Rough guide to finding an internship

January 21, 2009

Are you thinking about doing a summer internship, but haven’t started looking or secured one yet?  As the title says this is just a rough, quick guide to finding an internship.  Hopefully it will give you a few ideas of where to look and things to do to find an opportunity for summer 2009.  

Plan A– Find an internship you are interested in on the Careers Service website or on the company’s own website.  Ideally, ‘Plan A’ should be your first choice in terms of finding an internship.  You can search the vacancies on our website and application details will be included in the advert.  Depending on what you are looking to do and the sector you want to gain experience in, you may find that some of the closing dates have already passed for summer internships.  Never fear – there’s always Plan B…

Plan B – Find something from other sources.  ‘Why?’ and ‘What sources?’ I hear you cry.  Why – some companies don’t always advertise their opportunities with the Careers Service.  This might be because they get a lot of applications just from their website or that they advertise elsewhere.   Don’t just look at the big organisations but also check out smaller organisations.  What sources – there are lots of places that you can look.  A few sources to try include:

  • Online Careers Library on our website (an online directory of what we have in the Careers Resource Centre)
  • Careers Fairs pages on our website – these pages have details of fairs we have held this year as well as upcoming fairs.  Even though the fair has passed, you can look at the exhibitors who attended and the opportunities they had on offer.  Some may still have internships on offer.
  • Local Libraries (including Central Library in Manchester) – libraries carry lots of different information and may have business directories you can browse.
  • The Internet – you could try company websites, online directories, professional associations and organisations (i.e. organisations that deal with a sector/industry), to name just a few. 

Some of these ideas may seem really obvious to you – but searching through different publications and resources may give you ideas of additional companies you are interested in applying to.  You can then see if they have internships or opportunities advertised on their own website and apply.  If not, there’s always Plan C…

Plan C – If you can’t find anything advertised by the companies you are interested in working for, you could always make a speculative application.  This is when you send a CV and covering letter to an organisation, even though they may not have specifically advertised an opportunity.  It could be something you send by email or in the post.  It might seem scary but if you are comfortable in making such an application, it may be a great way to secure an internship for this summer.  

If you can, it’s always best to send your application to a named individual at the organisation rather than just to a generic email address or office address.  You could call a company’s general phone number to request a name or specific email address.   

Visit our website for advice about applications and tips on making speculative applications.  Keep an eye on this blog in the coming weeks for more about speculative applications.

Good luck in your search!


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