Tag Archives | placement applications

Securing a Placement – Q + A with SBS Students

This blog post was written by three second year students who have recently secured their work placements for next year! Elise Paramore, Calum Glendinning, and Jade Hagger have all given us a look into their Placement Application Journey.

Elise Paramore –  Toyota GB – Marketing Product & Programmes Placement

“The placement application process was a challenge but really insightful. After applying to a number of roles in marketing across a wide variety of industries, I found my placement at Toyota GB in the Digital Marketing team. The application process allowed me to gain a greater understanding of what I want from my career and the skills and experience that I do have to support these things. The Placement Office was incredibly helpful during the process, checking CVs and applications, and offering mock interviews allowing me to understand further what I need to do to secure a placement. My main advice to students applying to placements is to stay true to what you enjoy and to stay determined throughout the process. Rejection and setbacks are difficult but it’s really worthwhile in the end.”




Calum Glendinning – Oracle – Human Resources Placement

“I have recently gained a placement at Oracle, based in Reading for a Human Resources role. The placement process is a stressful experience, however, if you utilise the placement team they are very helpful in supporting you and offering advice. I sent out around 15 initial applications, often failing at the first hurdle, in particular the maths tests proved challenging. I managed to gain 2 interviews and 2 assessment centres from this, where I then consulted the placement team to ask for advice and a mock interview. Fortunately, I was successful at two of these and I selected Oracle as it was more aligned with my career aspirations. My three main advice points are to start applying early, use the placement team for any help and don’t be afraid of rejection throughout the process. Good luck!




Jade Hagger – Williams F1 – Procurement Industrial Placement

As several students from our university have completed placements at Williams F1, Southampton have a very good reputation. As a result of this relationship, to apply for this position I only had to adapt my CV and cover letter and send it off to the Placement Team who submitted the application on my behalf. Soon after, I received and email inviting me to an assessment day – Williams assessment days are usually really early (mine was in mid November) meaning that placement stress is over very quickly if you get the job. Before my assessment day the Placement Team linked me up with a student that had completed the Williams placement two years prior to talk me through the experience and help set expectations for the day. I also met up with my Placement Advisor (Rochelle) who provided further help and practice such as interview preparation. My assessment day consisted of a three minute presentation with no slides or props, a group exercise, one-to-one interviews with department heads, and tours round the site.

The advice that I would give to students looking to get a placement is:

  1. Don’t limit yourself to a certain industry. Apply based on a position you are interested in gaining experience in such as finance, supply chain, HR etc.
  2. Concentrate on applying for as many jobs as you can before midterms and end of semester deadlines to reduce your stress as much as possible as you won’t get as many applications completed when you’re revising

Remember if you need any help with applying to Placements, the SBS Placements Team are always here to help!


Top 10 Tips for Applications

Today we have a guest post from Joe, one of our placement students who is soon to start his placement year working at Morgan Stanley. Whether you are applying for a placement, internship or graduate job, his tried and tested tips should help you during the application process!

  1. Start looking early:

Many schemes open up to applications at the end of summer and recruit on a rolling basis. Spend a few days of your summer noting opening dates and deadlines for applications.

  1. Prepare key documents before the application cycle:

Save yourself time down the line when university work builds up by having already put together your CV and a general cover letter structure over summer. Also, make both a 1-page and 2-page CV, as various companies may state a preference.

  1. Consider the main factors in deciding which jobs to apply for:download1

i. What role do you want to be in? ii. Do you want to work for a large or small company? (both have advantages and disadvantages) iii. Do you want work in another city? (consider relocation costs) iv. Is it a paid position? (salaries can vary greatly)

  1. Research the company and the role you are applying to:

Generic applications get nowhere. Read up on the business news relevant to the firm and about the firm. Go on the firm’s website and look at the recent developments and core values. Read up on what the role will actually entail. Look at intern reviews on websites such as “Rate My Placement”.

  1. Tailor each application to each specific role and company:

All that research you’ve just done should be embedded in your cover letter so you come across as genuinely interested in the position you are applying for.

