Placements: When things don’t go to plan

Written by Penney Gordon-Lanes, Careers Consultant at the Careers Service

You’ve worked hard to secure your placement, you have smashed all those challenges the employer has set and you have demonstrated you are the right fit for the business. Sure, it was hard, but YOU did it, you got that placement!

So, now what?

With the current Covid-19 outbreak, some employers are responding by being cautious and unfortunately for some, this means job offers are being withdrawn.

So, what should you do?

Firstly, if you have not had any contact with your employer since the offer, make contact with them to ensure you still have the offer of the placement and enquire as to when you will receive your contract. Also, confirm your start date. Note that some employers may want to move your start date back a little to August or September 2020.

If your employer retracts the offer, what should you do?

Stay positive: Remember how resilient you were trying to get the placement in the first place? Well, it’s time to lean on that resilience again! You know you have what it takes. You have proved you are employable already. It’s time to be positive and put your energy back into planning what you want to do next.

Start searching again: You can still search for a placement year! Employers are still recruiting. Be aware though, that employer recruitment methods may have changed, for example, you may be asked to participate in a virtual assessment centre or video interview instead of a face-to-face interview.

Reach out to your network: If you have been in contact with other employers during your search, re-connect with them, ask if there is anything available. Likewise, there may be opportunities via family, friends, or LinkedIn connections. Post a message on LinkedIn, letting people know your placement fell through and you are available. Stay in contact with the employer who has withdrawn the placement offer. Ask if anything else is available, they may want to help you as you have made a very positive impression.

Speculative approach: If you find that the volume of placements is not as it was, think about making a speculative approach to employers. There are some useful tips on what to put in the cover letter on the Careers Service webpage.

Other work experience: You may decide that you just want to continue with your studies and complete your final year. If this is the case, then perhaps consider other ways to enhance your CV. Apply for summer internships, volunteering opportunities, join or take on more responsibility at one of the many Student Union societies or secure a part time job. Work experience is about developing skills, so even if the role doesn’t directly relate to your discipline, you will still acquire many transferrable skills that employers value.

Summer internships and part time jobs

Volunteering opportunities

UoM Student’s Union

Applications and interviews Careers advice Internships networking

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