Securing a summer internship

The summer break is well and truly here and that rare breed among us who are (somehow) more organised are heading off on internships they secured many moons ago. It seems as though a last-minute search for work experience or an industrial placement will be fruitless. But, fear not – there are still plenty of ways to secure something to boost that CV:

1) Must-use websites

GoThinkBig is a great site specialising in media work. It offers multiple placements at various magazines such as Grazia or Kerrang! throughout the year, as well as positions at PR firms, Sky, and more. The opportunities available are often short notice and there’s bound to be a summer placement ideal for anyone interested in media work. The site also offers careers events and advice, making it a valuable resource for all.


Field-specific sites: a quick Internet search can return numerous databases of jobs and internships in a range of sectors, from fashion to engineering. These can be an excellent resource with a lot of short notice adverts attempting to fill positions for the busy summer months. Fashion Workie, for instance, features loads of companies desperate for interns in roles from fashion retail or production to marketing. The roles are often paid too, which is increasingly uncommon in the current climate.

There are also plenty of year-long placements for those who have been studying the industry for years, some with brands as famous as Alexander McQueen. Employers favour these sites because it shows the candidate has done their research and is dedicated to entering the industry.

Milkround is the UK’s most widely-used student jobs site and, therefore, a go-to for big companies such as Deloitte and Teach First, and there are always hundreds of live ads from a range of industries. Due to its popularity, it might not be the best for last-minute situations, but it’s excellent for those looking for their first graduate job or lengthy paid internship after uni.


On the flip side, generalised job websites such as Indeed actually have a fair amount of internships if you look closely enough. Remember to sort by most recent to find positions that are still vacant.

Lastly, university careers centres are a highly valuable resource and people just don’t utilise them enough. Log on to yours and discover loads of opportunities reserved only for people with privileged access – students and graduates like you.

2) Speculative applications

It’s easier than it seems to get an internship or work experience placement through a speculative application. The best way to do this is to track down a specific and relevant person and contact them directly. Twitter or LinkedIn are great for this type of career-stalking. A general letter or email to an entire company will almost definitely be cast aside –  it demonstrates a lack of effort and attention to detail.

Be formal, promote yourself – but don’t get cocky – and try to demonstrate how you can actually help them out. Smaller companies, for instance, might appreciate the help when they have staff on summer holidays.

Another good move is to find and contact relevant alumni from your university. It might just increase your chance of success if you have something in common with them. Finally, don’t be afraid of starting small – it’ll open doors to something bigger next time.


3) Utilise your own contacts

This can be a really viable alternative. Whilst not everyone is related to a CEO, newspaper editor, or big-shot scientist, chances are you will be distantly connected to someone in-the-know.

Don’t be afraid to ask friends’ parents, neighbours, LinkedIn connections or lecturers (who tend to be surprisingly well-connected in their field). As long as you’ve demonstrated desirable attributes and sufficient proficiency or dedication to an area of work, they might just take you on. And having the confidence and drive to ask them will be in your favour too!


Remember, student and graduate “internships” are very important, because they substantially increase the chance of you finding employment. To an employer, a candidate who has spent time working for a firm within a particular industry shows dedication to a particular career, enthusiasm for a particular job and importantly, has experience.

Good luck!


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