Over the next few months, we are excited to shine the spotlight on the Employ.ed on Campus internship programme with contributions from recent student interns.
So… what is an Employ.ed on Campus internship?
These internships offer 2nd, 3rd, or penultimate undergraduates the chance to work in a university department, take part in a structured internship, and get paid! Over the summer of 2023, 66 Employ.ed on Campus interns completed their summer internships and opportunities for the 2024 Employ.ed on Campus programme, will be advertised in February 2024. You can find out more on our webpage.
Today, we are delighted to kick-off our Employ.ed on Campus spotlight with our first blog from Setsengerel, a final year Health in Social Science student.
Hi Setsengerel, as the Post-Pandemic Employer Engagement Research intern at the Careers Service, can you tell us what your project involved?
This project had two strands, firstly to reintroduce the Employer Survey which the Careers Service had not conducted since 2018 and secondly to gain insights into a deeper understanding of the post-pandemic working practices and how we can help advise and support students.
I was part of the Employer Team at the Careers Service, and my main duties were to develop the survey, interview employers and graduates, collate the data and help develop support for student resources – this blog included!
What were your findings?
1. Employers want us to be confident in ourselves!
Internship and work experience opportunities were limited during the pandemic and in the post-pandemic world, there are more opportunities but it can still be competitive when trying to secure an internship.
As a university student, the majority of us have a part-time job alongside our studies. Some of us might be thinking, “Oh, I have only worked in the hospitality sector during my university years, and I have never had internships nor work placements, maybe I should not apply for this job”. This is the exact opposite of what we should be thinking and is reinforced from the following quotes I gained from employers during interviews:
“…oh well I have worked at a supermarket, so there aren’t any skills I could take away from that. There are so many skills that are very valuable in the workplace – maybe its talking to customers, speaking to colleagues, teamwork, organisation etc.” Employer
“I think I’ve done a session last year with one of my colleagues and it was a great session. And so, it was all about connecting, extracting the kind of skills that they [students] have from hobbies or just the things they have done outside of the classroom.” Employer
It is very important for us to know how to use the skills we have gained outside of the classroom; hobbies, part-time jobs, sports, arts etc. No matter what we do, we always gain something new and strengthen our existing skills. For employers, it is okay if you haven’t had multiple internships or work placements. For them, it is important that you are confident about what you already know and how to make the best out of it and have the courage and mindset to step out of your comfort zone and learn new things.
2. Use your Careers Service regularly
“Because at the time, I was mostly doing hospitality jobs, so I didn’t really need to build a CV or cover letter, but now looking back, I wish I’d done more.” Recent Graduate Employee
For example, learning how to build a CV and cover letter is less intimidating if we do it step by step from the early days of our university years.
No matter what stage you are at, the Careers Service can support you shape your future. If you are in a hurry, check out these quick links to point you in the right direction.
3. Get involved in activities outside of the classroom
“…your degree isn’t everything, try and explore lots of different things; that’s actually just as important as your degree…” Recent Graduate Employee
From volunteering to joining a sports club, we should be trying out different things outside of the classroom. Even though your study and grades are important, it is also important to understand many other students are studying the same thing as you. Getting involved in those activities outside of the classroom is a great way to show employers who you are, what you value and what other things you are capable of doing. On top of that, it brings different “colour” to your CV and cover letter.
4. Put time and effort into your application
“I think dedicating even an hour a week or so to just do an application or to have some practice.” Recent Graduate Employee
Having a good application is not something you can prepare in a day by listing things you have done on a word document and BOOM you have it. It takes much more time and effort than we can ever imagine. From my personal experience, to apply for this summer internship, I had four to five CV and cover letter drafts. Because you just can’t send the same CV and cover letter for every application, the more practice you have, the more it will feel natural for you to apply for different roles.
It’s great to share that Setsengerel recently joined the Careers Service in September as part of our student team of Careers Service Assistants. Our Careers Service Assistants are on hand to point you to relevant services or sources of information, at our offices in the Main Library Building and at the Nucleus Building.
Setsengerel highlighted the importance of having a CV and cover letter targeted at a specific role. If you’ve never written a CV or cover letter before, or if you haven’t looked at yours for a long time, you may feel you don’t know where to start. Our advice answers a lot of the questions you might have:
We hope you enjoy reading our series of Employ.ed on Campus student guest blogs as much as we’ve enjoyed curating them. We’ll be publishing another blog from Setsengerel over the next few weeks which will focus on her internship findings relating to hybrid working practice.
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