I got through to the assessment centre stage, I only had a week to prepare and of course was a little nervous. I contacted Rob, my placement advisor, and he devised a set of possible questions that would typically come up in the competency based interview. I then thought of a situation I could use to showcase each skill such as team working, leadership and problem solving, typed some answers out and practised saying them out loud to friends. Please note that the skills they ask about in your interview are highly based on the skills they are looking for in the job description, so read this carefully beforehand. Lastly, I definitely recommend having a mock interview with your placement advisor as it improves your confidence massively before the “real thing”.

Group task at assessment centre

As part of my assessment centre, I had a group task in which we had to read some documents individually, before having a group discussion/debate about the topics at hand, all whilst being observed. My advice for this session would be to make sure you write down the main points that you gathered from reading the articles, so you can remain engaged in the discussion and also build upon your teammate’s points. The key thing is to work with your teammates, not against them! Remember that a lot of interviews are done on a rolling basis, so if you all impress, you could all be successful. Although you want to stand out from the crowd, working with teammates shows that you can listen to other people’s contributions to create a well balanced argument, and that you are a ‘people person’.

Attitude at assessment centre

Your attitude at an assessment centre makes a huge difference, as you are not only trying to impress the interviewer with your skills but also trying to make them like you and want to work with you. It is a two sided thing. It goes without saying, but smiling will show interviewers your enthusiasm and willingness to learn/take initiative if you do get the job. You will inevitability be nervous in this kind of situation, but being yourself will show the interviewer your real personality and many companies really value honesty and integrity in their employees.

Thank you for reading my blog post and good luck with the rest of your placement search!


Shout out to Rob, my placement advisor, for helping me with my application, and the whole of the placement team as they are amazing and most of these tips were given by them. I really appreciate your help!



How to succeed in those first few months

Starting a placement is exciting. We love talking to students right after they’ve started (we have a first week catch up call with them all) and hear what their early experiences in a real job are like. Although there’s often the usual struggles – like waking up early and getting to work by 9am every morning (welcome to the real life, dear students!) – they’re all making the most of the experience and tell us that being able to apply their degree knowledge to a real working environment is great fun and a welcome challenge.

If you’re about to start your placement soon, and are wondering how to make the most of the year from the very start, here are some great tips to get you started from and LinkedIn.

Don’t try too hardsuccess-quotes_13266-5

If you’re the confident type you might want to try and impress your new workmates by being pushy or sharing your ideas openly. Try not to do this; you’ll have time later on and you won’t be expected to come into a new situation and have all the answers.


See your manager as someone you help, not someone who tells you what to do

Offer-Help-to-Your-ReadersYes, in theory, your manager gets to tell you what to do. In practice, that’s probably not why she hired you.

Here’s a better approach: Your manager has things she needs to get done. See your job as helping her get those things done. The more you help her achieve her goals and targets the more highly you will be valued.

Plus you’ll find it’s a lot easier to work hard when you feel you’re helping someone instead of obeying them. And you’ll enjoy your work more too – it’s a lot more fun and an infinitely more rewarding to help than to comply.

Go the extra mile – and often

Early on you probably don’t have all the skills you need. You probably don’t have all the experience. You probably don’t have all the contacts and connections.

But you can have the willingness to work extremely hard.

Work hard and everyone around you will forgive a certain lack of skill and experience. They’ll know you’re trying – and sometimes, at least for a while, that’s all that matters.


You can read the full articles and get more awesome tips by clicking on the above links.


How can social media help you find a placement?


social media blog 1social media blog 2



BEWARE your online reputation.

It’s important to remember that social networks are public and there are consequences for what you post – even if your intensions aren’t malicious.

How to manage your online reputation

Keep language and tone professional

Never post something you wouldn’t be comfortable sharing with an employer

Photos, content and comments can give an employer an insight into your values, as well as confirm claims you make in your CV or at interviews

Use a professional photograph in your profile

Join relevant groups, follow employers, and write about your work experience


When used responsibly social media can be used to create and promote your own brand and sign post you to job opportunities


Check out the FBLA Placement Office Social Media



How to stand out from the crowd: Placement Applications

 How much do you know about the career path you wish to follow post studies?

dream job

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

strength and weeknesses


Third Year, BSc Accounting and Finance student, Joe Knowles, recently wrote an excellent blog considering the value of year-long internships to summer internships. However, in order to stand out in your year-long placement applications, amongst fierce competition from other undergraduates, you might wish to consider a summer internship.

Placement Application Challenges

Applying for a placement year can be challenging in many ways. How much do you know about the industry you will be applying to? Have you applied for jobs before, experienced assessment centres and interviews? One way to prepare yourself for your placement year job search is to undertake a trial run by applying for a summer internship.

Summer Internship Benefits

By taking part in an internship you will develop employability skills, explore a career path and gain insight into a business and its culture: as well as gaining confidence. In addition, your employment experience will enable you to accumulate evidence of your abilities to demonstrate various competencies in your placement applications, talk about at interview and best of all you can stand out from the crowd by fulfilling the criteria ‘previous experience desirable’.

Where to look for a internships……

Many companies offer students summer internships which they advertise on their websites. The length of an internship is usually between 10 and 13 weeks, starting June/July time. Application timescales vary from company to company as do their application procedures. Whilst many companies only recruit penultimate year students for summer internships – which is a way for companies to test drive talent and find future employees, there are some who will accept applications from first year undergraduate students.

Alternatively, send out speculative applications to companies or search Southampton University’s Excel Internship programme by visiting: