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Careers and Global Opportunities

Placements and Internships Q&A

Are you interested in doing an internship or going on placement but you've a few questions? Rosa's here to answer your questions!

3 people and a laptop
Gain valuable experience on a work placement

Why are students encouraged to pursue an internship as part of their studies?

Internships are a fantastic way to gain experience in the field you are studying. Essentially, they are a more advanced level of work experience, which many people would have completed in school. It ultimately means you are hired within an organisation to learn on the job. Whether it’s self-sourced or sourced through the university, the knowledge you will gain is second to none. And the good thing is- if you end up working in the field or not, you’ve still had the experience, which you won’t regret. 

However, when deciding to do an internship, students often have many questions, some of which never get answered. It’s essential that students have access to necessary information when applying to internships because they could end up missing out on an opportunity of a lifetime due to something that could have been resolved in the beginning. As a student who is applying to internships currently and has completed them in the past, here are some frequently asked questions about internships.

smiling workers on laptops

I don’t drive. Can I still complete an internship? 

Many people avoid applying for placements and internships due to not having a driving licence or access to a car. However, it is still entirely possible to look into completing one whether you drive or not. In fact, I completed two internships while not having access to a car, and used public transport while hybrid working.

Local businesses will often be promoting internships and placements, so look into those close to home first. Secondly, public transport is a great way to access those placements that are further away- and with the use of a yLink or iLink card, you can get up to 50 per cent off your journey.

Metro bus by City Hall

It’s also important to ask the employers if the role required access to a car and/or a valid UK driving licence, as some jobs will require candidates to have this. However, if it’s not essential and the job is completely accessible via public transport, then why not give it a go? Besides, you may well be carpooling with colleagues soon enough!

I want to complete an internship, but there’s no point- what if the competition is too strong?

This is a common worry among students applying for internships- and the simple answer is that you should have confidence that you are good enough to apply for the role you want. Sure, the pool of candidates may be wide and there will always be someone who is more experienced.

But by creating an excellent CV and cover letter, showing determination and skill, and simply having the belief in yourself that you are just as capable as the next person, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be in with a chance of landing your dream placement. It sounds cliché, but you’ll never achieve it if you don’t believe it! 

CV sitting next to a laptop and pen

Is it really worth it? 

Everyone is different, and some people may feel internships are not for them. This could be due to a variety of reasons such as low pay, already having experience, or just feeling like it isn’t worth it. And if you’ve decided not to complete an internship- that’s totally okay. Students should be able to have the option to choose whether or not they want to do one, and not be shamed either way.

However, placements and internships are undoubtedly the best way to gain experience in a particular field. In terms of applying for jobs in the future, having that valuable experience on your CV is something employers will be really impressed with.

Neon sign that says work harder

How do I find an internship? 

Some people source internships in their own time, for example during the summer or part-time alongside their studies. This is something I have done twice, and both times were valuable experiences that I am grateful to have had the opportunity to pursue.

However, many placements are university sourced- whether they last for a term or a full year. Make sure you know your way around the Careers, Employability and Skills site and be sure to sign up to MyFuture.

There really is no right or wrong way to try and find one, it’s whatever works for you and your potential employer.

Lu on a phone in front of a careers poster

I didn’t get accepted to the internship of my choice. What’s next? 

It can be incredibly disheartening to get turned down from an internship you really had your eye on- but it’s important not to let it affect you too much. In this scenario, the best thing to do is to keep going. If you have the opportunity, ask for feedback on your interview or application so you can take it on board for future reference.

Keep applying for jobs that match your skill set, work on updating your CV and practicing your interview skills and eventually, the search will pay off. 

Find out more

Careers, Employability and Skills

MyFuture- find jobs!!

Work Experience and work shadowing

MSc Marketing

Rosa Hasson 

MSc Marketing student | Postgraduate Student | Northern Ireland

My name is Rosa Hasson, I’m currently a MSC Marketing student at QUB. I graduated with a BA Hons in Journalism in 2022, and since then I have definitely kept my love of writing and content creation alive through my internships, university work and freelance writing. When I’m not working or studying I love listening to new music, trying new coffee places or getting inspiration for any upcoming city breaks!

Rosa Hasson