About work placements/internships

  • These can be summer or year-long opportunities whilst you are studying.
  • Generally, the terms 'work placement' and 'internship' are interchangeable.
  • It is vital to get work experience during your degree course. Start searching for a work placement as soon as possible.
  • Increasingly, employers are offering work placements to students who have completed only one year of their degree course.
  • Be wary of companies offering unpaid work experience. (Employers on Gradcracker only offer paid opportunities.)
  • Try to find a work placement in a sector in which you would like to work when you leave university.
WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff see placements as mutually beneficial, providing valuable experience for students whilst giving the business an opportunity to spot future talent.
Melanie Clark,
Recruitment Specialist - Graduates & Apprentices,
WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff

About first year work placements/internships

  • More and more employers are offering placements to students who have completed only one year of their degree course.
  • Placements for students with only one year at university tend to be summer-long rather than year-long.
  • You can find summer placements for first-year students on gradcracker.com.
Start looking for your first-year placement as soon as you begin your degree. Start by following employers on Gradcracker and upload your CV for employers to read on our database. Make sure you keep your CV up-to-date by re-uploading it as you progress through university/gain work experience.

Making the most of a work placement/internship

Employers' top tips
We asked our employers how you can make a good impression during your placement. Here are their top tips:-

  • Try not to be nervous and try to enjoy the experience.
  • Be punctual and polite.
  • Dress appropriately. (If in doubt as to dress code, phone beforehand to check.)
  • Be enthusiastic, interested and willing to learn. You should be prepared to do (some) boring, mundane tasks.
  • Take notes when being briefed. Don't be afraid to ask for clarification if you need it.
  • Show initiative and try to exceed expectations.
  • Don't clock-watch. Starting early/ leaving late/working through lunch will only impress your employer.
  • Don't have your personal mobile switched on in working hours.
  • Ask before using a company phone to make a personal call.
  • Never use the internet or email for personal use in work time.
  • Seek feedback on your performance from colleagues.
  • Learn to accept critical feedback and act on it.
  • Keep alert to any opportunity for continual professional development and networking.
  • Spend time in as many different departments as you can and talk to colleagues about their roles, responsibilities, career paths to date and future aspirations.
  • Observe and learn from people who are competent in areas where you are not.
  • Don't be afraid to ask questions.
  • Keep a diary or log of your experiences.

Everything you experience during a work placement can translate into great examples for future application forms and job interviews.
Kelly Markwick,
UK Schools & Universities Attraction Manager,

After your work placement/internship

  • Consider what you have learnt. Have you gained experience in any of your key competences through doing your placement/internship?
  • What did you enjoy and what didn't you enjoy?
  • What did you do well, and what did you not do so well?
  • Do you still want to work in the industry you thought you did? (If you do, use the Gradcracker Company Hubs A-Z to find other companies in the sector and start to Follow them.)