How to find an internship in London
Tips on getting your dream internship position in the UK capital
SHOULD I DO AN INTERNSHIP ABROAD?
No matter who you talk to and no matter where they have been and what they have done, you will always get the same response when you ask someone about going abroad: do it! Spending a few months or even a year in a country completely different to the one you grew up in is going to be the most exciting, rewarding and life-changing experience of your life.
Once you’ve decided to go ahead with it, the next step is to find out which city you would like to do an internship in. Naturally, the choice will be between one of the bigger cities that offer fantastic prospects for future career development in the field you’re looking to get ahead in. Being the biggest city in Europe, London is probably very high up on your list but finding an internship in a city where everyone wants to go can be quite difficult. If you do not want to rely on agencies and organisations that you have to pay exorbitant amounts of money to simply get an internship, you’re going to have to take the plunge and work, work and work. It is not going to be easy but trust us it will be well worth it!
We’re here to help you step by step where to look for an internship, how to get the internship in London that you want and how to prepare for your big move!
POPULAR INTERNSHIP AREAS
Being the biggest city not just in the UK but in all of Europe, London of course offers the most and best opportunities for interns trying to get a foot in the door of their dream career. London is famous for its big finance sector so if you are thinking of doing an internship in a bank or insurance or other finance related company, London is the best choice you can make. But UK’s capital offers a variety of fields to work in and there are thousands of different companies looking for interns in every one of those sectors. From marketing to accounting, engineering, media and information technology, the quantity of internships is huge but unfortunately so is the competition.
WHERE TO START RESEARCHING
Begin your research as early as possible and around a year before you want to make the big move. Your first research is probably going to leave you completely overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information accessible on the internet, by the number of organisations offering to find an internship for a (usually massive) fee and by the possibilities of different internships in London. Don’t be scared off by it and don’t throw in the towel, it is just a matter of weeding out the bad and finding the right resources. Our first tip is to reach out to your local connections, your university and student representatives and possibly even your friends or your parents’ friends abroad who might be able to help you in your internship search. If you are doing an internship during your studies, find out if you are eligible for course credits and what the conditions of an internship abroad would be to receive them.
FIND A FLAT
Looking for accommodation
Think about your accommodation during your internship as soon as possible. Many of us put so much effort and energy into applying and interviewing for internships, we completely neglect that there is a part after getting that sought-after position.
What is FlatClub
FlatClub offers thousands of places in London for every budget and unlike hotels, hostels or peer-to-peer platforms, we specialise in medium-term accommodation particularly for interns. If you need some pointers on which areas are the trendiest and where to stay in London, we’re happy to help you with our extensive area guide.
The biggest platform for job advertisements in the UK is www.indeed.co.uk. Search specifically for internships in your field and you will find heaps of offers! Another great platform is www.workinstartups.com which offers a vast number of internships in London startups. Many of them are paid or offer a small stipend so make sure you know exactly what you will be getting for your work at the company. Here are a few more online resources for internships in London that we can recommend from personal experience:
We would also advise you to research companies in your job sector and then apply with them directly. Let them know exactly what you are looking for in an internship and what you can bring to the table! Which brings us to our next point:
WRITING THE PERFECT RESUME / CV
Once you’ve found a few internship offers that make you feel tingly all over and make you want to start right away, you have to put your best into writing an amazing CV that inspires your possible employer to invite you for an interview. If you don’t have a lot of experience working in the sector you are applying for, then focus on your educational achievements, your degree and all of your extracurricular activities. Go through your courses and your other work experiences and list the skills that are transferable to the internship you want. Pick three or four skills that are relevant to the position and explain in bullet points where and how you obtained them. Give short but concrete examples.
Further points on how to write a great CV for a London internship:
- use UK spelling
- the date format should be “Day, Month, Year”
- give concrete examples of the skills you can use for your internship
- highlight your extracurricular activities
- name your services in the community
- customise every CV exactly around the internship you are applying for
- be creative with your design but don’t go overboard when you apply for more conservative sectors such as finance or accounting
NAILING THE JOB INTERVIEW
Once you’ve handed in your amazing CV and have been invited to attend an interview, more research and more work follows. Put a lot of effort into researching the company, the sector, their competitors and of course your role in the company and no doubt you will shine! If you happen to be invited to a personal interview, dress appropriately and arrive around 15 minutes before the interview. Give yourself enough time to get there and prepare for traffic or delayed trains or simply getting lost on your way.
In most cases however you will be asked to attend a Skype interview. You should still treat an interview via a webcam as you would a regular interview. Dress appropriately, make sure the house or flat is quiet during the entire time, have a clean and presentable surrounding and turn off your phone and preferably your door bell.
A few more tips for the interview:
- answer questions about your experience, your skills, your strengths and weaknesses by citing specific examples of your actions and the outcomes of your actions
- have three or four specific questions related to the position ready to ask at the end of the interview
- ask the interviewer if they have any questions for you, if there is uncertainty about anything you mentioned and if they have doubts hiring you so you can clear them up before you walk out the door
PREPARING YOUR MOVE TO LONDON
Once you’ve nailed the interview for your dream internship (which we are sure you will!), you need to prepare for the exciting and possibly daunting move to the UK. Look for medium-term accommodation as soon as you’ve got the confirmation from the company. FlatClub specialises in affordable medium-term accommodation for interns and we have thousands of listings in London. We are of course happy to help you find just the right place for you!
Once you’ve found a place to stay in for the duration of your internship, you can relax and start with the fun parts of planning your move! We’ve compiled a complete relocation guide for interns going to London so go ahead, check it out and get excited for your time abroad!
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