Tag Archives: CV/Interviews/Applications

Thinking about studying abroad?

Thinking about studying abroad?

Honestly, I did not really plan on studying abroad. My initial plan was to work abroad for a year and then go back home and complete my degree. However, life doesn’t always go to plan and it was extremely hard to find a work placement or internship abroad which were interesting apart from teaching.

I am studying abroad in Ankara, which is Turkey’s capital city. Yes, I know, I thought Istanbul was the capital too. But, it was a superb decision to study abroad and I have immensely enjoyed the semester I’ve spent here.

So here are some tips on studying abroad for your placement year/exchange:

Number one:

Find out what is being offered by your university. Go to the international placements team, ask questions, and find out which countries your university has links with. Pretty much go crazy with researching. Don’t forget to find out what type of funding you are entitled to receive too.

Number two:

Now that you have a vague idea about where you would like to study abroad, give your parents a heads up. Yeah, you are legally an adult, but you can’t just randomly pack your bags and tell your parents on the day that you are spending four or more months abroad.

Number three:

Now you will need to start the application process. For me it was pretty straightforward since I pretty much stayed in Europe, so had to go through Erasmus. Erasmus is basically the European exchange program.

I rewrote my CV and cover letter, went through the interviewing process and a few emails and stuff later…wala! I had secured my place as an Erasmus/exchange student.

http://www.erasmusprogramme.com/study_abroad.php  (Want to find out more about the Erasmus program? Click on the link)

Number four:

DON’T MISS DEADLINES! My initial plan was to go to another country, but sadly I had missed the January application deadline due to all my exams. I pretty much forgot to apply because I was so busy.

Number five:

Don’t over pack. You can go shopping when you move into your accommodation. Not like you are moving to the middle of nowhere. If you are though….. erm…. You might have some issues.

Number six:

Get a valid visa, make sure you have all the insurance stuff which you need and book your flights accordingly.

Number seven:

Go to your chosen study abroad destination and settle in. Meet new people and enjoy the “honey moon” stage.

Number eight:

Don’t think about home too much, limit talking to friends back home you will see them when you are back. Try to enjoy your time abroad.

Number nine:

Don’t forget to study. You are still a student and you know… your grades abroad will still affect your grades back home.

Number ten:

Time flies. So have as much fun as you can. Before you know it, you’ll be back home again reminiscing the time you lived in another country on your own.

The video below inspired me to study abroad. What he shows and talks about is so relevant. I’ve only been in Turkey for a few months and I’m not the same 20 year old I was back home. I’ve grown so much as a person…and will continue to grow during my stay here. 

First date of placement search

Hola chicos y chicas.

I know I have not been posting about placement advice lately but this post is about it.

Today, I’m going to write about interviews. Placement interviews are like your first dates (I’m just going to assume that you had a couple of them), where rule number one is to impress the girl or the boy so that you can have a second date. Is the same with placement interviews. You have to be on your top shape and look flawless.


I’m going to tell you what you should not do when you go on an interview. Once again they will sound like common sense but since I have seen a lot of people doing it, I will just refresh your memories.

  1. When discussing the interview time make sure you have the right time, especially if the interview is with a company from another country. I have received a lot of e-mails of people telling me British time, I know the difference but I have friends who don’t know the difference and do not have time to go and check. Then you miss your interview and cause a bad impression


  1. Make sure you allow yourself enough time to get there. If the interview is over Skype, check the connection and practice with a friend or a family member. I have had to call candidates numerous times because they are in a place with a bad connection or sometimes I have to scream so that they can understand what I’m saying. Then there is the odd one that blames us (like for real).

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Hola chicos y chicas !!!


I hope everything is going well with your exams and essays. You can do it, if you got into Uni that means you are smart; now let’s change the subject.

So, this blogpost is not about your exams or intelligence. It’s about your placement passport, a.k.a Curriculum Vitae, your CV is what differentiates you from the other candidates (apologies for the big word).

