Feefo logo
0333 234 1447
Mon-Fri: 9am to 5pm | Sat-Sun: Closed

Student life

Internships for students: A complete guide

First uploaded: 08/09/22

Are you a student looking to find an internship, gain experience in the field of your choice and boost your CV? If so, you’re in the right place! When it comes to being a student, we know that taking the leap to apply for an internship can be daunting. We’re going to let you in on some tips and tricks to help you land your dream internship with our guide for students!


What is an internship?

An internship is a period of work, typically for students or graduates looking to gain new experience and skills in a specific field.

Are internships worth it?

Have you ever wondered, ‘what is the point of an internship’? Well you’re not alone. Here we’re going to talk about why internships could be beneficial for you.

What are the advantages of an internship?

As a student or graduate there are lots of reasons why you may be looking for an internship. Such as...

• You can gain hands-on industry experience
• You can improve your skills and knowledge of a particular industry
• You get the chance to explore your career options and evaluate where you’d like to progress
• You can gain networking opportunities and useful industry contacts
• You can increase experience the on your CV for future jobs

Whether an internship will be beneficial for you will completely depend on your chosen career and your learning style. If you’re a hands-on, practical worker looking to learn as much as you can in a fast-paced environment - let’s say digital marketing – a relevant internship might be the perfect opportunity to get your foot on the career ladder.

But if your chosen career path is a little more complex – let’s say you want to become a doctor or nurse – finding a specific internship may be a bit more difficult.


How to get an internship

With so many students looking to get on the career ladder, finding and getting accepted onto an internship might be a bit more difficult than you think. Here we’re going to run you through some tips that may help you land your dream internship and gain relevant experience in your industry of choice.

Creating a CV

Creating an attractive CV for your internship application is essential to ensure you stand out to potential employers.

Here are some tips on creating a quality CV

Things to include:

• Some personal information (such as name, telephone number, email address – check out what not to include in this article from CV library
• Personal statement
• Work experience
• Employment
• Qualifications
• Education
• Skills
• Achievements
• Hobbies and interests

Extras to help you stand out:

• Tailor your CV to the company that you’re applying for – e.g. match the company’s colour scheme in your design
• Explain who you are and why you’re right for the internship
• Highlight relevant skills obtained in recent work experience/studies
• Ensure your CV is clear, concise and presented in a logical, easy-to-read layout
• Cross-reference skills mentioned in the job description with your own skills
• Make sure your CV isn’t too long, Indeed suggest that the average CV should be two to three pages.

If you're struggling where to start, try and find an online CV builder like this one from Reed.

Creating a cover letter

Creating a quality cover letter will compliment your internship application. It will allow you to sell yourself even further by adding and expanding on information you didn’t have space for in your CV. You can also tailor your cover letter to the role you are applying for and show how your experience and skills match – this can usually be greatly appreciated by some employers.

How to write a cover letter for an internship

Writing your cover letter can seem like a daunting task, but you can use these tips to make the process easier:

Address your letter to a specific person where possible – research online for the appropriate name/title .
Highlight why you’re interested in the organisation and internship.
Introduce yourself and your relevant education/work experience.
Match your skills to the internship's requirements. Also consider doing the same with the organisation’s culture, values and mission.
Use keywords from the job description when identifying your skills and abilities to show you’re a good match with strong attention to detail.
Talk about what you wish to gain from the internship.
Thank the person for taking the time to read your cover letter. Then reinforce your desire to work for the organisation and summarise how you’re a good fit for the role.
End with a formal closing (e.g., Yours faithfully, Sincerely, Regards, or Best regards)


Creating an online portfolio

Creating an online portfolio can be helpful if you’re applying for a creative internship(e.g., graphic design, web development, fashion, marketing, copywriting). A portfolio will allow you to show off your work and stand out from the crowd.

Here are some tips on creating a quality portfolio:

• Prioritise quality over quantity.
• Gather your best work that you would like to show and highlight the projects that most closely relate to the internship you’re applying for.
• Ensure the layout of your portfolio further demonstrates your creative skills with design and colour, but keep your work presented clearly so it’s easy to view and read.
• Have an online portfolio and a physical copy. Take the physical copy with you to your interview.
• Update your portfolio regularly with your latest work.

