How to nail an internship and become super employable

work experience guide, internship tips

What makes a great internship? Just getting involved in some work experience will help you navigate the sharp learning curve you face when entering the workforce.

We compiled some essential tips on how to get an internship, and make the most of it.


1. Do your research

No-one is going to hand you an internship on a silver platter. You’ve got to be proactive in seeking out work experience, and there’s a few ways to do it:

> > Hop on a job-seeking engine like Indeed or Seek and search for internship opportunities.

> > Google a company you’d like to work for and find their email address. Send them an introductory email that explains the work experience you’re looking for. Make it short and sweet; tell them why you’d like to intern for their company, and what skills you can bring to the table.

> > Ask around. Ask teachers, parents, aunties, uncles and friends if they know of any opportunities.



Read about how work experience can take you overseas, making a real difference to the lives of 1.2 billion people living without power. Read USyd student, Zarif Aziz’s blog about his work experience with Okra Solar in Cambodia.


2. Remember the 20% rule

On average, 118 people apply for any given job that’s advertised. Only 20% get a call back.

Even if you’re not competing for an advertised internship on a job-seeking website, the odds are often against you.

For your best chances of acquiring work experience quickly, it’s best to send more applications than you think you need to. But don’t skimp on the quality of your application. Apply for anything that catches your eye, or anywhere you’d like to work (even if you think you’re under qualified!).

The more applications you send, the greater your chances.


3. Every experience is valuable

Chances are you’re not going to be interning in your dream career. Or maybe, you’ll discover that your dream career is nothing like you thought it would be.

Either way, every work experience opportunity is teaching you something new about working life. Take the time to summarise what you learned. It’ll make an excellent addition to your resume!

Read about how PhD student Larissa Fedunik-Hofman found her niche in the fast-paced world of science communication, with her internship at Refraction Media. P.S. It landed her a part-time job when she finished!


4. Have a resume ready to go

There’s a bit of a catch-22 here. You need a resume to get work experience, but you’ve got no work experience to put on that resume.

Here’s how to write a resume, even if you don’t think you’ve got the experience to back it up.



Is your resume up to scratch?


5. Put yourself out there

It might be nerve wracking to apply for an internship, but putting yourself out there will only benefit your future career.

Don’t stop once you’ve got the internship. Find ways to exceed expectations – even in the smallest of tasks.

“In nailing your preferred work experience and getting the most out of your time, it’s really important to go above and beyond,” says Heather Catchpole, Head of Content at Careers with STEM.

“Take the time to meet your employer beforehand to make sure you know the route to take, ask any questions, and make an impression in person.

“While you’re working for them, ask if there’s anything else you can do above the assigned tasks, show interest and respond positively to feedback. Good employers will respond by showing an interest in you and your career – potentially far down the track – and this can really open doors for you.”


Have you had any great internship experiences? Let us know in the comments!


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Eliza Brockwell

Author: Eliza Brockwell

Eliza is passionate about creating content that encourages diversity of representation in STEM.


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