Now, in your first year, is an ideal time to start thinking ahead, if you want to work in any high-quality, well-paid graduate job after your degree. The graduate training schemes with the Times Top 100 Employers are extremely competitive, and to land one of those positions, employers typically look for a 2:1 and relevant work experience. Smaller employers tend to place less emphasis on the grade, but will look for work experience.
Placements and internships tend to be regarded as the gold standard of work experience, as these provide opportunities to work on live projects and tend to offer high quality training. In addition, many employers use internships and placements as part of their graduate recruitment strategy and often tend to offer graduate jobs or fast tracks to assessment centres or final interviews for around 70%.
Insight and Spring Week programmes tend to be offered predominantly to Year 1 students, and internships and placements mostly for Year 2 or penultimate year students.
Building up your experience
A good starting point could be the Jobshop, operated by Kent’s Student Union. Click here to search for currently advertised jobs around campus and Canterbury. Jobs in other parts of Kent are included, and you can also drop in – their office is next door to Essentials on the Canterbury campus.
You could also consider volunteering (see Kent Union website for opportunities) or contact your local charities, for example. Smaller businesses are also interested in employing first year students, and you could use the Job Hunting tips on this blog to help you with this process.
Information about different types of work experience and further resources
Target Jobs https://targetjobs.co.uk/internships
Insight Days for first year students
You may also like to know that many of the larger employers (accountancy/finance businesses, investment banks, FMCGs and management consultancies) offer Insight Days or Insight Programmes for Year 1 to provide some insights into these career areas.
These events are typically one or two days at the companies’ premises, often during the Easter holidays. Be aware – sign-up dates are very early, often at the latest end December/January. These are advertised on the companies’ own websites and through the usual graduate recruitment sites, or simply google Career Insight Days.
Deadlines for vary from November/December to January – apply early!
- Ratemyplacement – https://www.ratemyplacement.co.uk/insights
- e4s – http://www.e4s.co.uk/internship-jobs/first-year-internships.htm
- LSE Careers Blog – How to make the most of spring weeks and insight programmes
- Social Media – Many employers use Twitter and LinkedIn to publicise these events
Employers who have advertised schemes for Year 1 students:
Bank of America Merrill Lynch
Bank of England
SEO London (for first year ethnic minority undergraduates; mostly investment banking and professional services)
Walt Disney World Resort