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Handbook

Our guides for employers and candidates on how to navigate the entry-level job market.

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Handbook
Contents

How to Get an Internship

How to find and secure an internship

An internship is a short period of work experience at a company. The length of the internship can vary from a few weeks, to a year (often done as a work placement), but usually they last between 1-3 months. Getting an internship can give you an insight into the field of work you would like to go into and can help you to grow your skills and number of contacts in your chosen sector. Many internships take place in the summer, with applications opening in the autumn, but internships can take place all year round so there is no strict time frame that you must apply within.

  • Search online but also ask people you know for internships
  • Make sure you choose an internship that is moving forward your career opportunities
  • Sell your skills to employers, rather than just seeing the internship as being for you

Where to find available internships

  • TalentPool specialises in start-up and SME internships, all of which are paid and high quality, and can be a great opportunity to learn about a sector from a different perspective.
  • If you’re looking to gain experience at a larger company, sites like Brightnetwork, e4s and Graddiary can give you information on deadlines and application windows for a large number of internships.
  • The careers office of your university might have opportunities, some of which may even be exclusive to your institution.
  • Contacts that you have made at previous events or work experience roles might have an opportunity in their company or know of someone who does.
  • Social media platforms like LinkedIn are a common place for employers to post about vacancies, so following companies you are interested in can keep you up to date with what they have to offer.
  • Friends and family members may be willing to give you a role that is not open to everyone or may have contacts that you can follow up.

Some organisations might be willing to give you an internship even if they do not advertise them. People you have met and who know you might consider creating an opportunity for you if you approach them, so don’t be afraid to send out emails!

Choosing an internship

  • Be clear about what you want to get from your internship, whether that be clarity on what you might want to do with your career, or new skills and some experience. Don’t apply to internships randomly, focus in on opportunities that can give you what you want.
  • Sometimes companies will advertise whether or not they will be considering the candidate for a job at the end of the internship. Be sure to check this if you are looking for an internship that may become a job.
  • Look into how much you will be paid for the internship and make sure it is financially viable before you take the role. You might need to factor in the cost of staying away from home or travelling when you consider which internships you should apply for.

The application process

  • When applying to an internship you will be asked to do many of the same things as someone applying to a permanent job,  so it’s worth tidying up your CV and doing some interview preparation.
  • Make sure to apply early, particularly for opportunities with a rolling deadline, employers may start choosing candidates before the deadline has passed.
  • Sell your skills to the employers you apply to, if you can offer them something helpful and unique they are far more likely to consider you than if you are applying to get experience for yourself.
  • Ask for feedback on your interview or application if you are not successful and try and make changes that will help you next time.
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