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  • CAREER BRIEF

Toolkit: How to get a great internship

Start early

Most internships start after graduation. Make sure you are aware of application deadlines and plan ahead to beat the rush.

Get in touch

Avoid limiting yourself to publicly advertised internships – get in touch with labs, institutes or even individual researchers that interest you and ask if there are any available positions. Well written applications open doors.

Ensure you will get something out of the experience

Internships can be an excuse for companies to source cheap labour for unskilled work. A well run programme should be a hands-on challenge with clear goals. Ask what work you will be doing during the application stage.

Discuss your work experience

Your lab experience is likely to be more extensive than your commercial experience, but highlight both in your application. Companies will appreciate your scientific know-how, but it might be a part-time job you did as a teenager that sets you apart.

Find support from your university

Universities often have existing relationships with companies for internships. Talk to your institution’s careers service for recommendations.

Take care not to be exploited

If you find yourself doing work that is essential to the running of a company, you should be a salaried employee. Be cautious about companies that ask too much of you.

Find out more

Check out our advice on landing an internship here and here.

doi: https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-019-01361-w

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