September 2, 2013, by Jemma Utley

How to Kick-Start Your Career with an Internship

By Sarah Allen, Faculty of Social Sciences Employability Projects Officer

Why do an internship?

While any sort of work experience will be useful, internship schemes give you exposure to working on a project and offer responsibility from day one. Typically they last 8-10 weeks and are completed during the summer following your second year at university.

An internship will give you an opportunity to test out a role and find out more about an organisation and the sector before you commit to it. They are great for developing your interpersonal and work-related skills, as well as networking and problem-solving.

They can be really important stepping stone into many organisations.  In 2016, High Fliers Research found that:

Recruiters have confirmed that 32% of this year’s entry-level positions are expected to be filled by graduates who have already worked for their organisations, either through paid internships, industrial placements or vacation work.

How to find one

If you are already focused on a career within a particular sector, it might be beneficial to use companies’ websites and apply directly. The process is extremely competitive so take care over the application, research the sector and organisation thoroughly. Apply as soon as applications open because some businesses stop considering candidates once they have found enough people who are suitable rather than waiting until the deadline has passed.

If you are unsure of which company you want to work for, you can have a look at our ‘Sources of vacancies’ page for placements and internships and external job boards.

It is a good idea to follow any companies that you are interested in on social networks, we tweet details from @UoNCareers of internships. You can also find placements through, family, friends, tutors and by sending a tailored CV and covering letter to carefully researched companies.

Finding an internship is a competitive process, so make sure you have done what you can to make your application stand out, booking an appointment with one of our advisers would be the best place to start. Make sure you apply to a variety of employers not just well known graduate employers as smaller organisations can offer more responsibility giving you an insight into the business overall.  However, any type of work experience or work shadowing will add to your CV so don’t disregard any options just because they are not your perfect internship.

Make the most of it!

Wherever you end up spending your summer, make sure you make the most of the opportunity.  Plan and write some objectives of what you want to achieve, keep a record of everything you learn through tasks that you were assigned, particularly how you deal with any challenging situations.  Update your CV with the experience as soon as possible and be able to talk confidently about your new skills.

To find out more about all your work experience options have a look on our website and book an appointment with a member of our team. There will also be an Internship Fair in autumn where you can meet recruiters looking for interns! 

Posted in Applying For JobsGraduate VacanciesWork experience