Careers and Employability Service
Services for current students
   
   
  

Laboratory work

Female student in a labI

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. 

Jump to:

 

Finding work experience or an internship in a lab

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.

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.

Paid or unpaid

  • Inevitably some opportunities might involve volunteering and will not be paid. These positions tend to be located within the area of conservation and the environment. The value for you might be the experience rather than the money. 

  • Find out about the law and our policy on unpaid internships

Support through learned societies

  • Consider joining a learned society.

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 and a list of examples

 

List of organisations offering work experience or internships

 
 

 

Finding 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.
  • Use recruitment agencies (see below) as a gateway to employment.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • There are specialist job search websites too such as NHS Jobs and environment.job.co.uk.
  • Learned societies (see above) and science publications can also include job vacancies such as Nature.
  • LinkedIn is fast becoming a source of vacancies and is worth exploring. Use our advice on creating your profile and making contacts.

Recruitment agencies

Acknowledgement: The University of Kent Careers and Employability Service was the original source for the following list.

Agencies for biomedical scientists

 
 

 

Careers and Employability Service

The University of Nottingham
Portland Building, Level D
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 3680
fax: +44 (0) 115 951 3679
email: careers-team@nottingham.ac.uk