Finding work experience at university can be difficult when you are not too sure where to look. But it is beneficial to try and get some work experience so you get more of a taste of working life after education. Work experience and placements within STEM can be competitive, however, there are a lot of different opportunities such as: Insight weeks, society events, and external careers events that students can benefit from during their time at university. If work experience in STEM is not possible, then having a part-time job or volunteering is another great way to show employers your values, interests, and skills.
In this article, we've put together a few examples of where to find work experience whilst you are at university.
University careers services
University careers services often advertise placements and work experience roles. There will also likely be services that can help you with your applications and preparing for any interviews. Careers teams often have their own job boards offering work experience to students or may advertise these to relevant students via email. You can also try reaching out to your careers service if you are struggling to find work experience, they will likely be able to point you in the right direction on your search!
Attend Society and External events to Network
Academic related societies often hold events related to careers surrounding the relevant subject. Attending these events will allow you to network with other students in your field, they may have previously taken part in work experience or be looking to. During these events, you can also network and connect with employers who will be able to give you insight into their company and any work experience/placement schemes that they offer. There are also similar, larger-scale events held by external companies that give students opportunities to hear from employers and what they offer current university students in terms of placements, work experience, and graduate roles.
Voluntary and Part-Time Work
Work experience does not always have to be within your field of study, part-time jobs and volunteer work also provide you with invaluable skills that employers will be looking for. Part-time jobs and volunteer roles show employers what your hobbies and interests may be outside of work and allow them to learn more about you! Not only this but these roles would also help you gain many transferable soft skills such as communication, time management, emotional intelligence, and creative thinking. Volunteering can take any form, reaching out to companies and asking to shadow people is another way of gaining insight into your field and what roles are available to you.
Talk to your Lecturers
Lecturers are often looking for extra help in their labs and often allow students to sit-in on any research they are carrying out. Although these may be short term and are not hands-on work experience, they do give insight into how research works and can be used in your CV and applications to show that you are enthusiastic about your field and the role that you are aiming to enter.
Look into roles that you are thinking about after university and see what type of experience they are asking for, with this in mind you will be able to search for more specific work experience roles. Find people who work in roles that you are interested in and look into what experience they have and what they did whilst at university, people are often happy to connect and chat to students using platforms such as LinkedIn to give advice.
Look for Summer Internships and Insight Weeks
Many STEM employers offer summer internship and insight weeks, these are often anywhere from 2-10 weeks long and can sometimes be vacation placements too! These kinds of events give a deeper insight and depth into how a company works and can even be offered graduate roles. These events will boost your understanding of the possible roles after graduating and will show employers h Applications for summer internships and insight weeks are likely to be taking place around September/October.
To search for your graduate role, you can find our job board at https://www.stemgraduates.co.uk/jobs/. You can also find us on Twitter and Instagram @STEMgraduates, and on Facebook @STEMgraduatesUK to keep up to date with new job roles and top tips on developing your skills whilst at university!