Utilising LinkedIn to find and secure student internships

LinkedIn can help you land an internship and progress your career. Your profile is your personal branding tool where you can build your professional reputation.

You can showcase your experience, your achievements and yourself as a person, as well as building your network and searching for jobs.

Here are some LinkedIn tips:

• Have a strong ‘headline’ to stand out
• Add your relevant experience to your profile
• Upload a professional profile picture – no party selfies or group pictures!
• Write a strong LinkedIn summary that emphasises your skills and showcases your personality
Build your network – start by connecting with your friends, then people within the industry you’re trying to enter
• Search the Student Jobs Portal for entry-level jobs and internships
• Look up companies that you’re applying for – their LinkedIn should help you get a feel for its culture. Then you can make sure it's right for you before jumping into the interview process or accepting a job
• After you’ve applied, don’t be afraid to reach out directly to recruiters to express your interest further and stand out in the application process.


How to find internships

Are you stuck on where to look for internships? Not to worry, we’ve got you covered. Here are three ways that can help you find an internship that is a good match for you.

1.Visit job sites

Here are some job site examples:

• Indeed
• Glassdoor
• LinkedIn
• Rate My Placement
• Internship Finder

2.Utilise your school, college or university’s career resources

Your school, college or uni may post internship opportunities on their website’s job board. Or they may even help you with the process of landing an internship – supporting you with their designated resources to help you find professional jobs and work experiences.

3.Contact companies directly

If you have a company in mind that you’d like to work for - even if they don’t have an internship job listing - you can try contacting the company directly, asking if they offer internships and explaining why you’d love to work for them. This approach may show the recruiter that you can show initiative (even if they’re not actually recruiting!).

How to ace your interview

Here are a few key tips for acing your interview.

Preparation is key

Research the company. Show the interviewer that you’ve done your homework by being able to confidently talk about their overall values and culture. Also, you should be able to show how you align with the job spec by referencing the skill requirements and how your experience matches.
Know what you want out of the internship and be prepared to tell the interviewer.
Know your selling points – Why should they hire you?
Know why you want the job and why you are suitable for the role.
Prepare for common interview questions specific to the role.
Practice the interview by yourself or with a friend.
Prepare questions for the interviewer to show how committed you are.
• Don’t be afraid to tell them if you’re nervous. Being open and honest about nerves can help give you some extra time to catch your breath.
• Don’t be afraid to ask the interviewer to repeat or reword the question if you don’t understand it.
• Don’t be afraid to accept the offer of a drink. You may be thankful to have a glass of water nearby if you’re nervous!

Don’t forget to follow up

• Following up with the interviewer after the interview is a nice touch to reiterate your interest in the position.
• It can be done a number of ways (e.g., Email, LinkedIn), just keep it professional.
Thank the interviewer for their time.
Re-establish your interest in the role
• End by inviting the interviewer to reach out to you for anything they may need.


Overall advice for your internship

Here are some internship tips for students to help you make the most out of your experience:

• Don't be afraid to ask questions and seek feedback. No question is a silly one, especially when you’re new. Plus, feedback helps you improve.
• Be open-minded and ready to learn.
• Be proactive in your approach.
• Gain knowledge of the field and develop your skills.
• Keep daily notes of what you‘ve been working on.
• Grow your network and meet as many people as possible.
• Have a positive attitude.
• Take your role seriously.
• Don’t worry if you don’t pick things up right away. Some businesses are very complex, and it takes a while to understand the organisation as a whole, and how your role fits into it.
• Be yourself.

Good luck and don’t give up!

Keen to find out more about your university? What about finding out how to make the most of out of your time while you’re there? Well look no further!

My Endsleigh is the essential app for students where you can do all of the above, PLUS manage super important things like your insurance cover provided through your accommodation and any extras you choose to add on.

Register for My Endsleigh today

Find out more about insurance for university students.

Read our content disclaimer