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Preparing for Placements and Internships

Placement years, alongside internships, are usually your first taste of work in your realm of interest, so, understandably, you experience a mixture of emotions towards securing and starting a new position. We will explore top tips and advice to help you feel as comfortable as possible when embarking on your new adventure throughout this piece.

Top Tips to successfully manage Placement year

Prepare your CV

Many students have not needed to use a CV, and most students do not have one. A CV for a placement or internship is essential. If you have never completed a CV before, this can seem daunting; there are many templates and advice online to help set you in the correct direction. It would be recommended that once you have created a draft CV, you arrange an appointment with your Career's adviser – this will provide you with any feedback on how to better your CV and tailor it to the placements or internships you wish to apply for.

Research the company before the interview and your first day

Researching the company does not only allow you the best opportunity to answer questions within the interview process, but it will also allow you to engage in conversation with colleagues on your first day. Alongside this, it can help inform you of any information you may lack about the company, and as a result, you can establish questions that may be suitable to ask your line manager or supervisor.


As with every job, internship, or placement, it is vital to remind yourself that securing one is not easy. Setbacks are likely to occur, and rejection is possible. The best thing you can do during the application process is persevering. Securing a place of work is not supposed to be easy.

Presentation of self – First day of work placement

The majority of the anxiety surrounding starting work lies within the first day. You often question yourself regarding what is appropriate to wear and how to form the best first impression.

Firstly, I would recommend that you ask about your dress code in advance. However, you may struggle to establish what they mean by smart casual. In this instance, it would be essential to think smartly about your working environment. For example, those who work in offices are likely to wear a dress, trousers and avoid jeans and trainers. If you arrive and feel overdressed on your first day, remind yourself that something more casual can be worn tomorrow.

It is likely that when you enter the premises, you will be introduced to the cohort you will work with; however, if this is not possible, then it is your responsibility to introduce yourself as and when deemed appropriate. How do you make the best first impression in this scenario? Provide a friendly smile or offer a handshake (COVID permitted, of course).

It goes without being said, and you should be aware of your body language and demonstrate active listening skills. Give verbal responses when someone is talking to you and refrain from crossing your arms or slouching. Demonstrate that you understand and are invested in conversation by sustaining eye contact.

Preparation is critical – Go with the resources you need

Pre-packing your things the night before, including resources and your lunch, is one of the good ways to help subside those first day nerves. Maintaining this level of organisation will allow you to begin work tasks straight away, rather than rush to find a notebook and waste time. Make sure to think about your specific role and the resources you may need. For example, will you require your pencil case or laptop? Is there special equipment you will need to purchase beforehand? If you are unsure of this information, use the company's support – send them an email.

I hope these tips help; enjoy your placement year or summer internship!

Olivia Thomas

Student, Bsc Psychology

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