We have designed a programme of activities to support you in preparing for your placement, which can be found here. This Programme focuses on the key aspects you would need to consider in preparation for doing the Year in Industry. This includes identifying your skills, how to write and tailor your CV, job search techniques, where to look for jobs, applications and interview support, as well as what to do when you have found a placement.
Do you have a question? Speak with the Careers and Employment team
You can instantly speak with a member of the Careers and Employment team online by using Live Chat on the Careers and Employment website. To start a conversation with the team, visit the herts.ac.uk/careers homepage and click the icon in the bottom right-hand corner.
- How do I find a placement?
- When should I start looking for a placement?
- Where should I look for placements?
- What can I do to get ready for my placement search?
- What search terms should I use when looking for placements?
- How can I tell if an advertised placement is suitable for a Master’s student?
- Can I do two (or more) shorter placements to make up a sandwich placement year?
- What are the deadline dates for finding, starting and finishing a placement?
- Can I get more time to find a placement after the deadline date/an extension?
- What do I need to send to the Placements Team/my Tutor to show that I have a placement?
- Where can I get a placement eligibility letter?
- What is the minimum hours per week I need to work in order to have a placement approved?
- What should I do when I’ve found a placement?
- What is networking?
- What opportunities are available for networking?
- Do I need to update my Handshake profile?
- What should I include in my Handshake profile?
- How to find out about networking opportunities?
- What should I include in my Linkedin profile?
- How should I use Linkedin to network?
- Top tips for networking?
CVs and Cover Letters
- What is a CV?
- How long should my CV be?
- What should I include on my CV?
- Does my CV need a personal profile?
- Where can I look for help with my CV?
- How can I get my CV checked?
- What is a Cover Letter?
- Do I need to write a Cover Letter?
- How long should my Cover Letter be?
- Where can I get help with writing a cover letter?
- How many applications should I make?
- What are speculative applications?
- How do I target my speculative applications?
- How can I prepare for an interview?
- What questions could I be asked at interview?
- How can I prepare for a video interview?
- Can I get some interview practice?
You are responsible for finding your own placement. There are several ways you can do this:
- Applying for placement vacancies advertised online (for more details see “Where should I look for placements?”
- Sending your CV with a covering letter to companies/organisations you would like to work for to ask if they have any vacancies. Find out more about CVs and Cover Letters
- If you already have relevant work experience in your chosen sector you could also apply for short-term contract jobs (e.g. one-year contracts if you’re looking for a one-year placement) and discuss the possibility of converting these into a placement with the employer.
To give yourself the best chance of finding a placement, start looking as soon as your course allows. First, you will need to be sure that you are eligible to undertake a placement year. Check your module pages on Canvas and talk to your tutors to make sure you understand the eligibility requirements. These are often related to your first semester’s results. Some courses will allow you to start looking for placements before you’ve had your eligibility confirmed but, in other cases, you will have to wait until you’ve had your results. Again, make sure you understand what the rules are for your course.
- Handshake the Careers and Employment jobs and events board
- Careers and Employment job search website guide for lists of job and placement websites
- Sector-specific job sites. Find links to sector-specific job sites using the relevant Job Profiles on the Prospects website
Employer’s own websites:
- If there are employers you would like to work for check their websites for advertised vacancies.
- There are a number of websites and directories you can use to find suitable employers:
- Business toolkits in the Online Library includes searchable databases of employers
- Times Top100 Graduate Employers
- Employer directory on the Careers and Employment website
- GoinGlobal employer directory on the Careers and Employment website: https://herts.ac.uk/careers
- Follow employers on Linkedin, Handshake and other social media
Careers/jobs fairs and employer events
Check Handshake https://herts.joinhandshake.co.uk/stu/events regularly to find out about employer events and careers fairs. You will find out about University of Hertfordshire events and external jobs fairs and employer events.
Specialist recruitment agencies
If you have experience you could also search for placements and fixed-term contracts using specialist recruitment agencies.
- Use www.agencycentral.co.uk to search for agencies
- Get tips on using recruitment agencies: https://herts.careercentre.me/u/uy2tggrl
Talk to any contacts you have in the UK to see if they know of any opportunities in organisations where they work. You can also contact employers directly if they are not advertising. See tips in the networking section below.
There is a limited window of time for your placement search and there are a number of things you can do to prepare for the time when you can start looking:
- Get your CV ready. Find out more about CVs.
- Update your Linkedin profile and create a Handshake profile. Find out more about CVs.
- Identify the best job-sites to use for placements in the sectors that interest you by reading “Where should I look for placements?” above.
- Practise taking online/Psychometric tests using our practice tests.
