As a first year student, a career might seem a long way off, but it’s important to start thinking about gaining work experience in your first year. This will improve your chances of gaining further work experience or internships in the future, and give you a taste of what it’s like working in a particular company or sector.
At last week’s ‘What Employers Want’ event, led by Accenture, we heard that demonstrating work experience on your CV can make the difference when it comes to shortlisting candidates. This is the case with most employers – they want to see that you’ve taken the initiative to get involved and demonstrate your interest in their sector.
The majority of internships are for students in their 2nd year (or 3rd year if it is a 4 year course), but there are a growing number of opportunities available specifically for first year students. These are called insight weeks, which can last anything from 3 days to 2 weeks. Some organisations also offer insight days, where students have the opportunity to spend a day finding out about the company and sector. It is worth noting that not all internships will specify which year of study you must belong to. Some placements with charities and media companies are open to all – for example, Cancer Research, Oxfam and the BBC.
Before you spend a lot of time on an application, make sure you check to see whether you are eligible to apply. See our list of first year opportunities below, but remember that this is not a full list of every single opportunity available. If there is a particular employer you are interested to find out more about, visit their website and see what opportunities are available.
Many work experience positions (especially in smaller companies) are never advertised, so you could contact them with a speculative application to see what work experience is available.
Find out more:
- List of internships and insight days open to first year students
- Opportunities for first year Law students
- Getting started: Student and graduate types of work
- Visit the Careers & Enterprise Centre for industry-specific resources from Target Jobs and more
Employers value work experience highly, whether or not this is linked to your degree subject. See our blog How and why to get work experience to find out where to look for part time work, temporary roles and volunteering opportunities.