FIND MY WORK PLACEMENT

Are you an undergraduate or graduate student being asked to find a work placement but you don’t know where to start or how to go about it? This section can help!
It contains information on the different types of work placements and on what is expected of you, links to organizations that might be able to help you, ideas of where to look, and much, much more. Dig around and lose yourself in these pages, and you’re bound to learn something.

Looking for a work placement is a task that can be more or less complex, depending on the circumstances. It requires advance preparation and a selection of the right sources of information.

The most common and most fruitful method is based on a network of acquaintances. You should explore your options by talking to your family, friends and acquaintances as much as possible.

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All right, you’ve made your decision: you want to do a work placement to complete your theoretical knowledge and learn new business and interpersonal skill sets. The question that arises now is, where can you find the right placement for you? Which company should you target and which doors should you knock on? Below you will find advice and helpful links to assist you in your search.

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Some work placement openings will specify the knowledge and skills required to do the placement. If not or if, for example, you post a work placement application as a spontaneous application, feel free to highlight your special skill sets and anything else that makes you stand out against another candidate! Everything you do can be turned to your advantage on your CV (memberships, organization of events, leisure activities, etc.), including, for example :

- Language skills

- Software skills

- Charitable responsibilities, etc.

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  • Why should you ask this question? To hone your personalized career plan, become more self-aware, and select or eliminate certain types of professions
  • What type of specialization? In which specific domain? Either to find out if your like it or to be able to add a line to your CV
  • What type of business: R&D, production, quality control, monitoring, technical sales, management, training, etc.?
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- Personal web page, blog, etc.

- Personal career plan

- Portfolio

- Non-academic diplomas, certificates and official documents: TOEIC or TOEFL for language level, first aid certificate, lifeguard certificate, certificates of non-academic training, etc.

- Course of study: why and how to present it?

- Description of acquired skill sets, if available. Why? How to present them?

- Your university’s description of its expectations of the work placement and the supervision that it will provide

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Unlike in the Anglo-American world references and recommendation letters are not very common in Germany. But they are a legitimate opportunity to draw attention to personal qualities that are not completely covered by the more formal documents. References and recommendation letters can be written by professors, and supervisors of former employments or internships.

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  • No more than one page. Condense. Include only what is most important.
  • Address the responsible HR officer personally (not “Dear Sir or Madam” but rather “Dear Ms. Ernoult”, for example).
  • Write one or two concise subject lines, no more than that. (You will find further hints and examples in the documents linked below.)
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After a solid introduction – because the recruiter’s first impression is decisive – you should avoid the following common mistakes:

- Standard introduction: “Pursuant to your advertisement published in ... on ..., please find attached my CV...”;

- Aggressive introduction: “You are looking for a systems engineer; you will not find anyone better than me”;

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