Your placement passport, should contain all the important and relevant information about you and your academic/professional life. It can also be considered your advert or sales pitch to the company that you are applying to. Therefore, it should be perfect, flawless, picture-perfect and whatever adjective you want to use to describe it.  As a result of my placement, I have seen a lot of placement passport, which puts me in a position where I can give you valuable tips. You know when I say I’m going to give you some tips, I mean I’m about to tell you some of the horrendous things I have seen (relax, I’m not talking about you, the CVs from Aston are good).

cv pharmacy


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2015 is your year!

Never mind all the new year new you rubbish, there’s nothing you need to change about yourself, but 2015 is the year that Aston gives you an amazing opportunity. This opportunity is to land a placement of your dreams. Exams and coursework deadlines are probably pressing hard, but the perfect revision break can be to apply for a placement online or to get that cover letter written.

If you haven’t made any applications yet or really given it a thought, well know is the time. It’s certainly not too late but many of the bigger companies will be closing their applications soon, so make sure you get in there.

Give it some thought about what you want to do and what you want to learn. Make sure your CV and cover letter are tailored to each application and you’re well on your way. Doing a bit of research about the company and any recent projects they have done won’t do any harm either.

In 6-9 months time you’ll be starting your placement. For some this may seem ages away, others may find the time scale daunting. The best thing to do is crack on and get applying.

Good luck with all your exams and coursework deadlines. They are something you definitely won’t miss on placement! Go on…do an application now!

Happy New Year!

Make 2015 start with a bang

Make 2015 start with a bang


If I were in your shoes again, I’d try to walk more confidently in those shoes.


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.

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What I was doing this time last year…

So it’s nearly time to head home for Christmas and unbelievably I am nearly half way through my placement. It has been such a fantastic experience with such valuable knowledge learnt. However, last year I was not sitting so comfortably and was worried about getting an internship. Therefore any thoughts, concerns and worries I had I thought I would share with you, just so if you’re thinking the same it will all work out okay! All it takes is some hard work, preparation and perseverance.

1) Checking websites! Pretty much every day was spent checking through the Aston futures website or other great alternatives such as ratemyplacement.co.uk. If you set aside a couple of hours a week and check through for placements you won’t miss any new ones and will get first dibs.

2) Creating my CV! I had my CV written and then checked over my by placement co-ordinator. Jane (LSS) really helped to shape the document and make sure only essential information was in there. Show it to your friends and parents too. The more people that see it the better it will be and will remove any slight errors.

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The First Step in My Placement Journey

When I started applying for placements, I had no idea what to expect and didn’t really know that much about going through the application process. Now looking back there are a lot of things I would have done differently, and I’m really grateful to have gone through the experience (I feel much more prepared for applying to Graduate Schemes now!).

One of the biggest lessons I have learnt is that you should start applying early, not only because many of the bigger companies close early but to have time to get a feel for the process. It is beneficial to apply to some of the less competitive placements first; gaining invaluable experience on what companies look for in applications, how assessment centers work and how to prepare for interviews. All of this puts you on a better footing for when you are applying to placements that you’re really keen on getting!

When I first started looking for the placement, I made the most of the career services at Aston. They’re there to help with CV and Cover Letters as well as mock interviews. This is really worthwhile as they have some great advice and can really help you improve before the real thing. Some companies, including PWC, offer mock interviews, which isn’t something I made the most of at the time but I’m sure is a really great opportunity! Aston also have a lot of Career Fairs, which is a great chance to meet representatives from organisations you may be interested in and ask some valuable questions.

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The devil’s playground of placement search

Hola chicos y chicas.

How is the essay preparation going? To be honest I don’t feel sorry for you because it will all pay off (I know the feeling will be the same when I go back to Uni and you guys are on your placement, so don’t hate me).

By now, you are probably trying to find a balance between University work and looking for a placement and if you are control freaks like me you are stressing and pulling your hair because YOU HAVEN’T SECURED A PLACEMENT YET.

Let me tell you something, sit down and relax because you still have time.  If you are looking for a placement in the UK then you should have your CV and cover letter ready but if you are interested in doing your placement abroad then you have plenty of time.

Your CV and cover letter are your “friend request” to the company and you may think that they won’t look at your profile but they will.  They are always looking for faults and if they can’t find one on your CV they will definitely find it on Facebook.

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