Careers Service


Finding a placement

What can I do as a Placement (One-Year)?

You will need to check with your course placement lead. All work must be student level so jobs making tea/coffee or completing data/entry repetitive tasks will be refused.

We recommend that you are open to the type of role you research and search for and keep an open mind. While you may not be able to find your dream placement you will gain invaluable experience and knowledge that will transfer well to your chosen graduate career. This includes looking at companies that you haven’t heard of before or living in a new city for a year! Many of our students opt to go abroad on their placement year, venture to a new city or decided to stay closer to home.

When should I start applying for a Placement (One-Year)?

Start thinking about what kind of placement you would like to do in your first year. Consider what you have enjoyed in your course and look for similar activities in a placement. Think about what skills you need or have started to develop that will help you be successful in this placement and draft your CV. Once you are ready to make applications for placements you can have your CV checked at the Careers Service. Think about how your activities over the summer holiday can add to your CV, include some voluntary work, start a project, blog, or look for insight/internships opportunities that will help you be better prepared for placement applications. Use LinkedIn and My Manchester to look for connections that can help you.

Applications open for large employers placement schemes around September – October. These deadlines come around quickly so if you are pursuing a placement in this area you need to keep an eye on these. Other placement applications may not open until the January or even summer depending on the industry you are looking to work in. There are placement opportunities all year but the most popular ones will go early so be ready! It’s worth noting that employers do release vacancies all year around so don’t panic if you haven’t made your applications by the start of the academic year but do your own research.

You can also make speculative applications to employers at any point in the year – just make sure you have an impressive CV and introductory email ready to go.

Applying for a placement may be the first time you have had to write an application for a full-time job so make use of the services offered by the Careers Service to help your application stand out. Placements can be very competitive and it’s not unusual to have applied for 20+ before securing your placement. Each placement application and interview is a way to learn and improve your skills within a recruitment process. When making applications it is a case of quality over quantity!

If you do not get accepted on your first application, do not be disheartened.

Where will I find placement advertised?

If you know the kind of company you want to work for, many have their own careers pages and twitter feeds, so keep a regular check on these for jobs and start following them. There are a number of specialist websites advertising placements for example:

This list is not exhaustive so you’ll need to do your own research as well. Try our Which Career pages.

It is worth knowing that a job might be right for a Placement but not necessarily called a ‘Placement’. Many jobs that are described as ‘fixed-term contract’ may meet the eligibility criteria of some placement years – some students have even found placements covering maternity leave. If you are not sure about a role you can always contact the company and/or your course placement lead to check.

Applying for a placement is similar to applying for a graduate job or internship so you can follow all the advice within Applications and Interviews on the careers website.

Can I contact a company/person directly even if they are not advertising a placement?

Yes! Making a speculative approach is a standard way of sourcing a placement in industries that are competitive and becoming more and more popular. There are some great resources on the careers website to help you but make sure you research the person you are contacting, introduce yourself and state why you are contacting them, ask if they are not right person to refer you to someone who may be able to help and give them a personal email to contact you on.

Making this kind of contact shows an ability to professionally interact on a social media platform (if through LinkedIn), demonstrates wanting to take control of your career ambitions and evidences your ability to ask for help, three very positive things for an employer to see!

One way to research placements is to contact people who have previously completed a placement. You can search on LinkedIn and The Manchester Network for alumni who have previously completed your degree to see what kind of placement they did and where they went. Manchester alumni are keen to help so if they have registered on the Manchester Network you can use the ASK ME ABOUT tool to get some great tips and learn from their experience. On LinkedIn, if you want to widen your search enter ‘with industrial/professional experience’ in the search box and see who pops up!

Where can I get further help and advice?

Each course offers students support with placements, speak to your course placement lead to find out what is available.

The Careers Service offers support including:

  • guidance on the type of placement you are looking for
  • how to search for placements
  • applications advice.

Employers also run Events on campus, giving advice on items including: CVs, interview and assessment centre tips, we recommend attending as many of these as you can to learn some ‘Insider Tips’ direct from recruiters. (Even if you don’t want to work for that company go along and learn about the recruitment process as they are often similar for placement/graduate jobs). If you do want to work for the employer running the session, the events can be a great way to make connections.

Courses and The Careers Service usually present early in Semester 1 to second year students about placement process and opportunities. You need to be aware if your course have any set eligibility criteria. It is always best to speak to your course placement lead about this before making any applications. For some courses, for example; you may be able to do two shorter placements at two different providers. Many courses have a dedicated space on Blackboard and staff locally to help you.

If you do get a chance to go to any assessment centre, I would recommend you go as it really improves your business skills (even if you don’t get offered a role) Sam, Bsc Biology with Industrial Experience, Unilever