Here at Campus Jobs, we understand the importance of Placements, whether these are year long credit bearing ones or short term internships during holiday periods. Gaining “on the ground” employer/company knowledge and working skills is crucial when it comes to looking for the best jobs upon graduation.
Taking a placement year or carrying out an internship also provide you with a whole host of skills and experience you can draw upon in your applications for Campus Jobs roles (and vice versa, make sure to mention your Campus Jobs in your placement/internship applications!).
For our first placement profile from our help desk team (there will be 2 more through the course of the year, and a podcast!) We spoke to Sadie Arnold, who during her 3rd year of her course completed a placement year in HP Inc.
Name: Sadie Arnold
University degree: Consumer Behaviour and Marketing BSc
Placement company: HP Inc.
Placement role: EMEA Communications Intern
Where did you do your placement and what was your role there? I completed a 13 month placement at HP Inc. (the one that sells printers not the brown sauce!), as part of the EMEA Communications team, which is an area of marketing.
How did you find the company you interned for? I found my placement role in a slightly unusual way compared to most. After attending the University careers fair and speaking to Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), I decided I would like to apply for a role there. However, somehow during this process I actually applied for HP Inc. instead of HPE, which is a totally different company!
What was the application process like? Every application process varies, and for HP Inc. I just had to submit my CV. However, the other placement roles I applied for required me to answer multiple competency questions before I could submit my application. I also didn’t have to submit a cover letter as it was optional, although looking back I think this would have been a good idea as it gives the employer a better insight into your personality and whether you’ll fit the culture of that company.
What were your main tasks? My role mostly involved assisting the general running of the Communications team, meaning there was a lot of variation day-to-day regarding what I could be working on. Some regular tasks I was responsible for included monitoring emails from the media, producing LinkedIn content for a corporate leader of HP in UAE, and producing a weekly internal report to recap the coverage across EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa). I also got to attend a range of different product launch events and trade shows, which were a great opportunity to learn more about the industry.
How did you manage your time working 9-5? Do you have any tips? As soon as I arrived at work I would make a to-do list for the day, making sure it wasn’t too lengthy or unrealistic. I found it really motivational to cross-off each task I had completed, no matter how big or small! Mid-afternoon I would also create a to-do list for the next day, ensuring I could manage expectations surrounding deadlines if anything had taken longer than expected.
What were the highlights of your placement? The huge amount of insight I gained into the world of marketing, events and communications was a definite highlight from my time on placement, as it gave me direction of where I’d like to work after university. I also really enjoyed the intern social life, as there was a strong sense of community and I got to take part in things I never normally would – like doing the Tough Mudder!
Were there any lows? I definitely came across a few challenges during my placement. I worked along-side another intern in the same role as me, which was useful when collaborating ideas for new projects, but also had some drawbacks. We rarely had sole responsibility for big tasks, making it harder to gain individual recognition for our achievements. There was also an office relocation half-way through the year, which resulted in a 2 hour commute each way to work, after I had already moved to London for the job.
What have you taken away from the experience? Following on from the lows, I think the best skill I have taken from the experience is my increased resilience. The challenges I faced forced me to step outside of my comfort zone and find a solution, and in hindsight I think this enabled me to grow more than I may have done if it was all ‘plain-sailing’.
What advice would you give to others looking at arranging their placement years? The main thing I would advise students looking into a placement is to do everything you can to try and get one, as no matter what the role involves, it will provide you with invaluable life experience that will positively impact far more than just your CV when applying for future jobs. It can be difficult to get started and even harder to stay motivated if you are facing rejection after rejection, or maybe your friends at University will be staying on while you’re gone, however investing in your degree by doing a placement year will be one of the best decisions you could make during your time as a student.
Stay tuned on the Campus Jobs social media for our upcoming Placements Podcast!