Johann Herbert is a French student currently doing a placement in the UK at Strategy Internet Marketing. He shares his experiences and gives advice to fellow students on how to find work once they graduate…

Employers Want It All

People today have a much freer access to further education than ever before, and as a result employers are generally expecting us to be extensively educated. It’s common for young people to study for many years before attempting to integrate into professional work environments.

The irony is that the same companies that expect young people to come equipped with all sorts of qualifications are also expecting them to have considerable professional working experience.

In turn, universities have adapted their learning programmes to prepare their students for the expectations of potential employers, preparing them to face some tough competition.

Most universities now incorporate professional work experience as a course requirement. The idea is to combine theory and hands-on practical tasks, so that students will be better prepared for the job market after they graduate. These programmes go by many names: internships, work placements or even training courses, but they essentially mean the same thing. Active work experiences which will help facilitate an easier transition between university and the employment market.

My Placement Experiences

I’m a French student and have recently graduated from a two year technical degree in Business and a Bachelors degree in Applied Foreign Languages. To respond to the high expectations of employers, I decided last year to undertake my first placement in an international French business school as an International Relations Assistant.

This experience provided me with the opportunity to refine my organisational skills, and confronted me with the reality that internships were essential for gaining as much practical experience as possible.

That’s why this year, to complete my Master’s degree in Marketing and Foreign Languages, I decided to undertake a second placement – abroad this time. I am now a Web-Marketing Intern on Bristol-based Strategy Internet Marketing’s work experience scheme.

Thanks to this internship I am putting into practice everything that I’ve learnt so far and more. I’m gaining valuable technical experience directly applicable to web-marketing, search engine optimization and a whole host of tools and techniques used every day within the industry.

This is a really rich experience and I know that it will significantly increase my employment opportunities as a result!

Why You Should Do a Placement Too

From my personal point of view, pursuing placement opportunities as part of your course of study has plenty of advantages;

  • They represent a substantial and accessible source of valuable experience.
  • Students can finish their studies with professional experience related to their degree, doubling their chances of landing a relevant job.
  • Students aren’t ‘losing time’ – by graduation age they’re equipped and ready to enter the world of work!
  • It is an enriching experience that significantly enhances your CV in the eyes of employers.
  • Students can start to build up their own professional network of contacts.
  • Students will get a good idea of what employment is actually like. More importantly, it affords you a better idea as to whether this career path is really what you want.

Internships are a fantastic way for inexperienced students to gain a valuable insight into a professional working environment.

If you are a student, and have the opportunity to undertake some sort of professional work experience, you shouldn’t hesitate for a second. Make the most of it!