Graduates & Students

The A to Z of ScotGrad placements

Janice Wallace from the ScotGrad team has broken down the basics to gaining and succeeding in your ScotGrad placement – it’s as easy as ABC.

Published: 10/11/2016

A – Application

You’ll get your first foot in the door with a stellar application. Check out our CV-writing tips and application dos and don’ts in our careers advice.

B – Be proactive

Don't hang back and wait for things to come to you. Instead, look for opportunities where you can expand your knowledge, improve your skills and while on your placement, add value to the organisation.

C – Careers fairs

Pop along to a careers fair near you to find out more about ScotGrad and the placements we offer.

D – Dress code

Each organisation will have its own dress code. Contact your employer before you start to ask what the dress code is. It’s always best to dress smart for the first day until you get a feel for the culture.

E – Eligibility

A graduate or student placement through ScotGrad is an excellent opportunity to get you on a successful career path. Check if you are eligible (student or graduate) before you apply.

F – Feedback

After you’ve been in your role for a while, ask your manager for feedback on your performance. They will be able to help you recognise your strengths and weaknesses and set targets to challenge and improve yourself.

G – Gaelic placements

ScotGrad offers Gaelic-speaking placements which have a focus on promoting Gaelic as an economic asset. Check out the success stories of two recent Gaelic placements.

H - Have fun

It may be work, but you should get along with your colleagues and enjoy the work you’re doing. Attend social outings, but remember to remain professional at all times.

I – Interview techniques

Interviews can be a daunting process especially if it’s your first one since graduating. As with anything, preparation is key. Check out our top tips so you can go in feeling confident and prepared.

J – Jargon

On your placement there may be some words and phrases you don’t recognise. Take the time to familiarise yourself with the industry terminology and always ask if you don’t understand something.

K – Knowledge

Your placement is a great opportunity to build on the knowledge you’ve already got – also, don’t be afraid to part with some of your wisdom as you may be able to offer a fresh way of thinking.

L – Listen up…

…and be observant. Your placement is a chance to experience a real working environment. From team meetings to working with clients, observe your colleague’s habits - how do they manage situations and speak to their colleagues? These new situations will help to build up your skills.

M – Money!

All ScotGrad placements are paid. Salaries vary between employers but the minimum annual salary for a graduate placement is £16,500, which will be pro-rata for the length of your placement. Student placements pay at least the minimum living wage.

N – Networking

You will meet a host of new people while on your placement and start to build up your industry contacts. Networking is a skill you will build up over time. Get a step ahead with our networking tips.

O – Organisational skills

One of the most effective ways to make a good impression is to stay organised. Make sure your organisation skills are tip top by figuring out what works best for you, whether it’s to-do lists, calendar reminders or Post-it notes. Simple measures will help you keep on top of your workload.

P – Positivity

It is important to remain positive during any down times where you perhaps don’t have enough work to do or the tasks you have aren’t your idea of fun. Remember how valuable professional experience is and how much it will benefit you in the future.

Q – Questions

From day one your new colleagues will talk about things which you don’t understand but that they assume you do. By asking questions, your understanding of the business and of your role will grow much faster. Piece things together bit-by-bit by asking questions whenever you need to.

R – Relocation

Your perfect placement might not be on your doorstep, so relocating may be on the cards. Whether you think it’s a no-go or you’d embrace the adventure, read about the experiences of three ScotGrad Associates who moved to remote parts of the Highlands and Islands for their placements.

S – Skills

Placements are a brilliant way to apply and improve the practical skills you learned at university. From independent working, to writing and evaluation, read our blog on how to build on your skills during your placement.

T – Teamwork

Organisations want new recruits to fit into the company culture and positively contribute to the team. Go out of your way to be a team player and co-operate with colleagues to achieve your goals.

U – Under pressure?

If you feel a little bit out of your depth, speak to your line manager and ask for help. The ScotGrad team is always available to help talk through your concerns. You can contact us here.

V – Variety

ScotGrad works with growing organisations in a wide range of sectors, all over Scotland. We also offer graduate and student opportunities for work experience at any stage of your education.

W – Writing

Any sort of writing, whether emails, reports, or marketing material, will become a big part of your new role. As you did with your CV, make sure to double-check your spelling and grammar to keep up a good impression.

X – Experts

Ok, it doesn’t technically start with an X, but it is close! We work with a number of Scottish universities and further education institutions. The careers service at your university is free, so take advantage of your experts on the ground.

Y – You

It’s up to you to make the most of your placement, be prepared, get involved and speak up – challenge yourself, celebrate your achievements and reflect on things you could have done better.

Z – Zero time to lose!

Apply for your ScotGrad placement today.