University Student Internship in Ireland – How to Get one

Girl-at-work-with-cofee-laptop

Even if not required, completing a University Student internship while in college gives you exposure to the workforce. It helps develop your skills. Additionally, it begins to fill out your resume so that acquiring work is easier for you later. 

 

College education in itself used to be enough to guarantee you a high-paying job after graduation. But with more and more choosing to attend college, a degree alone unfortunately doesn’t cut it anymore. Employers expect you to have internship experience. This is so that you come to your first job out of school ready to hit the ground running.

 

We know that getting one can be tough — which is why we’ve come up with a guide. Follow HomeHak’s top tips to get an internship and you’ll get an offer in no time!

 

Young people working on a white board
Photo by Austin Diste on Unsplash

University students need to consider their qualifications

What is one of the most common misconceptions that university students have about how to get an internship? That they must apply to every position that catches their eye to increase their odds. But this is a sure-fire recipe for radio silence from recruiters and hiring managers. Instead, think about the skills and experience you currently possess, and which positions you might be a good fit for based on that information.

 

A few ways to narrow down which internships are right for you:

 

  • Think about your degree: Look up common career fields and job titles for people with your major.
  • Consider your experience: Think about your previous work experience, and which roles it might prepare you for. 
  • Identify transferable skills: Skills that help you succeed in school or in the student organisations you participate in — such as organisation, critical thinking and time management — will all be useful in the working world. 
  • Explore your interests: With how much time you spend at work, you want to make sure you enjoy it! Write down a few career fields that interest you, and search internships in those areas.
  • Start small: Don’t feel pressured to get your dream internship right away, especially if you have no prior work experience. 

 

Know Where to Look

Once you have a more concrete idea of which university student internships would be the right fit, it’s time to see what’s out there! Here’s how you can do that.

  • Visit Job Sites: Websites like Glassdoor have millions of job listings, so you’re bound to find something that’s right for you. You can search for the internship titles you’re interested in.
  • Use Your College’s Career Resources: Almost all colleges have a career site where employers interested in hiring their students can post positions. Career and internship fairs can also be invaluable, as they allow you to connect face-to-face with hiring decision-makers. Here is an example of one. 
  • Leverage Your Network: Getting a personal recommendation can make all the difference in your internship search, so make sure to reach out to friends, family, colleagues, classmates, professors and alumni to see if they know anyone hiring. 
  • Contact Companies Directly: If you have a dream company in mind, but they don’t have any relevant internships, you can always try writing them a letter of interest in hopes that they will either contact you when one opens or even create a new one for you. 

 

Prepare Your Application Materials

No matter what job you apply to, there are a few key materials you’re going to want to have on hand. Here are the most common ones, and how to perfect them before you apply.

 

Resumes are brief documents that showcase your skills, education and professional background. Typically, resumes will contain your name and contact info, education, professional summary, work experience, skills and additional experience.

Cover letters add additional colour and context to your application. They should persuade whoever is reading the letter that you are uniquely right for the job. They show that you are passionate about the opportunity, and provide a more well-rounded picture of who you are as a candidate.

Social Media Profiles – many recruiters use social media to research candidates. So if you haven’t already, you may want to create a professional social media profile, especially on a networking site like LinkedIn.

 

Interview Like an Expert as a university student

Before your interview, make sure to look up some basic information on the company — things like what products/services they offer, who’s on their leadership team, what milestones they’ve reached recently, who their competitors are, etc.

 

Make sure to come up with a few questions of your own. Ask your interviewer specific questions about the company. This will show that you are passionate, curious and well-informed. Here are 7 good questions to ask at an interview. 

 

Job interview
Photo by Christina Wocintech on Unsplash

Follow Up & Finalise the Offer

We recommend that you send a thank-you note to anybody you spoke with. Thank-you notes show that you’re organised and thoughtful, which both matter a great deal to employers. 

With any luck, you’ll get an internship offer from the company shortly afterwards. Most companies make it official by sending you an offer letter, which you will be expected to sign and return to them. Look out for important details like start dates, responsibilities, pay and location. You should also ask if there’s anything you can do between now and your start date in order to prepare for your role — you want to make sure to start off on the right foot.

 

To summarise

College is the ideal time to gain the knowledge and experience needed to prepare you for a new career. While it is a transition time into adulthood where critical thinking and a broader sense of learning is acquired, traditionally it is also where moves to start a career are made. For this reason, attending college and acquiring an internship often go hand in hand.

 

We hope you enjoyed HomeHak’s university student internship in Ireland – how to get one top tips guide!

 

For more information on internships in Ireland, check out our other articles:

Struggling to Get a Student Internship in Ireland? Here is What To Do.

Struggling to Get a Student Internship in Ireland? Here is What To Do.

 

Struggling to gain an internship somewhere? Losing confidence? Feeling anxious? So, you applied for every possible internship available. You did all your research, got your applications in on time, asked everyone you know if they can help you and yet you still have not managed to secure a coveted internship place this time round. 

 

And you’re panicking. Naturally of course, because every graduate employer tells you just how important work experience is. It’s frustrating, we know, but setbacks like this can happen. Being an academically strong student, this might even be the first time you have been rejected from something.

 

The key thing however is not to despair. How you handle such obstacles is key to your own personal development. We promise with a bit of lateral thinking, you can get the experience you need to make your CV stand out. HomeHak has put together a few tips to help you develop professionally and stand out from the crowd. 

 

struggling to get placement office job

 

Expand your search

Have you only applied to the big names? Consider that there may be plenty of other companies out there that could also offer you a valuable insight into the sector in which you’re interested. Gaining sound work experience at a suitable company, be it big, small or boutique, adds value to your CV at this stage, so do not dismiss this.  

 

Try freelancing or build your own project

If you have a particular skill, like writing, programming, or design, put out a call to your network or create a profile on sites like Upwork to trade your skills for paid projects. Not only will you hone your skills, but you’ll gain valuable experience meeting real deadlines and delivering real results – all while bringing in some money.

 

Take up online classes

As another option, you could consider doing a short course or extra educational qualification. Learning a language, learning to code or learning to drive are all extra skills you can put down on your CV. One example is Bright Network Academy. There are plenty of websites offering courses that you can take up online. You can find a huge variety of subjects ranging from business and management to humanities. Explore online courses from websites like FutureLearn, edX, or Coursera to build professional skills. 

 

struggling for placement young man

 

Learn a new language

Depending on the field you’re going into, speaking another language can improve your employability and increase your overall job prospects. You can start by checking out free online language learning platforms like Duolingo and Memrise. 

If you are struggling volunteer for organisations in your areas of interest

Volunteering looks great on your CV. Often you can find volunteering opportunities in something that is relevant or appropriate to you. From volunteering you will gain great transferrable skills and experience. It also demonstrates that your time is spent productively and that you have a humanitarian side to you. 

 

Expand your professional network

To help your internship or job search in the future, take this time to reach out to people and expand your network. Even if you don’t attend networking events, it is possible to grow your network through LinkedIn

 

Build your personal brand

Keep building your personal brand through a personal website. If you don’t have one yet, you can easily set it up over the summer. Check out hosts that allow you to build one for free, like WordPress or Wix. A personal website is a great advantage for college students and professionals alike because it allows future employers to view your background and see how well you apply what you know. 

 

girl working struggling to get placement

 

To summarise

Internships aren’t the only way to set yourself up for rewarding full-time opportunities. From building your own projects to learning new skills to networking virtually, you can take charge and be proactive in your professional and personal growth. We hope you enjoyed HomeHak’s top recommendations if you are struggling to get a student internship in Ireland.

For more information on internships in Ireland, check out our other articles: