April 5, 2017, by Carla Froggatt
STEM students looking for summer internships – Why not try something a little different?
By Chris Colegate, Careers and Employability Placement Consultant
Internships are hard to get – yes, you all know that! Securing something that’s really closely matched to your degree can make the search even harder.
With that in mind its worth keeping your options open and as broad as possible. Why not consider something completely different to your degree and make yourself stand out?
The Wakeham review, which looks at employability of students from STEM subjects, notes that while 66% of recruiting employers cite relevant work experience as a critical or significant factor in looking for candidates, any type of work experience is a benefit.
As such, when you search for internships it is really important to think about the soft skills you can gain – communication, teamwork, organisation, research, leadership and more.
It is important to consider how you can further develop existing technical skills. Consider how a future graduate employer may view the work experience you have. It really doesn’t have to be something that fits neatly with your area of study – it could be something completely different. Wouldn’t that be great to help you stand out in future job interviews?
Look beyond the job title
Are you a life scientist, chemist or bioscientist with great analytical and report writing skills? Put this in to practice working on an exciting project for a charity. If you are a talented mathematician or physicist, you could consider a digital marketing internship. Your numerical skills will be put to good use in SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and PPC (Pay-per-click) campaigns. For talented engineers and computer scientists, think about how an internship in areas like communications, marketing or PR could help you build key skills, skills which you will be asked about when you are interviewing for that dream graduate job.
Whatever you do, you’ll also learn to work with people from a range of disciplinary backgrounds. This will be useful for working with colleagues in any future graduate role.
You get the picture – now what next?
The Nottingham Internship Scheme offers over 95 opportunities exclusively available to University of Nottingham students. Having delivered this scheme for four years, we know companies want students to apply from a variety of degree backgrounds. They are seeking new ideas and students who can suggest different ways of working. People who can drive efficiency into what they do and help their organisations grow.
Don’t be put off by a job title, look at the duties, think about the skills you can gain, and apply today!