Where to look for internships
Find out where to look for internships, and what they are.
What is an internship?
An internship is a period of structured work experience. It will let you develop knowledge and skills which will play a part in the decisions you go on to make about career choice.
Typically you will:
be offered training and may be assigned a mentor or buddy
work on a specific area of work, or assigned to a project
work for between 6-12 weeks
be encouraged to reflect and record your experience
Most large graduate employers have an internship programme aimed at 2nd, 3rd and penultimate year students. This forms part of their graduate recruitment strategy – impressing on an internship can lead to the offer of a job after graduation. But it’s not the only thing that counts – most employers will welcome applicants with a wide range of experience.
Deadlines for internship applications with some of the major graduate employers can be as early as November, for internships taking place the following summer. If you miss these deadlines there will be other internship and work experience opportunities advertised throughout the year.
Recently many internships have taken place remotely, as people were working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. We don’t yet know whether they will be offered remotely during summer 2021.
Where should I look for an internship?
The first place to look is MyCareerHub.
The Careers Service, with partners, offers structured internship programmes exclusively for University of Edinburgh students. Find out more here:
Besides MyCareerHub, use the following websites to find internships. Some advertise opportunities across all sectors, and others are sector-specific.
Businesses in certain sectors rarely advertise internships and if you’re keen to get experience in these sectors your best approach is to reach out to them yourself. Here’s our advice on how to do that:
Virtual internships and work experience programmes
Some leading companies have created programmes of hands-on tasks and modules similar to those you’d undertake during an internship with them. These aren’t paid, but they are a way to gain real understanding of different roles and sectors, and insight into specific companies. Programmes typically take between 6-8 hours to complete. The Forage platform hosts a wide selection of these programmes.
When you're looking at opportunities of this sort, keep this advice in mind:
Some students find internships in other countries. Use our advice on finding jobs outside the UK to help with this.
Some companies facilitate overseas internships, finding relevant experience for you in specific locations, and charging for this service. You’ll find many of these advertising on MyCareerHub.
If you do an internship overseas, you may be asked to complete an internship agreement before you can start. Information on these can be found on our Internships Agreement page.