How To Score A Summer Internship As A First Year Student

Almost finished with your first-year undergraduate study? It’s not too late to score an internship, here you can find out all the tips and tricks! There are plenty of opportunities to get involved with from internships to Insight days, we will be discussing how to get work experience opportunities for first years this summer. 

Many people believe that it’s impossible to find skills-enhancing short-term opportunities, but it’s not! There are tons of internships available for first year students contrary to popular belief. If you’re looking for hands on experience early on in your university career, then an internship during your break after first year, is a great way to go. 


What actually is an internship? 

You’ve heard the term over and over, but you’re not actually sure what it involves. Is it paid or unpaid work?! How do I apply for an internship?! Not to worry, here at USL we will put all your worries at ease. We’re internship wizzes! 

An internship is a period of work experience, offered by a company which lasts for a fixed period anywhere between a week and 12 months. People often confuse internships and work placements; however, they are two different things. A work placement which is also known as a year-in-industry or placement year, are taken as part of your degree.  

In this case, you’re only going to be completing an internship for the summer months whilst you’re on break from university typically for about two to three months. So, it’s the perfect time scale to get a taste of your dream job and gain valuable skills before carrying on with your studies.  

There is a mixture of different internships from virtual work experience you can do from the comfort of your own home to working abroad for the summer as an intern. You can even do part time internships if you still want to enjoy your summer but stay proactive. The possibilities are endless!  

Internships in the UK must be paid as you are still a ‘worker’ however there are some different scenarios such as if you’re undertaking volunteer work, so it’s important to think about whether you can commit to a work experience opportunity that is unpaid. Although, internships that are unpaid tend to offer some compensation such as covering your travel or lunch costs.  

Paid internships are competitive, although they typically pay the national minimum wage. You may find some pay well though, it all depends on the business, location and the company. Despite the money side of things not being the greatest, it’s worth it for the experience and the insight into the working world. It will benefit you later down the line! 

Work experience

Why should you do an internship? 

Internships can help you decide what career sector or job style you want to pursue and if its right for you, as well as helping to develop the necessary skills and experience that employers want. Employers in a variety of industries look for work experience as a selling point, so it can prove difficult to get a job as a university graduate if you are lacking this.

Completing an internship will boost your career prospects and get your foot in the door. Future you will be grateful you completed your internship, and so will your CV! 

You may be thinking, it’s a bit early?! Well, there’s no harm in taking the pressure off yourself in second and third year and getting a head of the game. Chances are, if you impress at an internship, the company may offer you a graduate position or other exciting opportunities. Don’t wait until it’s too late to get work experience, you’ll better your chances if you get the ball rolling early on. 

You will gain valuable experience and meet individuals you otherwise may not have met. Completing a work placement helps you form relationships with people that could impact your career path further down the line – it‘s good to have establish a network! 

Not only will completing an internship help with your professional growth but your personal growth too! It will prepares you for what to expect in the real world and increases confidence in yourself. 


How can I get an internship? 

The most important part… how do you score yourself an internship. “OMG its June already and I haven’t got any work experience for the summer” – don’t stress, we know exactly how to help you get that all important feel for an industry. 

Whilst some opportunities may already have reached their closing dates, other internships are not advertised until later in the year and deadlines vary.  

You can use your university’s website to source out internships for this summer. They should have a dedicated section for you to find a variety of work experience and sometimes you can apply directly through them. You can even go to a career’s advisor at university, and they can help you explore various work experience options.  

If you haven’t already found an internship which you want to apply to through your university, there will companies that will be keen for students to work for them over the summer. You can source out an internship yourself through research and reaching out directly to companies or connections, using LinkedIn is a great way to do this.  

Even if they are only able to offer you an internship lasting a few days or a week, take every opportunity you can! It’s still experience at the end of the day, and it will add to your resume. 

You can secure an internship by applying to smaller companies and e-mailing them directly rather than waiting for specific internship vacancies to be advertised. It’s better to ask and be told no than to not ask at all, so research some companies you’d be interested in gaining experience with and send them an email asking! 

Further ways to apply for an internship include using job sites such as Indeed or Totaljobs, however, these will often be with larger companies. It can be as simple as typing in “summer internships” for students in a specific field or location and just looking through and hitting the apply button! 

Chances are, if you want to do a summer internship the ship may have sailed for this year, as it does require some extra planning and organising with visas, flights and all that jazz. However, you can get yourself all sorted for second year by applying as soon as applications open if you want to get some work experience whilst abroad! 


We hope you’re feeling super quizzed up on internships and are feeling ready to further your experience this summer! We wish you the best of luck in your work search. 

If you enjoyed reading this blog, then why not head over and explore our top picks for self-help books for 2022!