  1. Apply early:

Once all this is done, get in those applications! This is for two reasons. First, you are more likely to be successful if you get your application in early. Second, you don’t want to have to be filling in applications when it comes to exam season.

  1. Use the resources available to you:

Southampton Business School has a really strong placement team and website – so use them! Get them to go over your applications, do mock interviews with you, and ask for advice.

  1. Interviews – competency questions:

Plan in advance, but don’t try and create an individual answer for every possible competency question you can think of. You will never remember all of them. Instead, know really well about five things you have done in the last 2-3 years that display your skill set. Then when you get asked, “tell me about a time you when displayed skill X”, select your most relevant example and apply the STAR (situation, task, action, result) method to it when giving your answer.

  1. Assessment centres

Arrive early so you are not stressed, and then just be yourself. If feel like you need to act differently, then maybe the company isn’t the right fit for you anyway and you wouldn’t enjoy yourself there. Also, there’s a good chance they’ll call you out during interview if they’re not too sure about the way in which you are presenting yourself.

  1. If all else fails…it’s a numbers game:

There will be many good candidates out there with similar qualities to you, so it all may come down to fine margins. Play the odds and do lots of (quality) applications and something will eventually fall into place!

Wishing the best of luck to Joe next year! 

Share your own application tips with the hashtag #FindYourPlace

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Fake it ’til you make it

The following blog post was submitted by 3rd year BSc Marketing student, Kaya Stefferud.

At the very beginning of the placement ‘hunt’ I was told how difficult it is getting noticed and getting an interview with employers. I spent loads and loads of time making my CV, applications and covering letters to perfection (well, at least I tried…). I spent time on social media increasing my online visibility; I made searches for myself and tried to get an image of what the employers would see if they made a Google search for my name. Luckily for me I have quite a unique name so I rank highly on search engines (#EveryMarketersDream). I passed the first steps of the process with many companies, small, medium and larger sized organizations, including Microsoft and L’Oreal. I found that for me, the challenge wasn’t getting an interview or passing the first step, but actually landing the job when I went to interviews (Numerical tests were also part of my struggles…)

I went to interview after interview, and not getting the job really crushed me. Rejection. Rejection doesn’t help you gain any confidence; which was one of my main struggles in my interviews. Not getting the job won’t make you feel any better, but the key is to not let it crush you; ask the interviewer what you could have done differently, where you could improve, or why you didn’t get the job. Reflect on what you think you could have done better, and make sure you prepare more for your future interviews.

I did get a job in the end. I got the job after the second interview I had for that position. Earlier that day I attended a mock interview with one of the placement officers at the University of Southampton Placement Office, and it prepared me for other questions than I would have thought of myself as well as giving me a confidence boost because I felt more confident about the interview. This mock interview was actually the first one I ever had, I preferred preparing for the interviews on my own or just go through stuff for the interviews in a more relaxed, informal way when I all along really should have had ‘real’ mock interviews.

I hated doing interviews (I still don’t love them), so I didn’t like the idea of mock interviews either, I thought to myself; why make a fool of myself twice for that one interview. I was wrong. If you in fact do mock interviews, you get prepared for questions you might not have thought of yourself, you get to practice, you can get friendly advice, and when you feel more prepared you will be more confidence. And confident people perform better at interviews (from my experience at least). And if you’re like me; shy or insecure when it comes to interviews or presentations; fake it till you make it.

A few tips in the end whatever the area you struggle in:

  • There are many reasons for why you might not have gotten the job; remember how many applicants the employer has, and how many other applicants feel the exact same way as you when they also got rejected for the very same position.
  • Learn from your mistakes and improve your flaws.
  • Never give up.
  • Stay positive, no matter how many rejections you have faced.
  • Fake it till you make it.
  • Compare notes, feedback etc. with other students that are going through the exact same progress and learn from each others’ mistakes as well as your own.

Good luck to you all on finding your placement!