Gain experience by completing a number of internships
Why do an internship?
We recommend that all undergraduates complete at least two internships during their studies (these could be internships over the summer or credit-bearing placements during term time). We would recommend that one of these two is a full summer-long internship lasting 6-12 weeks. Internships do not necessarily need to be related to your core discipline – what matters however is that you use internships to explore sectors and organisations that might be of interest to you in the future.
Use MyJobsOnline and sort opportunities by ‘Opportunity Type – Vacation Schemes/Internships‘
- Sign in to your MJO account
Key resources for finding internships…
- Target Jobs
- Rate My Placement
- All About Careers
- Gradcracker for STEM students
Careers have two paid internship schemes for University of Reading students…
Are you a recent graduate looking for an internship?
Students with a disability will find the following websites useful for vacancies and advice:
Thinking about working abroad?
- Goinglobal the International careers resource
Looking for more specific opportunities?
- Discover Your Career Options
The benefits of undertaking an internship
Experience: An internship will give you a taste of what graduate work is like. This relevant experience and industry knowledge will be valuable on your CV and when applying to roles in the future.
Future work: This is your chance to determine whether a certain job or career path is for you. An opportunity such as an internship can also give you a chance of getting your foot in the door.
Skills Development: Develop your skills in a particular field or industry. An internship will also provide you with a chance to increase your confidence and discover how to showcase professional values.
Networking: Grow your professional network and create your own contacts in this sector.
Making a good application
For a typical internship application, it is likely that you will need both a CV and a cover letter that detail the experience and skills you have gained so far.
A cover letter is a formal letter that is sent to an employer with a CV. This should detail why you are interested in the role with the aim of introducing yourself and inviting the employer to read your CV.
You can read our advice about making successful CVs and applications here and, once you have put your application together, make sure to get your application checked by one of our Careers Consultants in a 1:1 appointment – book via MyJobsOnline.
Securing your own internship
If you’ve looked through advertised opportunities online and can’t find what you are looking for, why not try finding or creating your own internship?
Whilst the employer may not have a formal scheme or programme, if you are resourceful they may be able to offer you some form of experience (ranging from work shadowing to paid work – just remember to be flexible!). This kind of approach is called making a speculative application – you can read our advice about doing this here.
What funding is available?
It may be worth noting that if you do manage to source your own internship, and the organisation meets the following criteria, then you could be eligible to apply to the Reading Internship Scheme for funding. For further information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Be a an SME with 1-250 employees
- Be able to pay an intern through the organisation’s pay roll
- Offer a full time project based internship of 6 weeks or more during the summer period.
- Accept the associated on-costs (employers NI etc.), and pay the employer’s contribution towards salary as detailed above
- Have premises in which an intern can be based (we are not able to support internships which are predominantly remote working… although some working from home on occasion is acceptable)
- Have a project-based job description that an intern can work on for the majority of their time. This helps to ensure that interns have a meaningful role in the organisation and helps both interns and employers to benefit from the experience.
- Accept the University’s placement agreement
- Have a health and safety policy and suitable employer liability insurance
Paid and Unpaid
If you are classed as a 'worker' whilst undertaking an internship, you should be paid at least the National Minimum Wage (NMW). You can find all the details about this here. Please do remember to speak to Careers if you need any advice.
In some sectors, it is more commonplace to find organisations offering unpaid internships. If you’d like any more guidance, or want to find out more, have a look here.
Where Can I Stay?
If you are thinking about accommodation whilst completing an internship, you could consider the STAY@Reading initiative. You could also check out the Rate My Placement blog about how to find accommodation when you move to London for an internship. We also recommend you take a look at Presspad and Room for tea.