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If second year was not strenuous enough then throwing placement applications into the mix can cause even the most assertive of students to crumble. The dreaded initial application and the psychometric tests are only the preliminary touch points before the employer actually gets to hear the sound of your voice. Rejections are tough however it is important to be able to pick yourself up and view them as a learning curve; even the most extrovertly confident individual will have faced some sort of rejection in their life. You may get minor setbacks in your journey but your placement destination is imminent.

The key to starting your placement journey is having the correct mentality. So put your best foot forward and walk confidently into your practice interviews, assessment centres and eventually your new workplace. A new pair of shoes to assist you in this journey will never go a miss and may cushion some of those feared rejection emails.


I don’t think it would be an injustice to tell you that I dreamt of a certain placement. Anyone that knows me well knows that I love Marks and Spencers. They are an icon of the British high street and are continually innovating their product and service offering to suit a range of audiences. Their rejection letter after the initial application form fell on me like a ton of bricks; I was devastated. However, after a chat with my Mom (aren’t Moms great) I was more determined than ever to get my placement. Nothing will stop my desire to work for M&S however a placement is a stepping stone into your future career.

I thought it may be useful to share with you my list of objectives I set myself at the start of second year; I know we are concluding Christmas however my objectives may give you an insight and some inspiration into how to go about looking for your placement.

Read placement applications carefully and fully understand the expectations of the role.

Set a dream deadline for when you would like a placement- be realistic (I set my dream deadline for securing a placement for before Christmas because you can enjoy your Christmas holidays and also have sufficient preparation time for January exams without worrying about applications. However if you have not even started applying for applications be realistic in your expectations!.

If you are given an interview- do some research into the company (not just online research- get out of the library and talk to some people!)

For example; I received an offer for Dr Oetker and before my interview I did some field research and had a look around stores that sold their products to see where they were placed and any POS material

For my assessment centre with Volkswagen I visited a local dealership and sat down with the brand manager to discuss Volkswagen’s objectives and what it is like to work for Volkswagen; I also had an insight into their brand strategy which was very useful in my interview.Prepare competency questions and practice- always have a backup example

Get friends or family to interview you and to ask further questions- I found this really useful and putting some time aside to practice your answers and anticipated questions will really help you in an interview situation.

Get CV checked by Careers as early as possible!

Careers are there to help and are experts in picking out deficiencies and sore points in your CV- they are also there to praise what you have done and can put your mind at ease if you are worried about the quality of your CV.

Be proactive and get your CV checked in advance- Careers have a backlog of CVs to check so get yours in early and with plenty of time in order to make amends.

Book a practice interview with Careers

Put your mind at ease and book a practice session. The careers team are really helpful and know where students slip up in interviews. Give careers plenty of notice for your practice interview. Be proactive- even if you have not got an interview in the immediate future book an interview because you will have one eventually and practise helps make perfect.

Hope you find this useful! Your shoes are ready to take you on a placement journey; whatever brand or style you may wear.


Post Author: sophie

My name is Sophie Beckley and I am a BSc Marketing Student at Aston University; I am currently working as Sales Development Executive for Volkswagen Group UK in the Volkswagen Passenger brand. To give you a snapshot, some of my responsibilities include helping to look after the Mystery Shopping programme, Sales Operations Events and Volkswagen Video.