Before and during my degree, I understood how important experience was for a CV and when it came to getting a job after university. The more I have worked and learnt, I almost believe that sometimes experience is more important than my actual degree. However, this is not always the case, I wouldn’t trust a surgeon with a year’s experience over a surgeon with a medical degree.
In this blog, I'm going to be detailing the reasons why you should undertake a placement year and the benefits of doing one. Despite having only done 4 months of my year-long internship, the experiences and friends I have already made have been some of the best times of my life.
As I said above, experience is extremely important in the business world., and especially when it comes to marketing. I would always recommend trying to gain as much experience as you can while at university, even if that's only five days here and there or one or two days per week while you go to university or during your holidays and summers, or even just taking on the role as part of the marketing team in a society!
A placement year is one of the best ways to gain an insight into the working world as you're treated like another employee in the business and you are there to do the same hours and given the same responsibilities as other employees. This may be your first time in a proper office job and the experiences you will learn along with all the new skills will be invaluable when applying to jobs after your internship. It will also allow you to see what you don't like, how to structure your life around a full-time job and how the working world differs to university life.
Having a year in industry will really help you when applying to jobs, it shows employers that you already have an understanding of what you will be doing and have worked with a variety of tools already. It also highlights to employers that you were capable to secure an internship whilst at university and shows you really want a career in the area you have studied.
Thousands of people will be graduating university at the same time as you with very similar degrees but if you have experience and can say that you’ve worked with X tool and can provide examples of what you achieved and learnt during your internship you will stand out against other graduates.
As disheartening as it may sound, this world really is all about who you know rather than what you know. If you have already interned at a company and they liked you there, you will be more likely to receive a job offer from this company rather than X company who know very little about you.
Carrying out a placement year is a great way to challenge yourself as it's something you're not used to. Doing a placement year will also give you an introduction to what life will be like once you have graduated. Also, when completing your placement year, you always have that reassurance that you will be returning to university again to complete your final year.
A placement year is what it is. It's for one year. You'll be able to come back to the final year for one last go at university life and know what's in store for you afterwards. Challenge yourself for 12 months (even if you can’t do 12 months try and fit in a few months to give yourself that experience) and you'll come out wiser, more mature and more experienced because of it.
You'll Know What You Want to Do in the Long-Term
Your placement year will hopefully be an area in which you can see yourself working once you have graduated. As well as a placement year confirming that you are doing what you want to be doing it can also emphasise what you don’t want to do after university.
Internships/placements are also a great thing to do if you are a little unsure about what you want to do in the future. An internship is a great way to gain an insight into what you would be doing, you can therefore make a decision about whether you can see yourself doing this in the future. You might find that whilst doing an internship in marketing you speak to the sales team and you think that role is more suitable and interesting for you.
Whilst on your internship you will be surrounded by lots of different people working in a variety of different departments. It is, therefore, a great idea to take time out of your day to speak to them and ask about what they do, you can then get an insight into their job and see if this is something you might find more interesting. I have already taken some time out of my internship to get to know people in other teams, which has confirmed to me that online marketing is exactly what I want to be doing!
The Opportunity to Live Somewhere New
A placement year is a great opportunity for you to try living in a different city/town or even a different country! Nothing is permanent, you are only there for a year so it’s not the end of the world if you decide after your placement that you never want to live there again, you have your university city waiting for you or your home town.
However, for me, I decided to move to a completely different country and it is the best decision of my life. It was daunting at first moving to a city where I knew no one but I quickly made lots of friends and started exploring my new country and I cannot recommend this decision enough to anyone!
I would also recommend making a bucket list of all the new things you want to do in your new city, this, therefore, makes sure that you don’t leave wishing you had done more. And who knows, maybe you will love your new city so much that you end up relocating there after you graduate!