Viktoriya Yordanova

Viktoriya Yordanova

Viktoriya Yordanova is a BA (Hons) Marketing, Advertising and Public Relations Scheme with Sandwich Year final-year student at Birmingham City Business School.

“Why do you go to university?” – I was asked once. “To get my dream job.” – I answered. In today’s tough economic climate, however, hundreds of freshly graduated young people are competing for the same job position. Just a degree from a well-known university does not guarantee a job offer anymore because employers are looking for what else an employee can offer – mostly job-related skills and experience.

You would ask “But how can a person who has never worked before and has just graduated have any relevant experience at all?”. Well, there is a way around it – an industrial placement. I had the opportunity to go on one after my second year at Birmingham City University and can certainly confirm that this was the best year of my life.

Getting a placement offer was not an easy task at all. It was the first time I was ever applying for a ‘real’ job and the declines I received almost made me lose faith. However, thanks to the help of the lovely people at the Placement Office at my university, I was given full support during the process. From being sent job adverts in which I might be interested to receiving advice on how to improve my CV and participating in a mock assessment centre, the Placement Office was always there to help me in my preparation for getting my placement. One mistake some students make, however, is to never reach for that support.

After sending around 10-15 applications, I finally managed to get two job interviews. I was successful at the first one and decided to accept the job offer by a boutique digital marketing consultancy in central London. The first three months settling in and getting used to the 9-to-5 daily routine were difficult, but with the support of my new, friendly colleagues I ‘survived’ my probation period. I was really enjoying my job and the dedication and hard work paid off when my contract was extended and I received a bonus. Although being just a placement student, my contribution was always valued, which was the best reward I could get.

Now I am in my final year at university and only after coming back from a placement I can understand why employers want to hire people with experience. I learnt so much by doing the work every single day, not only in terms of digital marketing but also in regards to business conduct and other details that are not mentioned in the academic literature. The placement experience enhances the effect of the university and students who go on one graduate as more confident experts in their professional field.

Another benefit of being on placement is the exposure to industry professionals with whom the student work and develop relationships. This can later lead to a future job offer or a recommendation to a potential employer. In addition to the gained new knowledge and improved confidence, the student on placement has already started building their professional network, which is of great importance for future success.

Last but not least, many Birmingham City University students who go on a placement are subsequently offered a graduate role by the same company, which demonstrates the employers’ satisfaction with the quality of the work they deliver. The preparation and support from the university throughout the whole process is steady. Even when at work each student is assigned a personal tutor to keep in touch with, who ensures the student is happy with all aspects of the placement experience.

I would recommend to everyone, regardless of their degree, to go on a placement. Undeniably, the application process is tough, but if you are determined and hard-working, you will be reaping the rewards from it for a long time in the future and will start your graduate career with a jump-start.

Discover what is on offer at the Birmingham City Business School and other Faculties at our next Open Day on Saturday 14 June 2014. Register now

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