Graduate internships are a short-term period of work or work experience which usually leads to a permanent position, dependent on performance during this period.
The form of the internship will be dependent on the industry, but in most cases the internship will consist of supervised practical training.
Graduate internships: Fact file
What is a graduate internship?
- A graduate internship is work experience offered by an employer over a fixed period of time. This might be two weeks up to a year and it will give you an insight into working for the employer and the sector; they are an excellent option if you want to ‘try before you buy’
- Internships might be based in the UK or internationally. Some employers recruit from their internship pools, so not only are they are a valuable way to increase your experience, they may also lead to longer-term opportunities
Who offers them?
- Although any company or industry can offer a graduate internship, they tend to be found in city-based companies. Banking, investment and financial services, strategic and management consultancies, engineering and law firms are common employers
How can postgraduate students demonstrate their specialist skills?
- Convince the employer that you can ‘hit the ground running’ utilising the additional confidence, experience and independent research skills gained through postgraduate study
- Try to think about the skills that you’ve developed during your postgraduate course. How were these different to your undergraduate skills? You may be able to offer a deeper insight into the subject area that is relevant to the role or you may have had additional work experience to refer to
- Read the job description carefully, where can you evidence the skills required from your degree(s), work experience and extracurricular opportunities?
When and how can I apply?
- Apply after the spring vacation so you could start after your exams
- The recruitment process is likely to include a CV or application form and an interview
- Searching for an internship is similar to looking for a full-time graduate job. Look at job sites, employer pages and think about using LinkedIn or social media to do your research and contact employers directly
- Whilst some graduate internships might be advertised, it can also be worth contacting organisations that align with your career aspirations to find out if they could offer an internship. Utilising platforms such as LinkedIn can be a good way to get in contact with employers.
For help and advice when applying for direct entry roles head to our Making applications pages where you can find information on CVs, covering letters, application forms and more.
Our internship pages list some opportunities as some internships are open to both graduates and undergraduates.
What sort of thing will I be doing?
- The length of internship will probably determine the depth of experience gained. Within a two-week internship you may be given a small project to look over. If you find a year-long internship, the experience could be in-depth spanning a few different departments and projects
- There will probably be some basic tasks, if you perform these tasks well, the likelihood is that you’ll be given something more challenging to handle
- Use the opportunity to speak to other employees, learn about the industry and build your network. This may be vital in hearing about unadvertised job openings you could apply for
Where can I find vacancies?
How much could I earn?
The Pay Index has developed a completely new tool to answer the pressing questions about salaries on most students’ minds:
- What salary could I earn with my degree?
- What will be my actual pay after deductions?
- How will my salary vary across different roles and industries?
- How much could I earn with a masters or PhD?
Learn more about your options with our online course
Making sense of your graduate employment options
We've created an online course designed to help you explore and understand your graduate career options.
Go to our online course