One of the best ways to secure a full-time job after you graduate is to already have some work experience in your chosen field. Internships are a great way to gain first-hand experience in an industry and to make some valuable connections.
The length of an internship can vary from as little as one week to several months, depending on the needs of the company. Some employers do pay interns for their time, whereas others don’t, so you should set your expectations accordingly before applying for a position.
Use Your Existing Network
Sometimes the best way to find an internship is to use your existing contacts. If you have friends or family who work in an industry you’re considering as a career, tell them that you’re looking for internship opportunities. Even if a company doesn’t have an internship programme in place, the prospect of having someone lend a helping hand for a few weeks for free, could be enough for them to create one especially for you. The more people you speak to about your search for an internship, the more you’ll increase your chances of finding one.
Approach Companies you’d like to Work for
One of the most effective ways of finding an internship as a student is to approach companies directly. Once you have a company in mind that you’d like to work for, find out the name of the person who deals with recruitment and send them an email with your CV. To help improve the chances of your email being read, check out our two posts on how to write a cover letter and how to write the perfect CV. If you don’t hear back from anyone after one week, follow up with a phone call as larger companies often have slower response times.
Talk to your University Careers Advisor
Your university careers advisor is a great source of information on internship opportunities. Every university has contacts with specific industries and speaking to someone in-the-know at your university can unearth some good leads. A careers advisor will also be able to tell you where to look for internship opportunities and the best way to approach your applications.
Internships and Careers Websites
Student careers websites like Success at School often provide details of internship positions over a range of different industries. It’s a good idea to sign up to these websites’ mailing lists, so you can stay informed about their latest offerings. At the moment, we have several work experience placements listed on our site, with opportunities as diverse as work placements at Playstation, ITV, The Guardian and Scottish Water.
For more general careers advice for students, take a look at our student careers blog, where we provide useful tips and insightful information that can help you in your search for a career.
Image credit: Thomas Jodlowski - https://www.flickr.com/photos/kompania_piwowarska/6231888988/