When I first started looking for internships it all seemed a bit daunting. There are so many different types and websites to choose from that I remember I kept putting it off because I found it too overwhelming and nervous about doing a placement year, when really searching for new internships and opportunities should be exciting!
My only real experience in applying for internships are for fashion-based ones so I can’t really help with tips on finding an internships in science or anything like that, but here’s some things I picked up on that might help.
Where to start?
It seems pretty obvious but make sure you have a tip top CV and basic cover letter which you can edit depending on the type of role/job specifications and tailor it to the advert. If you need help, ask your family/friends/tutors or even look at online examples for inspiration.
Hopefully you’ll already have an idea in mind of the kind of internship and role you want to gain experience in. If not, don’t panic! Internship’s are meant to be a little taster of the role that you are interested in and typically last only a short period of time so if you feel that your internship is not the right fit for you then you can always try and get another week or two interning somewhere else or just stick it out until the end
and you’ve probably still learnt something even if it is just finding out what you don’t want to do.
These three websites were the most beneficial in my experience when I was applying for internships last year:
They all have Twitter accounts which is probably one of the more easier ways to keep up-to-date with recent openings and allows you to try and get noticed before lots of people apply! There are also the normal job posting sites like Indeed and Reed where companies will sometimes post internship positions as well as on the company’s actual website.
LinkedIn occasionally throws out the odd gem as well.
There are other ways to get an internship and it’s through networking! Ask your family and friends if there may be any interning possibilities at the companies they currently work at, I managed to get my current internship with the help of my sister asking at her company if there was any possibility of me interning with the marketing department.
If, like me, you are doing a placement as part of your course at university and you’re a bit stuck then approach your tutor! My tutor had lots of connections to companies she had built up from her career before she turned to teaching and helped me to find my first internship that I did. If your tutor can’t help you, there should be a placement support person to help and advise you and a place on the university website to advertise internships/placements/grad schemes for students to apply for.
Things to Bear in Mind
Unless you’re extremely lucky, many internships and placements are unpaid and some do not cover expenses so do have a plan for how you’re going to fund your internship.
You can still get an internship with no previous or relevant experience! The whole point of internships is to actually gain experience and knowledge in whatever role it is you want to pursue and a lot of companies know this and will quite often take on people with no experience although depending on the type of role you are applying for, some experience is preferred. I used my ‘Live Projects’ from my course as part of my ‘work experience’ when trying to get my first internship!
Hopefully these tips were useful and good luck to anyone trying to find their dream placement!