Category Archives: Harjap Bassi

Reflecting on my placement year…

The time has flown so fast, especially since we hit 2018! If I had a choice to repeat this year then I would do! I have come so far in my personal development due to my placement and fulfilling my hobbies. No doubt I still criticise myself about not completing all the goals I have on my list or having lazy weeks but I try and remind myself to be proud of how far I’ve come.

My placement year

I was actually trying to think about how much I have grown professionally because of my placement and it was really hard to think. Why? Because the skills you develop become second nature to you that you actually forget that you didn’t have these skills before you started! But I know I have come so far in my professional development and that is all thanks to my placement and the team I am part of. I would love to meet the Harjap from May 2017 so I could actually see how far I’ve come! But trust me I have come far! Goodbye to placements and hello to applying for graduate roles. Bring it on!

My placement has given me exposure to the different types of marketing there are and I now have a better idea of the sorts of things I love and want to pursue. I am glad I didn’t give up on applying for a placement because now I have an insight into work life and a better idea of where I would like to take my career. I didn’t secure my placement until early June so don’t worry – you still have time to secure yours if you haven’t already, but make sure you put the hard work into finding one!

Photography

I was re-reading my blog post from January where I had just started my photography page on Instagram and taking pictures. It’s May and I’ve come far! I remember worrying about my editing skills and wondering when I would be able to get the Adobe apps. I bought the apps spontaneously last month. I thought to myself I can’t wait ten million years for this, I need to do it now! It’s been 5 months since I started my page and I feel like I have come so far in terms of editing and taking pictures. I still have a long way to go, but I’m blessed.

Where have I been taking pictures?

In February, I took a day trip to Liverpool where I took many pictures. Here’s one:

RETRO 🕺🏾

A post shared by JAPPY (@jappy_visions) on

In April, I went to Cannock Chase Forest and two local nature reserves.

Follow the path 👁 – – – – – – – #divine_forest

A post shared by JAPPY (@jappy_visions) on

I am now planning to try and go to local places near me every week or fortnightly. I want to capture beauty that is close to home. People really doubt and put their local areas down, but there is so much beauty in the world, we should capture our local areas before capturing different countries. I’ve been surprised myself to be honest of how many cool and beautiful places there just 30 minutes away from me!

On an end note

Placement year has been one of the best years of my life. I would say it’s in my top two haha.

If you have the opportunity to take a placement then you should do it! Every opportunity brings something.

Now it’s time for me to start prepping to go back to final year! Bye!

Reasons why I love my placement

So it’s the week of valentines – week of love. With this theme in mind, I wanted to share with you the reasons why I love my placement!

  • I love my placement because I get to be CREATIVE

Nothing is better than having the creative freedom of being able to contribute your ideas for campaigns etc and not being judged for how stupid some of them may sound. I feel so comfortable sharing innovative ideas with my manager because I know she will not judge and is always supportive of wanting me to do better and be creative! Ok – well sometimes there are rules I mean you can’t go against the Careers+Placements branding 😛

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  • I love my placement because I have learnt NEW things

This ties into my first point. Development is really valued in Careers+Placements so I was able to gain access to Premier Pro (a video editing application) to do some cool stuff to take social media to the next level. As a result, I learnt how to make giphs and used this effectively in a campaign 😉 – you see two benefits out of one thing LOL.

Here are few examples below of some of the giphs I have made. You best credit me – just saying! 😛

 

  • I love my placement because I feel like I am making a contribution – well I hope!

Honestly, I feel more productive than ever before! I feel like I am making good use of my time at work and this has enabled me to be very time conscious! I worry so much about time going fast now that I am trying so hard to make the most of this year. But anyway, I feel so pumped when I’ve ticked off my to-do list, I actually feel unstoppable, I feel like I can conquer the world LOL.

  • I love my placement because it is PLACEMENT YEAR! (ovs)

Placement year means some chilling out time, no exams or reading to do (oh that reminds me I need to do my placement assignment ugh). You work 9-5 and after that, you have free time. Imagine what you can do with that. Complete your life goals! So this is the time where you can take a break from studies and get to understand yourself bit better and what you want from life. It has been a big soul-searching few months LOL (in terms of career). I am so happy I have been able to tick off some of the items from the to-do list that was there since I was a teen LOL embarrassing!

5 months of my placement left! What?