Try a range of search-terms as different employers will use different name for what we at UH call a “sandwich placement”. Options include:
- Sandwich placement
- Industrial year
- Industrial placement
- Year in industry
- Placement year
Entry requirements: Read all the information on the placement advertisement carefully and check the careers information on the employer’s website. It takes time to write a good application so it’s best not to spend a lot of time applying for placements you’re not eligible for. It’s very common to see placements advertised for 2nd year or penultimate year undergraduate students. In many of these cases it’s unlikely they would consider a Master’s student however if there is a company you’re keen to work for you could email them to see if they’re prepared to be flexible or talk to the employer if they are attending a campus/online event in the near future. Focus your search on placement vacancies where:
- The employer doesn’t state that they are looking for placement students from a particular year group
- The employer states the opportunity could be for a placement student or a new graduate
- Placement opportunities in smaller organisations (where there might be more flexibility)
Course requirements: Make sure you’re familiar with your course’s requirement for a sandwich placement. Check that the start and end dates of the placement will match the requirements of the course. There will be a set period of time in your course when you can do a placement and it’s very unlikely that there can be any flexibility with the dates. Also make sure the placement working hours match the requirements for your course and the placement length is within the maximum and minimum period of weeks.
You will need to check the guidelines for your course. If in doubt talk to one of your tutors. In practice it can be difficult to organise two placements that will fit neatly into the timeframe that you have without any gaps.
Please refer to your school’s guidance on this. Talk to your tutor and/or check your Canvas module pages.
Please talk to your tutor to find out if it's possible to get an extension.
You will need to send the offer email or letter that the employer has sent you to the Placements team and your tutor. For further information see https://herts.careercentre.me/u/07b6v5lj
Please talk to your tutor and/or check your module pages on Canvas as this is something your school will need to provide for you.
This will usually be 35 hours per week.
As soon as you’ve accepted an offer of placement from an employer you will then need to get it approved by the Careers and Employment placement team. Do this as soon as possible as the approval process can take a long time, especially during busy periods. Use this link to find out more https://herts.careercentre.me/u/0hezqk2v
There are a number of places to look for work this can include on-campus work such as Student Union, Sports Village, food outlets, off-campus roles at supermarkets, restaurants. Retail shops, bars, warehouses, call centres and seasonal work such as summer camps, festivals or Christmas Temps. For more information click here https://herts.careercentre.me/u/sz66l3v7
It is recommended that part-time work around studies should be limited to 10 to 15 hours per week during term time. International students looking for part-time work should also take into consideration any Visa restrictions or implications. For further information please visit the UK Visas and Immigration website.
Networking is all about connecting with people to develop a mutually beneficial relationship either in person or online. Networking involves a regular commitment over time as it can lead to job referrals, industry insights, work experience and referrals. Use these resources to help you to build your network. https://herts.careercentre.me/resources/elearning/Hub.aspx?search=networking
There are many opportunities to develop your network while at university, this can include speaking with tutors and lecturers, attending careers and job fairs, attending talks from employers, using online platforms such as Linkedin and Handshake and speaking with classmates.
When you create your Handshake account, ensure that your profile is complete and reflects the experiences and skill that you have developed through your modules at university, and also in any extra-curricular activities or work experience. For further information on how to complete your Handshake profile, watch this short video.
When completing your Handshake profile be sure to upload a professional profile picture, check that your course and level of study is correct, add in any relevant modules that you have studied, include work experience, extra curricular activities and skills.
Use Handshake “Events” section this will have information about careers fairs that the Uinveristy has arranged, and also events from external organisations, be sure to attend events in person or online to develop your network. After events make sure to follow up with anyone you have met either via LinkedIn or email.
To ensure that you stand the best chance of successfully networking on LinkedIn it is important that your profile is as complete as possible. As with Handshake ensure that you have a professional looking profile picture, use the strap line and “about” sections to demonstrate your skills relevant to the industry you are interested in. For more information on making a strong profile watch this video. https://herts.careercentre.me/u/xq50h5qq
Use LinkedIn to connect with classmates, lecturers, alumni and industry professionals. When connecting with people you do not know, send a short message outlining what you are looking to get out of the connection. A good place to start connecting with people is using the University of Hertfordshire page, and navigating to the alumni. You can also join groups and start to post or comment on posts to help further develop your network. This has further information on using LinkedIn to network https://herts.careercentre.me/u/aygw9d1y
Firstly, make sure that you commit time to developing your network, this can be contributing to post on social media or facilitating face to face meet ups. Look for opportunities to offer assistance as well as asking for help. Think about how you would introduce yourself, this should include who you are, what you do, why you’re unique and your goals and ambitions, this is often known as your “ “elevator pitch” for more information on this watch this short video. https://herts.careercentre.me/u/yp0dvsqd
It is a marketing tool which evidences your skills, with the purpose of getting you an interview. It allows you to summarise your education, skills and experience enabling you to successfully sell your abilities to potential employers.
No more than 2 pages. It is important to tailor your CV to the employer you are applying to. To make your CV specific, analyse the job description and ensure you use similar language and meet each requirement.
