Placement searching: a student’s guide

In our latest blog Alice Sharpe, BA (Hons) Sports Management and Marketing, offers her top tips to help you in your placement search.  We couldn’t have said it better ourselves!

Hi I’m Alice,  a 20 year old Triathlete studying Sports Management and Marketing here at Manchester Metropolitan University. I’m currently on a placement year at Manchester City Council, where I am working as part of the Major Sports Events team. I’m really enjoying seeing my passion for sport turn into a career.

It’s easy to become overwhelmed when searching for a placement so here are MY top tips;

  1. Start looking early:

Think of what sort of job field you would like to go into, check you have the right sort of experience. If you don’t you will have started early enough to go and get this experience. Look for volunteering opportunities via the Union’s Volunteer bureau; it’s a fantastic resource and a chance to network! You never know who you might meet.

  1. Attend the workshops put on by Careers and Employability:

I had just been rejected from a placement for ‘a lack of personality’ so wasn’t feeling very positive about my placement search. I attended a workshop on interview technique which really helped to boast my confidence and clear my head. Also ask your lectures, they had jobs before becoming lectures and experiences you can learn from. 

  1. Keep an open mind:

I set my heart on getting my placement year at with the Sports Events team, which in hindsight isn’t the best way to looking for a placement but it did pay off! Some of my friends weren’t as lucky but kept an open mind and are now enjoying placements in job fields they’d never considered before.

If your unsuccessful in securing a placement, don’t worry it’s not the end of the world! There are plenty of other things around university which can give you other fantastic opportunities. Volunteering- I know your lecturers probably go on about it, but it really is the best way to gain experience in your free time while giving back! Being a committee member in a society, class rep or having a part time job can all build your CV.

  1. Don’t be scared to ask questions…

When I first started I felt more of a hindrance than a help, unsure of what to do or where thing were. The team I work in are used to placement students and encouraged me to ask questions, within two weeks I understood what was expected of the of my role and everything started to fall into place. I am now 6months into my 11month placement and have learnt SO much.

  1. Take every opportunity, if you want something you’ll make time for it…

I previously considered time management to be skill I had mastered; only now after starting to work 9-5 has that really become true! As part of my triathlon training I train for 15-20 hours a week, I’m the Vice-chair of the Manchester Metropolitan University Harriers and Chair of the Cycling Club and work 35 hours a week!

Day to day I work from the office where I carry out jobs such as booking venues, writing up news bulletins, social media plans, attending and supporting meetings and updating our website posts.

During our events I take on a more operating role: working on site in numerous roles depending on the event.

During the World Taekwondo Grand Prix I worked in the accreditation office taking team registration fees; while the event was under way I helped to run the event’s social media.

At the Sainsbury’s School Games I worked as a games village assistant, working closely with Anne Thompson to manage volunteers, run the kit swop shops, pack and send out athletes goodie bags.

  1. Get ahead

Start thinking about what topics and areas you want to write your dissertation about, It’s easy to forget that you will have to write one when you’ve finished your placement! Ask your employer if there are any areas they are interested in research, this is a chance to further your knowledge of their organisation and increase you chance of future employment. They could also provide you with existing research or data which will help to advance your dissertation.

I hope this helped even a little bit!

Alice Sharpe



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