I honestly can’t believe how fast these seven months have gone! It has been a hectic yet fulfilling ride! I thought I would share how my last seven months have been with everyone, but it’s also a good way for me to reflect on what I have achieved both inside and outside of my placement.

So let’s talk about my placement so far…

I am becoming better!

I have developed many skills over the past few months: I’ve learnt how to use WordPress for uploading blogs, and I have also completed some CMS training which means I can make changes to webpages. I have done a bit of changing but I hope to do a bit more of webpage editing – it’s actually quite fun!

One of the major things I have learnt is how to use PhotoShop and Premier Pro! Although my training so far has been at a basic level, it has helped me to get a bit comfortable with the software and now I’m ready to take it to next level when I get the software at home! I’ve always wanted to learn how to use this software in like foreveeeeer!

One of my proudest achievements of using Premier Pro is making giphs. I know some people don’t see it as a big deal because its quite easy to make giphs if you want a video clip from a certain movie, all you have to do is download the video, cut it down, insert into a website and boom you’re done! But I had to make giphs that were word-based and not from a film. I couldn’t use any site (I’m not sure if one exists to do this) as there are certain guidelines to follow when producing artwork. Cutting it short, I learnt how to make giphs all by myself, so I’m proud! Here is an example of one of the giphs I made. (I could make giphs all day… there are actually giph maker jobs. I should apply asap!)

I was always a pro at multitasking and deadlines, but I think I have gone to the next level of mastering the ultimate pro skills! I keep on getting my work done so fast now and I’m like, “come on, throw some more and more at me.” Nothing can stop me now! Being able to juggle a few mini social media campaigns at the same time is a big proud achievement for me that I won’t forget. I just hustled.

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So let’s talk about outside my placement

I keep on mentioning on every blog I do how much free time you get during placement year and how important it is to use this to do something useful! Well, in my first blog I mentioned I am currently doing things to develop my skills, so let me update you on that!

I have finally bought a camera – yippee! I bought it back in December because I was like, I need to stop wasting time and waiting to save up. So I just spontaneously bought it. I honestly thought I’m not going to get anywhere if I don’t make a step! So now I have my camera, I have opened up an Instagram page to showcase my work. Not all pictures on there are from my camera but from my iPhone 7, but I will use my camera more often soon… I hope! I am not perfect, but this is a way for me to push myself further and get better at something l love to do. So at the moment, I am trying to learn how to use the camera better taking pictures-wise because ultimately, I want to make videos. That’s what I want to do. Check my page out here and I best get a follow (just kidding): https://www.instagram.com/jappy_visions/

Thanks to my manager, I am now doing some courses to develop my skills in certain areas. As I told my manager about my interests and what I want to pursue, she told me about a great place where I can do courses and they are quite cheap. It’s so important to tell those around you about your interests and what you want to do because you never know, they may have some useful information or links that could help you majorly!
I know when you’re self-developing, it can be tempting to be quiet about it and then talk about it once you have established yourself and accomplished something. But sometimes it’s foolish not to because you are going to miss out on some major connections that could help you out. But hey, that’s another story for another time! Oh, I forgot to mention the place I was referring to was MAC in Birmingham. Check them out here: https://macbirmingham.co.uk/
You never know, you may find a course of interest!

Reading

I have done a lot of reading in my spare time as I forgot my love for it when I entered university – you get bombarded with so much reading for your course that you may get put off from doing any more for pleasure! I had a few books that were lying around, so I decided to read them. I have recently completed How to be a Bawse by Lilly Singh. I really recommend this book as it really reinforces some great ideals and it’s an awesome book about how to be a better person, and essentially how to be a bawse and achieve your goals!

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I have also read ‘How to Stop Time’ by Matt Haig. Another great book about living in the moment but the message is set in a Novel. 

As I am doing a Sikh studies course this year, I also wanted to develop my knowledge about Sikh history and Sikhi in general, so I need to pick up some books. At the moment I am currently reading ‘The Sikhs’ by Patwant Singh.

Reading my first blog I mentioned gym… well, it’s been a hate-love relationship. I came so far in the six months after starting. But when It came to December, I just went crazy and it turned into an unhealthy diet month and guess what happened? I lost all my progress. I honestly felt like life was over – ugh. I mean I stopped going to the gym for a month, so I guess it serves me well. But I have learnt it’s a tough life man – it can be hard to conquer the gym and healthy eating. I am starting again this year though, and I hope I can maintain it and regain everything I lost. I’m still not happy with what happened though.

