Now that you’ve got your CV and Cover Letters ready to go, applications are going to start opening for next year’s positions. And you’re going to need to keep on top of the game.
Below are a few tips on how to stay organised while trying to juggle placement applications, uni work, socialising and part-time jobs. Whoever said student life was a breeze?!
1. Get a diary/planner
There are going to be deadline dates and application opening dates flying at your from left, right and centre. You will need to make a note of them so you don’t miss the closing date. For some of the placement application processes, they ask you to complete some online tests by a specific date after applying so you will also need to keep these dates in mind too.
Organise your time so that you know when you have class, study time (if you’re into that), social time, work time and also set aside some time to search for placements. If you don’t block out some time each week, you’ll fall behind and could miss the chance to apply for some great placement opportunities.
Make sure you note deadlines a week before they happen so that you’re not rushing your application on the day that the position closes.
2. Set up email alerts
I would definitely recommend doing this one. I received weekly email alerts from Indeed to notify me of ‘jobs that may suit you’ which were always placements and internships centred around PR, Marketing and Communications.
It’s useful as they may alert you on positions you might have missed during your search. I know looking through websites like Indeed etc. may seem tedious and lengthy but most large companies post their positions on here.
Other websites that I received email alerts from were Target Jobs, Prospects and Rate My Placement. If I had to recommend one, it would definitely be Indeed.
3. Take note
One thing I would really recommend doing is making a note of the role that you have applied for at each company. A lot of the roles you apply for may have totally different descriptions and may be completely different roles. For example, you may apply for Digital Media Assistant at Apple, PR Assistant at Boohoo and Internal Communications Assistant at Microsoft.
These companies could ring out of the blue for a mini phone interview and it would be a little bit embarrassing and a total flop if you start talking about how amazing you are at social media and knowing influencers and press when you’ve applied to the internal communications position.
The person on the other end of the phone may open with ‘Why do you think you would be most suitable for this role?’ Imagine the panic when you can’t remember what the role was that you applied for. This happened to me. I’m speaking from experience. It was also my day off of uni and the company rang at 9am. Not my greatest phone interview, I can assure you.
And when you’re applying to so many around the same time, you’re really not going to remember all of the different roles so please make a note of them! Log them all in a notebook like this:
Date applied : Title of role : Company name : Application deadline
Making a note of the deadline will give you a bit of an idea of when to expect a response from the company. Once I heard back from a company I would then go back and highlight in my book – green if I progressed to next stage and pink if I didn’t.
4. Be prepared
There usually isn’t much time between getting accepted for an interview, and the actual interview. When I completed my phone interview with Coty I was then told I had progressed to the assessment centre day – two weeks away. This meant I had to arrange my train travel from Liverpool and book a hotel that was close to the office.
I was also at an internship when I received the phone interview, which I carried out in the ladies bathroom at Influential PR. I had no notes, just improvising and rhyming off what I had practised to say when it came to interviews. Be prepared.
5. The ‘On-going’ deadline
Keep an eye out for this one. A lot of the larger companies that receive thousands of applications, like to use this term for their deadline. They usually have a limit of how many applications they want to receive. Once they receive this number, they then close the applications.
For these placement positions you need to apply as early as possible to make sure you are considered. Don’t put it off and think you have lots of time, more often than not, you don’t.
The hardest part about placement searching is starting to search. Once you get into the way of it, you’ll notice more and more applications opening up and will be accustomed as to how to apply.
6. Take your time
The usual procedure for the application process follows this path: upload your CV and Cover Letter, take part in some psychometric tests, complete a phone interview and then attend an assessment centre.
Some applications can be quite brief, but others may take a few hours. There may be lengthy questions on your application that you need to answer that may require some thought.
Take a note of the questions, draft your answers and if you can, show them to a tutor or careers teacher to get their opinion on how you can improve your answer. Just don’t take too long to finish the application and miss the deadline!
Once you get to your fifth lengthy application, you may be losing the will to live as the questions seem to be quite repetitive. Maybe that was just me. Whatever you do though, don’t rush it. Think carefully about your answers and definitely draft and read over them before you hit ‘send’. Take your time and answer as best as you can.
7. Get yo’ head in the game
It’s recommended to apply for 20-30 placements. Seems like a hell of a lot of applications right? I feel ya. But it makes sense. The more you apply to, the more likely you are of getting a placement.
Coty may have been the first one that I applied to and I ended up being successful, but I still applied to another 15 while I was waiting to hear back. I may not have been passionate about some of the positions that I was applying to, but in my head experience was experience.
Give yourself the best possible chance and apply to as many as you can. Just please, please make a note of all the ones that you apply to or you’ll never remember them.