What does not getting a placement, internship or work experience mean?

Many students have tried to secure placements, internships or even just work experience in their field of study or the field they would want to go into after university/sixth form/college. However out of the thousands that have applied only one person actually gets the job.

I know full well what it’s like to apply to all these major companies and get turned down, but also to get turned down by SME’s and local businesses. The person starts to feel that they are not good enough, that they are doing something wrong, that they haven’t got what it takes and that they should give up. Which is NOT the case

Recently I was that person, I’ve applied for job after job after job, and the answer is still NO every time. I couldn’t have the  job because I wasn’t qualified enough, I didn’t have a driving licence, the company had already filled the position(s) or the company just doesn’t do a scheme for undergraduates. The industry I want to go into of marketing or an advertising agency is cut-throat, tough and highly saturated. Therefore it isn’t surprising that I keep being told no, when you want something really bad you keep trying, you keep persevering and you don’t stop until to have reached the end goal. However there is a time when no is a word that you know all to well, it becomes the norm, the expectation and slowly my confidence started to go and I became stressed.

I would personally say that I’ve been looking for a summer placement since March, since then I have applied to over 50 companies in total, whether they advertise or don’t advertise undergraduate placement opportunities. On average that’s about 3 companies per week, but then also equals 3 no’s per week and 50 no’s in total.


If you cannot find a placement what should you do?

Not securing some sort of placement doesn’t necessary mean it’s the end of the world, I would suggest that you keep looking. Along the way there are going to be several no’s however it is going to prepare you for undergraduate year placements and graduate schemes. If a company ends up saying no to you ask what’s the reasoning behind it therefore you can improve your style and the way you come across, which may just land you your next job.

In addition to that, go freelance. Freelance is a great opportunity and a great way to expand your skills and get the experience you need. There are freelancers in basically every single industry ranging from web design to social consultancy and everything in between. Having a look around there is an article written on The Guardian about overcoming freelance fears, and there’s a freelancers switchboard which has a range of blog articles. I personally do a bit of freelance where I create posters and leaflets. I’m hoping to expand it and build on my client base however I still have to meet deadlines and give the clients what they want while making sure I’m proud of the finished product.

To answer the question of this blog, not getting a placement, internship of work experience means nothing, you just have to keep looking and give freelance a go. Eventually I’m sure something will come up for you. Tell me about your experiences in finding a summer job or going freelance.


A little bit extra (A mini story)

I was orginally going to publish this blog post last night but I wanted time to perfect it and likely I did. This morning at work (Topshop/Topman) a lovely middle-aged man came into work and we were talking about clothes, which is what was expected. However the conversation swiftly moved onto family and work and eventually placements. The guy I meet was called Ricki, he is an American, who worked in the military and is planning on moving to Bedford. While we were talking about work I mentioned that I might be too ambitious, he said it’s probably due to the was I was brought up, then I said that my mum is doing her second masters and will graduate next year. From here he asked if I was a Christian, which I am and then said some moving and inspirational words, I can’t remember it word-for-what but it went along the lines of:

“We’re both here to talk about this, and it’s not a coincidence.  I can see you’re a motivated women who’s working to earn money, and make life at university easier. All the no’s that you are receiving are just preparing you for life latter on, it’s making you stronger and will make you work harder”

That conversation with a complete random stranger has motivated me more than ever and given me the confidence boost and the kick in life that I need. Sometimes it’s the little things in life that motivate you the most. So, once again. Keep looking.



Until next time,

Alexandrya-Carmen Mbu.

Leave a comment

  1. July 3, 2013 / 5:27 pm

    Great article. You might want to check out our site and watch the video on how we can help. Come join us…

  2. July 4, 2013 / 11:04 am

    Well done little sis, nicely written! Inspired!!!! V.proud for you 🙂 x


Leave a Reply