How to secure your dream internship placement

Imi Fellon 20 May 2022
Group of people working around a table

An internship can be an amazing opportunity to gain new skills and boost your career prospects.

Internships are a great way to gain work experience and make your CV stand out. Here are some tips on how to secure your dream placement.

Pre-application preparation

Do some volunteering

Volunteering is a great way to demonstrate your commitment and work ethic. Find somewhere to gain experience through your university careers service, your academic department, or through a local community group.

Places you could volunteer include Food-Cycle, local community farms, mentoring projects, and Student Action for Refugees. You can ask around to find volunteer work that interests you.

The application process

When deciding what internship to apply for, be sure to research the organisation and role advertised to make sure you know what you’re getting into.

At uni, you’ll get loads of opportunities to gain experience in areas that interest you. The best thing you can do for yourself is to pursue the opportunities that interest you. A potential employer is more likely to hire someone who’s passionate and enthusiastic.

Read the person specification

While this internship may be the perfect role for you, employers won’t know that unless you explain it in your application. Read the person specification carefully and make sure that your application outlines how you fit the criteria. If necessary, copy and paste the person specification into your draft cover letter and go through the points one by one.

Stand out

Employers often have loads of applications to look through. Make sure that yours stands out from the rest. What experience do you have which gives you a unique insight into the role? Try to connect this to a specific example experience of yours which demonstrates this skill.

Proofread 

You don’t want your application to stand out for the wrong reasons. Thoroughly proofread your cover letter and CV to avoid any grammatical errors. You could ask a friend or parent to proofread your application as well; a second opinion always helps and they might give you some useful pointers.

Interview process

Interviews can be nerve-wracking, so come prepared. Don’t be embarrassed to bring notes in with you, but make sure you can still maintain eye contact with the interviewer.

Look smart

Interviews will usually say if there is a required dress code. However, it’s a good idea to dress fairly smart. It will demonstrate professionalism and a willingness to take the role seriously.

Ask questions

Don’t be afraid to ask the interviewer about the role or the company. They will appreciate your curiosity and be more than happy to answer your questions. Remember that they don't want you to know everything already for an internship. 

Use examples 

While you might know that you have lots of relevant experience, you need to make sure your interviewer understands that too. Give examples of work you have done when answering questions from interviewers.

Follow all of these tips and you should have secured your dream internship in no time. Good luck!

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Imi Fellon 20 May 2022