Now that Winter is nearly over (ok, it’s still cold – but we’re getting there!), we’re starting to think about our summer plans and, with three months off from uni, there is plenty of time to squeeze in work experience amongst the holidays!
What is meaningful work experience?
Although “internships” is a bit of a buzzword that seems synonymous with work experience, meaningful work experience captures so much more than that! It includes short-term work experience, longer-term placements, work shadowing, part-time work, volunteering, insight weeks or vacation schemes (for Law), and many more!
In short, meaningful work experience will develop your career thinking, industry knowledge, and experience.
Reasons for working over the Summer can vary:
- To build a professional network (yes, we keep shouting about it, but networking accounts for 60-70% of job hires, so it’s a necessary evil. If you want to learn how to network, check out our previous blog post)
- Develop experience for your CV and prove your skills
- Work in an exciting team
- Gain global awareness
- Push your boundaries and yourself.
Aside from all these tangible points to highlight on your CV and your LinkedIn, you’ll discover so much about yourself – you might find that you don’t love the culture of the company you aspired to, or that data analysis is your true passion. This will stand you in good stead for making future career decisions and setting yourself up for a graduate job that suits you! Remember, we’re all continually in a cycle of Discover, Focus, and Action, and your plans can (and should!) be flexible as your needs and priorities change.
What can you do?
Anything! Whether you want to work for a local business, or a multinational company, you can find work experience everywhere. Remember to be open to all sorts of work experience opportunities, including work shadowing and volunteering.
Check out the following job boards for opportunities:
- Target Jobs (all job sectors)
- Prospects (all job sectors)
- e4s (all job sectors)
- Rate My Placement (mostly about STEM, IT, and data)
- Creative Access (opportunities in the creative economy for BAME students and those of a lower socioeconomic background)
- All About Careers (lots of opportunities in law and the financial services)
- Milkround (all job sectors)
- Gradcracker for STEM students (STEM jobs)
You can also make speculative applications to companies you want to work for – remember to tailor your applications and read our advice.
If you don’t get an internship, don’t despair; they’re not the one and only route to graduate work and work experience is as much about discovering yourself as getting experience for your applications. You might gain the same skills and industry knowledge from part-time work, volunteering, or being in a student society. Check out what employability is made up of on our KEATS course.
Celebrating internship success
If you need inspiration in these dreary January months, or want to see what King’s interns have achieved, then check out the winners of the annual internships competition.
Winner – Mariam undertook a summer internship at the King’s Entrepreneurship Institute, helping two start-up companies to develop new software. Her video gives us a great insight into what it is like working with a company at the very beginning of its journey.
Runner-up – Yihan interned at the King’s Widening Participation Department creating video content that was published on the King’s website. He also contributed to the King’s 2029 Strategy, helping to build King’s reputation as a civic university in the heart of London
Winner – Patricia’s photo stood out to us. She spent her summer in India working at the Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham University.
10-second video submission:
10 seconds isn’t very long to tell us what you gained from your internship, but we had some great submissions!
Winner – Maurane (view her video here) worked at an e-commence start-up aimed at making menstruation more sustainable and breaking taboos surrounding the subject.