HELEN SLINGSBY

Deadlines are fast approaching for summer 2015 internships, Brunel’s Placement and Careers Centre can show you how to find and land them.

Before you read on, please keep in mind that summer internships are NOT the only way to find useful, relevant work experience. Writing directly to companies and asking them for work experience is another way to get your foot in the door.

Mostly summer internships are aimed at students who are in their penultimate or final year, but there are also limited opportunities for first years too. But what exactly does a summer internship entail? According to graduate recruiter Rate My Placement, a summer internship is “A period of paid work experience between one and four months.” If working in either finance, manufacturing, law, and the corporate (business) sectors is your jam, then summer internships are definitely worth a go.

But what’s in it for you? For starters, you’ll be paid, and you’ll get a taster of what it’s like to work in your chosen area. You’ll make essential connections for the future and (get this) you’ll stand an exponentially better chance of being employed as a graduate, especially by the company you interned with. So be focused about who you approach. “37% of graduate job vacancies are expected to be filled by students who have previously worked for the organisation,” say researchers High Fliers.  Also, a summer internship is CV gold. It gives you tons of good stuff to say about yourself, and plenty of examples to demonstrate your brilliance.

To find any internship, apply either through the company website or via a range of recruitment websites including:

All About Careers

Rate My Placement

Inside Careers

Target Jobs

Intern Wise

Student Ladder

E4S

To land an internship, treat each application individually. Employers can spot generic, cut and paste jobs a mile off.  Be very specific, because recruiters will ask for examples of times when you’ve demonstrated key skills and attributes. Break down the actual actions you took, and always mention the result of your actions. Use the STAR formula (Situation, Task, Action, Result) to help structure the answers.

Be professional in all your communication with employers – don’t write in text speak, and make sure your email address sounds professional too. Do your research, but don’t just look at the website. Use news stories and social networking sites to read up on the company.

Credit: Ben Lunato-Doyen
Credit: Ben Lunato-Doyen

And make sure you spell the name of the organisation you are applying to correctly! (Yes, really, some people get this wrong!)

When tailoring your CV, list bullet points for each role in order of relevance to the position you are applying for. This will help keep the recruiters interest and make you sound like a strong fit for the role. Always include achievements.

When you include your mobile number, don’t forget to check that your voice mail is professional- no rapping/singing messages (and we’ve heard a few).

But most importantly, get the most out of your internship. This sounds basic but you’d be amazed who doesn’t follow this advice:

  • Be on time
  • Dress smartly
  • Don't talk or text on your mobile at work
  • Show enthusiasm and be proactive, do NOT wait to be asked to do  something
  • Write things down – your memory might be amazing but stuff can get missed when multi-tasking
  • Be courteous and polite at all times
  • Know why you are there. If people ask, say something like, “to get experience of the finance sector as I’m really interested in hedge fund management”
  • Make contacts while you are there
  • Keep in touch with the people you meet. It’s not just they who can help you, it’s who they know. Make sure this communication is mutual – what can you offer in return?

 

But don’t worry if you find that your internship isn’t for you. The aim of an internship is partly to find out whether you could commit to a career in that role, so don't be disheartened if you decide it’s not for you, the experience will have still been invaluable.

Some other useful summer internship links are:

PCC website

Employment Rights

Tips on Online Forms

Overseas internships: AIESEC

Good luck and do seek help from your Careers Consultants. We live in the Placement and Careers Centre, first floor Bannerman Centre, above Costa! We really do make a difference.

Ask your Careers Consultant for help by emailing careers@brunel.ac.uk, and we can turn your applications into sparkling success stories. For further information visit our website:  http://www.brunel.ac.uk/services/pcc/students/interviews-and-assessment-centres