The following personal tips to help you find a paid internship in the UK.
- Start your search NOW! – The most important one
This especially applies if you are not currently in the UK. In general we know that students may wait till the last minute to find a job. It pays off to start sooner than later!
- Apply for more than just 1 company
Don’t settle for the first best thing you find on the internet. I made that mistake and it costed me more than 500 GBP and 2 months of time wasted. Applying for more than 1 different company gives you choice and a better chance to find a good internship!
- Hunt the internet for paid internships only!
The section “Job sites” and “Job search engines” on “List of companies offering internships in the UK” should give you guidance on where to search. Don’t limit your search to these sites only. Some companies only advertise paid internship jobs on their own site. It pays off to search for company sites and their available vacancies. Search a few hours every day, for about a week till you have a decent list of paid internships, appr. 10.
- Contact all the companies who provides the internships.
Don’t just contact one, contact them all! There are several ways to contact them: email and phone. I advice to email your personalised cover letter and CV first. If you are in the UK, definitely ask for a face to face job interview. if you aren’t currently in the UK, then ask for a Skype video job interview. If you don’t hear from them within a week call them to follow up on your application.
- Apply for real jobs as an intern!
Don’t go for unpaid internships just yet! If you failed to find any then this would be a good option as well. You’ll see many job vacancies looking for entry level or junior positions within a company. They pay minimum wage up to around 25k GBP a year. Contact these companies and convince them to take you up as intern. If they offer more than minimum wage then you could negotiate on the salary to take you. They benefit from a lower pay and enthusiastic worker, and you get paid AND the experience in a professional environment.
- Write without errors
When emailing the companies, one of the things that will make you look bad: spelling and grammatical errors. Also no bad speak or l33t sp3@k please. Use proper English.
- Speak decent English
Obviously, when working in the UK you need to be reasonably fluent in English. If you think your English is not that good, this should not be a reason to stop you from finding a paid internship. When you are in an environment with British people, you’ll learn to pick up the language fast (if you are a fast learner).
- Improve your English (if it is less than reasonable)
It never hurts to improve your English. Try improving your English while you still haven’t found your internship.
- Ignore unpaid internships!
If in any case you can’t find a paid internship (which I don’t believe) then you can always fall back to them. So only use those as a backup if everything else fails. If you are ambitious and work (search) for it, you never have to look at your backup list ever!!
- Ignore having to pay money to secure your internship!
You are here to earn money, not to pay them money. If you got accepted for an internship but now have to pay money for whatever reason to really actually get it, my advice: avoid!
Did I miss something? Let me know if you have any more tips that I can add to the list.