Placements (a form of Work-based learning) in the UK or overseas can provide you with a valuable opportunity to develop key employability skills and gain vital professional experience. This experience will give you an advantage over graduates who have not gained specific experience and skills when you apply for graduate level jobs. Placements usually take place during term time, as part of a sandwich year – often between the second and third year of a degree. Placements are usually taken as part of a module, and you will receive academic credit on completion.

When should I start applying for a Placement?

Start thinking about what kind of Work Based Learning you would like to do in your first year. Consider your career goals, interests, and experiences and look for placements that align with your preferences and the skills you want to develop. Draft your CV and think about whether you want to work close to home, within the UK, or even internationally. If you have existing responsibilities, (e.g. caring or a part-time job you don’t want to quit) explore other forms of work-based learning to gain professional experience.

Take a look at our guide, Work Based Learning, Placements and Work Experience, which provides further detail on what types of Work Based Learning and placements are out there.

When you're ready to apply, use CareerSet, an AI-powered platform, to improve your CV and cover letters with personalised feedback.

Applications typically open around September and close between November and February. Be proactive, research opportunities, and apply early to avoid missing out. Keep in mind that competition for placement vacancies can be intense. Although opportunities are available throughout the year, starting your research and applications sooner is better.

You can make speculative applications to employers at any point in the year – just make sure your CV and introductory email ready to go. have appointments and resources to make sure you are ready to apply.  

Feel free to make speculative applications to employers anytime, ensuring your CV and introductory email are ready. Seek assistance from Careers and Enterprise services to make your application stand out. Remember that securing a placement may require multiple applications and interviews, but each experience helps improve your skills in the recruitment process. Tailor your CV and email for each application, and if you don't get accepted initially, stay persistent and don't get disheartened.

Where can I get further help and advice?

Every programme will offer the opportunity and support with placements and other forms of work-based learning. Please speak to your school placement staff for information on subject and programme specific work-based learning and placement details.

The Careers and Enterprise also offers support including:

  • Guidance on the type of work-based learning you are looking for
  • How to search for placements
  • Applications advice.
  • Attend a Careers Fair at the university and speak directly to employers who have a variety of opportunities on offer.

If you are interested in gaining overseas experience for your placement, speak to the International Opportunities Team. You will find out the options available to you within your degree programme.

How to find a placement

Some great places to start your search are:

We recommend that you use our template to keep a journal of all the applications you have made: Work Placement Summary and Reflection. You may find our guide useful - Writing a Reflective Log.

You will be better able to chase up responses and you'll know where you are up to in the application process at a glance.

Our advisors can discuss the best way to approach gaining a placement, check your application and ensure your submission is the best it can be.

Still finding it difficult?

Don't worry! Employers hiring graduates look for evidence of your suitability as an employee, your interest in the company and industry, and the desired skills, abilities, and knowledge.

You can develop these qualities through various means:

  • LinkedIn Learning - Utilise the University's partnership with LinkedIn Learning for a wide range of courses on different subjects and specific skills.
  • Volunteering - Boost your CV by volunteering, gaining employability skills like flexibility and adaptability. Consider online volunteering opportunities with organizations like Amnesty International, Be My Eyes, The Prince's Trust, and Zooniverse.
  • Networking - Join LinkedIn and start networking! Simply by reaching out to people, you could build up a good relationship with professionals in your chosen sector. They may be able to recommend you for any work experience opportunities in future. Watch our Using social media for your career
  • LinkedIn Learning pathway to learn how to create the perfect LinkedIn profile.
  • Staying Informed - Keep up to date with news in your sector, industry, or preferred companies to showcase your enthusiasm and knowledge during interviews.
  • Follow Companies - Track updates from companies and professional bodies through their social media accounts, especially LinkedIn. Read the 'industry press' - specific news publications/websites catering to the sectors you might be interested in. Some employers produce podcasts to engage with potential employees, clients and customers.

Speak to a Careers Adviser

Get guidance from our friendly team of Advisers. Book an appointment or call 0161 295 0023 (option 5, option 3). 

Open to current students and Salford Alumni only.