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Searching for Placements | Our Top Tips

By Newcastle University

If you’re still looking, or have just started looking for a placement, you’re not alone! Many students find and secure their placements in the second semester.


At this time of year, we regularly hear from students who are worried that their friends have already secured placements, or that they’ve missed placement deadlines. The reality is that opportunities in most sectors, especially with smaller companies, exist all year round. The trick is knowing how to find them. 



Advertised opportunities 

Don’t be put off if recruitment sites you’ve used are no longer showing placements you’re interested in, eg RateMyPlacement or TARGETjobs 


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Try using sites which advertise year-round and include smaller companies, such as MyCareerLinkedInIndeed or others listed on our Finding placements page.  



Hidden opportunities 

Instead of securing an advertised placement, 40% our placement students last year managed to find a hidden opportunity. Your chances of finding an unadvertised role are probably higher than you think – it’s estimated that about 75% of jobs are never advertised! 


You could start by talking to people you know – friends, family, colleagues, lecturers, neighbours. Let them know what you’re looking for and see where the conversation leads. While they might not be able to offer you a placement, they could put you in contact with people who can. It might sound unlikely, but many students secure placements through using existing contacts 


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Another option is to contact employers directly to ask about possible opportunities. This is known as applying speculatively. 


Start by researching employers and making a list of organisations offering the type of work you’re interested in. You can find companies on MyCareer by clicking on ‘organisations’ under ‘search’. Explore Occupations has resources to help you find employers in specific sectors and LinkedIn's Find Alumni tool can help you find organisations where Newcastle graduates work. 


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First check if the company is advertising any positions you can apply for. If not, get in touch with them to find out the relevant contact for work experience queries. Send the contact an email, being specific about why you want to work there and clear about what you can offer, with a tailored  CV attached. 


Most people don’t hear back straight away, or get the response they want at first. If this happens to you, don’t be disheartened! Following up with the companies you don’t hear back from can prompt them to read your application and remind them you’re interested. If your application was unsuccessful, ask for feedback and use it to keep persevering!  


Our How to find a placement year presentation gives more details on using this approach. 



Support available 


If you’re unsure about what to do, or need application support, you can book a virtual appointment with us through MyCareer. 


You can also receive support from whoever manages your placement year. If it’s the Careers Service, you can register your interest for access to our Placements Teams group, which offers support, advice and vacancies. If it’s managed by your school, your school contact can offer support.  


Once you manage to secure your placement, remember to tell us, or your school contact! 


Register your interest