Your journey to securing placement

31 March 2021

Bronagh Moore from BSc Hons Communication, Advertising & Marketing and current placement student leading Marketing & Communications in Employability & Careers reflects on her journey to securing placement:

So, you’re on the hunt for a placement? A daunting task I know – I’ve been there too. But whilst the job search can be a tad stressful (ok a lot stressful!), trust me – it pays off in the end. The first interview I went to was, I have to say, a complete disaster. I didn’t prepare properly, didn’t have a clue about half the questions the interviewers were asking me and unsurprisingly, I didn’t get the job. I thought to myself as I miserably moped out of the interview room:

“I will never let that happen again.”

After another few months of job searching, I went to 3 job interviews within the short space of 2 weeks. And what do you think? I got a job offer for each interview I went to. I had learnt from my first job interview and I made sure I didn’t repeat the same mistakes again. Want to know how I did it? Read my top tips below:

1. Tailor your Cover Letters and CV: Nothing will get your application tossed in the bin quicker than a generic Cover Letter and CV. Read the job description and tailor them to meet the skills and experience required for the job. In each cover letter, explain why you would be the ideal candidate for the job!

2. PRACTICE THE STAR METHOD!: Honestly I can’t stress this enough. The STAR Method was my saving grace for those interviews. Read the job description and come up with questions and answers that the interviewer may ask you regarding these areas. Had I known about the STAR Method before my first interview, I can imagine it would have gone a whole lot better…

3. Research the company: In every interview I went for, I was asked either: “So what do you know about the company?” or “Why do you want to work for us?”. Google the company’s aims, missions and values and show them you’ve done your homework.

4. Try and settle your nerves: Before each interview and before answering a question, take a few deep breaths to calm yourself. I know how nerve-wracking an interview is. But remember, EVERYONE has to do interviews. It’s a part of life. Even those big business tycoons like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, they might be multi-billionaires and living the dream but once upon a time they had to do job interviews too, just like you and me. All those employers interviewing you? They had to do interviews too. They understand how intimidating they can be and aren’t out to scare the life out of you with their questions. If anything they want you to do the best you can. Be confident in your responses. If you have prepared well, there is no reason to be nervous.

5. Use the services provided by Employability & Careers: You’re paying a LOT of money each year for uni – so make the most out of the services they offer! They know what they’re doing when it comes to all things placement and jobs – they are experts after all.

Securing a placement can take a lot of perseverance and resilience and it’s easy to get disheartened when you get rejected. Make the most of your resources, keep a positive mindset, and don’t hesitate to ask for help! Remember – every interview you go to is a learning experience regardless whether you get the job or not. You learn and you improve after each one.

Think of your placement search like a game. It’s a competition at the end of the day. So I will now leave you with the very wise words of Albert Einstein:

“You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else.”

Employability & Careers are here to help you so if you have any questions please just get in touch by emailing careers@ulster.ac.uk You can also follow @Careersatulster out on all social media channels including Instagram and Youtube.