Internships are a fantastic way to experiment with your career ideas, gain experience, and get paid. A huge range of diverse opportunities are available in the UK, and abroad, for you to choose from.  On this page, you'll learn more about what an internship is, and how to get one.

What is an internship?

An internship gives you the opportunity to find out more about a role or company that interests you. It can be for a few weeks or a longer period. It gives you a real insight into the business and the chance to meet people who might be able to help you with your future career.  

Doing an internship enables you to apply and demonstrate the transferable skills you've gained - in most cases by working on a specific project. But because it doesn't have to be in an area related to your course, it's also a great opportunity to try something new. 

What’s the difference between a placement and an internship?

Sometimes people use the words “placement” and “internship” interchangeably, but that’s not quite accurate:

  • Placements are generally an integrated, and related part of your studies, sometimes assessed.  Keep in mind – they don’t necessarily have to be subject-specific – you may want to explore and try something out. See our placements page for more information.
  • Internships can last from four weeks to a year and may be unrelated to your studies.  Summer internships enable you to explore what working for the company would be like as a graduate, as well as contributing to your professional development.

How do I find an internship?

  • Every year we advertise thousands of internship opportunities on Handshake. Employers advertising on Handshake are specifically targeting Hallam students, so that’s an excellent place to start.
  • Websites such as Milkround, Prospects, and TargetJobs are aimed at university students, meaning you don’t have to wade through irrelevant job adverts.
  • Equality and Diversity Internships - There are a range of internships, events and programmes, which are designed to encourage greater diversity within many organisations and sectors.
  • Try sector-specific sites, (e.g, Gradcracker for STEM)
  • You can work for yourself and get support from the Enterprise Team
  • Find your own (aka “self-sourcing”) internship

What about applying 'speculatively'?

A speculative application is when you 'apply' for a position that hasn't been advertised, but you are being proactive in trying to create an opportunity for yourself where none currently exists. This can be useful if:

  • You have a particular role in mind
  • You have a specific organisation in mind
  • You want or need a placement in a specific location

This approach requires you to be proactive, do your research, to persevere, and plan. However, the result could be your ideal internship.

Shall I just send the company an email?

Not yet! Research each company first, using their website and following them on LinkedIn and other social media they use. Find out about their business, what they do, what projects are they involved in, who are their competitors?  

Read our advice on How to Make a Speculative Application.

Find out more about using Linkedin to find opportunities and connect with people.