- full and up-to-date contact details including your name, address, email address, phone number and any relevant social media or web links such as your LinkedIn profile or personal blog
- a short (4-6 lines), well written, tailored personal profile describing who you are, what you can offer and what you’re looking for.
- details of your best and most relevant skills
- highlight key achievements
- most recent and relevant experience first, listing them in reverse-chronological order
For more detailed information visit https://herts.careercentre.me/u/rn18zwca
A personal profile is a useful way of introducing yourself to an employer. It should be a concise statement that highlights your key attributes and helps you stand out from the crowd. Usually placed at the beginning of a CV it picks out a few relevant achievements and skills, while expressing your career aims. A good CV profile focuses on the sector you're applying to, as your cover letter will be job-specific. Keep CV personal statements short - around 100 words is ideal.
A link to some example profiles https://herts.careercentre.me/u/bcib8mmy
For tips on all areas of your CV visit the Careers and Employment website at herts.ac.uk/careers https://herts.careercentre.me/u/6dilu0dj
You can get instant online feedback on your CV by uploading it to CV360. It scores your CV against more than 50 checks. You get instant, detailed feedback so you can improve your CV and start to make the changes needed to boost your chances of getting to interview.
CV360 will provide you with insight and tips to get through online filtering and get your CV in front of a recruiter. After making changes you can reload your CV to see how your score has increased and with it, hopefully, your chances of securing a job.
A link to CV 360 https://herts.careercentre.me/u/tgs1ycuk
It is a document or email sent alongside your CV when applying for jobs. It acts as a personal introduction and helps to sell your application. You do this by highlighting relevant skills and experience; therefore, you should always write your cover letter with the position you're applying for in mind.
We would recommend you write a cover letter, as it is the first opportunity you have to impress an employer. The purpose of a cover letter is to explain to an employer why you are the best candidate for the job.
No more than half a page. Demonstrate your passion and knowledge of the industry, explain how you got interested in the industry in the first place. Summarise how your experience will help you do the job.
You can create a cover letter quickly and easily with the Cover Letter builder, you will also find a selection of examples, useful tips and advice.
It is important that your applications are good quality and tailored to each opportunity. You should aim to submit two or three job applications per day to maximise your chances of getting responses and interviews. Aim to apply for 10 to 15 jobs every week.
A link to advice on effective job search techniques and strategies, as well as tips on networking and building your personal brand. https://herts.careercentre.me/u/9f9ei4rr
Not all graduate jobs are advertised so speculative applications give you access to a wider variety of roles. Making a speculative application means contacting an organisation to ask whether they have a suitable job for you, even though they aren't advertising a particular vacancy. It usually involves sending a cover letter and a CV. Even if there isn't a job available, your initiative may impress the employer and they'll bear you in mind for future vacancies.
Create a shortlist of employers by focusing on the sectors and companies that interest you. Include small, local businesses - it's usually small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) that are the most open to speculative applications.
Research the organisations by looking on their websites to find out how they operate and what they do. It is useful to find out what projects they are working on and whether there any plans for growth or expansion.
Tailor your CV and cover letter to explain what type of role you're looking for and why you have chosen that company by referring to any key projects they're working on, or their aims and values and why they interest you. Then highlight the relevant skills and experiences that you have. Further advice available here https://www.prospects.ac.uk/careers-advice/applying-for-jobs/how-to-write-a-speculative-job-application
For all interviews the key to a good performance is preparation. Find out as much as you can about the employer and the job/placement you’re applying for and use these tips on our website to help you https://herts.careercentre.me/u/pg07oz0e
You can’t predict every question you’ll be asked at an interview, but you can predict what topics the interviewers will want to explore from your preparation (link to section above). The key is to understand the different types of interview question and know how to use your preparation to give a good answer.
Use the resources below to help you prepare for the different types of questions you might be asked:
Employers on commonly asked interview questions
- What are competency-based interviews https://herts.careercentre.me/u/prnf1rtp
- How to answer competency-based questions https://targetjobs.co.uk/careers-advice/interviews-and-assessment-centres/how-answer-typical-competency-based
- What are strengths-based interviews https://herts.careercentre.me/u/2rj7raj2
- How to answer strengths-based questions https://targetjobs.co.uk/careers-advice/interviews-and-assessment-centres/strengths-based-interviews-jobs-and
How to answer tricky interview questions
Our Video Interviews resource https://herts.careercentre.me/u/rrgi0eq2 will give you some starting points on how to prepare for an online interview. You can also practise answering questions online and receive some instant AI feedback using Interview360 https://herts.careercentre.me/u/hb6mgoz0
Interview360 https://herts.careercentre.me/u/hb6mgoz0 (our online video-interview program) is a great way to practise for all types of interviews and you can use it at any time. If you would like a mock-interview with a Careers Adviser you can book an appointment via Handshake https://herts.joinhandshake.co.uk/edu/appointments/new