Gaining Work Experience
It can be quite hard to find internships and software-focused employment in your first two years. However, there are many different types of employment you can get involved in and the University Careers Service has many useful resources on their website. Read ahead for more information on the Careers Service and Donald’s advice.
The Careers Support at the University is fantastic from my experience. I would highly recommend using their services starting Year 1.
Why in Year 1?
You might be thinking: Why is this relevant in the beginning of a degree?
Because the Careers service provides much more support than just for professional jobs. Any experience you have – be it in a student union, volunteering, active sport participation, performing in a choir or anything else – can be relevant and important for your CV. So it’s good idea to look out for those things!
Tips for Gaining Work Experience
Explore Different Fields
It is very normal to be unsure about what field you would like to go into for a career. That is why I would recommend spending your time in 1st and 2nd year exploring different fields and finding something you are passionate about. It is perfectly normal for your interests and goal to change.
I came into university with the ambition of being a Software Engineer. This is quite a broad job, and I was not sure what type of software engineer I would like to be. After exploring the different fields of software engineering, I was able to eliminate some of them that I wasn’t as interested in.
Exploring different fields and industries is a normal process, and I am still not entirely sure where I want to go after university – whether to continue with a PhD or go into employment.
Grow Your Network
Something that I have done over the past 2 years to help me find and gain opportunities is by growing my network of connections. To do this, I primarily use LinkedIn and try and connect with everyone I meet in a professional context.
Networking is all about showing an interest in what people do. It’s getting to know the people around you and building a support ‘network’. This is really useful as you may hear about job openings at companies and get referred to the job by a current employee!
If you want to learn more about networking. I would recommend paying a visit to the University Career Service.
Do not be discouraged at rejection from an opportunity. Rejections are very common, sadly, as the job market is very competitive. If you really want to gain experience in the field, it is very important that you actively seek the opportunities. Do not just sit and wait for the opportunities to come to you – try and create opportunities for yourself. While looking for work, take some time to reflect on your strengths and weaknesses. Maybe develop a portfolio of projects? The University career service provides great tools for understanding yourself.
The application you submit to a position is what the recruiting managers will be reviewing. Be sure to put your best self forward by putting the best application forward.
Writing good applications is a skill and can be developed. Generally, an application will consist of a submission of your CV and Cover letter – some people may choose to include their GitHub with projects!
For guidance on how to write a CV and submit a good application. Visit:
Blog post originally written by Donald Jennings, Informatics Communications Intern 2022.
Edited by Dimona Videnlieva, Informatics Communications Intern 2023.