Employers can tell who has made an effort with their placement application and who hasn't. Do your research; it will set your application apart. Visit the company's website if there is one, use social media channels, read recent news stories, and even use their products. Dig deeper than the homepage. Find out what the company is all about, its values, mission statement, the causes it supports, etc. Think about how the advertised role fits into the wider picture for this SME. Put in the effort and it'll show in your application.
Make sure you match up your skills, attributes, and qualifications with the placement advert. Each line of the advert is important; it gives an idea of the types of tasks required in the role and lists relevant skills to complete that task successfully... so pay attention. Remember, it's not only about what you are looking for, it's about what the company needs and how you fit the requirements. Promote yourself.
Don't underestimate the importance of attention to detail. Your spelling, punctuation, grammar, and presentation needs to be perfect; or you could be perceived as slap-dash and sloppy. It’s said you never get a second chance to make a first impression. It's as true in a covering letter, e-mail, or CV, as it is face-to-face.
Qualifications are just the start
You have the technical qualifications, the letters after your name, and a great academic record. Employers, however, are looking for more than a degree - they need to employ the right person. Make sure you fill your application and CV with your attitude, outlook, passion, personality, and enthusiasm as well as your ability to work in a team and go the extra mile. Show it, communicate it, and demonstrate it in your CV and especially when it comes to the interview.
Be flexible and ready to work
Through ScotGrad, you will be placed with a small to medium-sized company. That means you'll get plenty of responsibility and opportunities, but you should also expect to need to be flexible. Get used to multi-tasking and using your initiative to get on with jobs on your own. You may have preconceptions about what the placement will be like... try to put those aside, get involved, and get to grips with the reality of how you can make progress in your project.
If you're looking for inspiration, here's a list of some of our favourite career advice blogs and news outlets:
Remember, you can contact your Careers Service at university for expert advice.