 

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That’s it for now! I will write another blog just before I end my placement in June, which will be a chance for me to look back on what I have achieved! Until then, bye and see you later!

4 unknown ways to get your perfect placement opportunity!

We all know that one way to secure a placement is to submit tailored and well-researched applications to companies advertising vacancies. However, there are a few other more unusual ways to secure a role which are worth a try…

Attending employer-career related events at Aston

Aston holds many employer events on campus ranging from careers fairs, drop-ins, to dedicated skills workshops for students. You can check out the Aston Futures Event Calendar, to find out which employers are due to be on campus on certain dates.

Talking to employers face to face gives you the opportunity to network and gain useful insights into the company and type of candidate they are looking for, you can use the information they tell you in your application form or at interview to help you stand out from other applicants. Employers sometimes come onto campus to run a student challenge or project and may use it as a way to talent spot. Attending interactive events can show off your skills and personality to the employer and you never know what might happen if you make a good impression!

For example, our very own Shital Patel, who studies BEng Electrical and Electronic Engineering was able to secure a placement without even applying! She attended a Jaguar Land Rover hackathon, which took place on campus, showed off her skills and she was snapped up straight away.

Shital says “I was able to secure a placement by participating in extracurricular activities arranged by our university. Students should participate more in such activities because not many students do and they miss out on networking and potential opportunities.”

Speculative applications

90% of applicants apply to companies that have roles available. However, competition for these roles is high. Some companies might not be advertising vacancies, but that doesn’t mean they are not thinking about recruiting. If you showcase your interest in the company and the skills and benefits you can bring to them, you might just find that they are willing to find a role for you. The key to success with speculative applications is research, research and more research.

Use your network

Maximise your network. Ask your family or friends if they have any placements available at their company and find out how to apply.

Does your part-time job have more potential?

You never know where your part-time job may lead. Are you working in retail? If so, why not ask your Manager if there are any internship positions within the Head Office.

Think outside the box and try out these different methods. The more effort you put into your search, the more likely you are going to succeed in securing the role you are looking for.

Good luck!  

How to survive the exam period

The festive season is over and now the exam season has arrived. It’s my third year at Aston so I know how tiring and stressful this period is, so I thought I’d share some of my tips on how to unwind and look after yourself.

Create a schedule

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I know this tip is used over and over again but I can’t help but stress how helpful and useful creating a schedule is. Planning your day in terms of what topic you will revise and break times will help you know what you need to complete and where you are at with your revision. Nothing is more rewarding than ticking off your to do list for the day!

Revise with friends

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It’s good to revise by ourselves so we don’t get distracted by our friends. But having a few revision sessions with course mates will really help you test your exam knowledge and improve your weaknesses. It really helped me to put my exam knowledge to the test and discover the things I was forgetting and having another extra mind going through it with you will just add to your brain (hahaha)!

Relax on campus

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During the exam season the University provides lots of opportunities for you to have the chance to unwind. I recommend checking out MLK. MLK do many sessions during the exam season like free coffee/tea, massages, knitting socials etc. Check out their social media here to stay updated with their events!

You can also check out the Learning Development Centre which hold a number of workshops to help you with your assignments and key skills. They will be holding a number of sessions, so check them out here!

Study spaces

The Library can be very packed during this period but there are some other spaces in MB where you can study (if you didn’t know already). Click here to see where you can go!

Take breaks

It’s so important to give yourself some time off. I am guilty of this but sometimes I will work for 4 hours straight without no break. But, it’s important that we allow ourselves to have at least four half hour breaks a day otherwise we will become robots 😛

Good luck!

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Benefits of going abroad for placement year

It’s proven that taking a placement year will benefit your future career prospects. Taking a placement abroad and stepping out of your comfort zone is not only an incredible opportunity to immerse yourself in a new culture, it will also prepare you for the global employment market.

Adding the ‘abroad’ element to your CV, already adds value, because it shows the employer your capabilities as a person without knowing you.

I have chatted to a number of students who have undertaken their placement abroad and quizzed the knowledgeable C+P international team, and here’s some of the reasons which stood out about why going overseas is so beneficial!

Skills

Being in a foreign country, you will find yourself having to adapt to the culture, way of life and also looking after yourself where you are all alone without family. You will gain so many skills such as adaptability. Employers will see that you can adapt to situations and that you can do things out of your comfort zone.

