Many students express the desire to work in a laboratory. Finding vacancies can be a challenge as there is no single source for you to consult.
There are also a diverse range of job titles which do not necessarily convey what you will be doing. Only on further investigation will you see if the vacancy is right for you.
How do I find work experience or internships?
When to start looking for vacancies?
Start at the end of your first year and throughout the autumn term of your second year.
Many opportunities are advertised from the late summer onwards and depending on the organisation may close their offer at any time.
Cogent - vacancies across all disciplines
How to apply
When applying a good application, CV and covering letter will be vital.
Don't be frightened to contact organisations speculatively, as internships are not always advertised.
Do think carefully what to include in your letter. It's important to include: why you are contacting them, what you can offer and what you can bring to the organisation.
Advice on CVs, covering letters and application forms
Paid or unpaid
Support through learned societies
Learned societies are academic ‘clubs’ which specialise in a particular discipline, with a membership made up of people who share an interest in that subject. Members can include academics, university researchers, people working in industry, postgraduate and undergraduate students, teachers and even school students and members of the public.
- Learned societies offer internships or grants for academics to apply for projects. They also offer opportunities to attend conferences and network with like-minded individuals.
Learned societies - find out more about them and a list of examples
List of companies for speculative applications
List of organisations offering work experience or internships
How do I find a graduate job in a lab
There is no central listing of job vacancies so you will have to use a variety of resources to find vacancies.
Jobs will be advertised at the point of recruitment. Your job application period will commence in the latter stages of your studies and may continue once you have graduated.
- If you use generic terms such as ‘graduate laboratory scientist jobs in UK’ or 'medical laboratory technician', this will generate a large number of results. To narrow down your search, replace UK with your preferred location and type of work, for example, 'environmental laboratory analysis jobs Nottingham'.
- Job titles are very diverse (a recent search resulted in junior ecotoxicologist, R&D laboratory graduate, laboratory technician, assistant scientist) if you see a vacancy online always open the vacancy and see what the job involves.
Sources of vacancies
- Cogent Skills advertises graduate internships with life science and pharmaceutical firms as well as smaller biotech and related companies. Vacancies are not always laboratory based.
- Eurofins is a worldwide lab testing group with 33 sites in the UK
- There are specialist job search websites too such as NHS Jobs and environment.job.co.uk.
- The NHS Scientist Training Programme (STP) is a potential route to lab-based work
- Learned societies (see above) and science publications can also include job vacancies such as Nature.
- Science parks can often be a good source of lab-based roles with smaller scientific companies. A list of all UK science parks is available on the UK Science Park Association website
- LinkedIn is fast becoming a source of vacancies and is worth exploring. Use our advice on creating your profile and making contacts.
- Explore our jobs portal MyCareer for vacancies from employers looking to recruit Nottingham students