As a student it can be daunting considering your future career path.

The media is telling you that it is increasingly difficult to get a graduate job, your student loan is steadily increasing, your family are pressuring you to work out what you want to do with your life and all of your friends seem to have a plan…where do you start?

Getting started

A good start is not to believe the press about there being no roles out there. The market has moved the goalposts a little, however, if you can get focused and a foot in the door early, you are giving yourself the best opportunity.

Work experience, ideally in a field you are going to enjoy, that will develop your skills and potentially will lead to a graduate path, is a perfect start. The first step is to research roles and firms and get clued up before applying for internships.

Along the way you may find out what you do and don’t like – internships build your understanding, knowledge, skills and confidence in making that decision of where and how you want to start your career.

Think about what kind of work experience you want, your skills, how it will be valuable and whether you will enjoy it. Employers want you to be keen, enthusiastic and genuinely passionate (or at least excited). So choose a role that is personally of interest to you, not your friend or your mum and dad, as you could be doing this for a long time.

Work experience comes in many forms. Summer internships are usually between 4-9 weeks, but any length of scheme is good experience.

Internships usually incorporate a number of aspects – training, networking and if you perform well can lead on to a graduate role secured before you return to your final year at university.

Finding the right experience

Research is the key before applying. Your careers service has a substantial library of information and is in contact with the most active recruiters.

Additionally you can search the web for ‘insider views’ of different internships or company websites often have case studies of people who have done their placement schemes.

You can also find internship roles on this website. Recommendations can also add weight to your choice of work experience, but be careful not to be swayed by your best friend because they may enjoy something completely different from you.

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