 

Personal development

This links in with skills but being by yourself in a foreign country helps you to spend time with yourself and to get to know yourself a bit better. Being in a new place by yourself can be overwhelming at times, and it tests your ability to adapt to diverse situations while being able to problem solve. You will learn new things about yourself and realise you can do many things, which you probably thought you couldn’t, like networking with people.

 

Explore!

This is also a great chance to explore and take part in activities while doing your placement. Sometimes, we don’t get the chance to do this while studying but you have the chance with placement year!

 

 

 

The world is your oyster!

How to get a perfect placement – and you only need to conquer these three steps!

It’s that time of year again where thousands of students apply for placements across the UK. If you want to get the perfect placement, take note of some of my tips and tricks that will help you on your placement search!

Apply! Apply! Apply!

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 Don’t just apply for 1 or 2 roles. But apply for many as you can. You aren’t guaranteed to get a placement by just applying for 1 role as it is really competitive. I applied to around 40 companies before I got my placement role. How did I apply for so many roles? I made sure to apply for 1 to 2 roles per week!

Don’t be lazy…tailor your application!

 

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 I know we all get lazy when applying for jobs and we don’t bother to change bits of our CV or cover letter. I can certainly tell you that there were times I didn’t bother applying for roles because they required a cover letter.  Most organisations will ask for a cover letter, so it’s best to stop lazing around and get to work. Another lazy tactic we adopt is using the same cover letter for all the roles we apply for rather than tailoring it to the role we want. Make sure you change your cover letter for each role you apply for. Your cover letter needs to seem personal and written like it was made for that role in mind so put that hard work and effort in, it will pay off! Your cover letter is literally your initial selling point – those first impressions count!

Use Careers+Placements

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many students don’t realise how much Careers+Placements can support students with their placement search! It’s only with Careers+Placement’s support that I am where I am today. If you are struggling with your application, need to check your CV or want to brush up your interview skills, Careers+Placements are there to support you! Book an appointment via Aston Futures!

Also, make use of the events that run on campus throughout the term that Careers+Placements organise. They have weekly employer events where various companies come onto campus to talk to students and some of them even host workshops! There are also the annual career fairs such as the placements fair, where more than 30 companies come onto campus (there are always some big names). I found out all the information about events via the weekly newsletters I received from Careers+Placements and their social media channels.

Don’t forget to use Aston Futures to find your perfect placement role. Careers+Placements advertise more than 1,000 roles a year on the online portal (a combination of placement, part-time and graduate roles).

The more you engage with Careers+Placements, the more you will benefit, trust me, I work with them!

Placement year? It should be called YOU year!

Hi, my name is Harjap and I will be blogging regularly about the things I am doing on my placement year and about my experience. I am currently on placement as a Marketing Assistant at Aston University.

 

As an LSS student, I know that there are a lot of students who decide not to do a placement as it is not compulsory.  Many of my course mates are currently in final year as they chose not to look for a placement, and I can’t help but think why? Why when placement year is such a great and rare opportunity to do something new and gain invaluable skills that will only benefit you in the near future, it is something that you definitely don’t want to miss out on. It is a year all about you and your development- nothing else.

I decided to do a placement because I knew the experience will benefit me in the future when applying for graduate schemes. I also wanted to do it to take a break from studying, and I did not want to enter final year knowing I have to do a dissertation (God please save me)! Give me a break already!

I can’t thank myself enough for deciding to do a placement. I am only four months into my placement, and I have learnt and developed so many new skills, exceeding my own expectations! To my surprise!

‘Me time

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Placement year is a time to focus on yourself. You will work a typical 9-4 or 9-5 job, and after that, you have free time to do whatever you like, unlike school where you have to spend your out of hours studying and revising. I wanted to make the most of the time and so I decided to work on my personal goals that I’ve wanted to complete for some time now but never had the time to do them because of my studies.

 

So what have I done in my spare time?

 

I have joined the gym, enrolled onto a Sikh studies course, I’m working on building my skills for my future career, spending time with friends, and exploring the UK. I have many more things I want to  achieve  this year,  And I hope to achieve them before my placement is up.

I honestly feel like I have never been productive enough when it comes to developing skills and qualities. I have done so many things over these four months; I can’t wait to look back after a year to see how much I have grown as a person I really recommend placement year to everyone. Of course, it’s all about getting the experience and I love my placement, but we sometimes forget that it is also the time to develop on ourselves and to tick off our own bucket list!