Securing an Industrial Placement – My advice

If you’re considering an industrial placement but think it’s too late to secure a placement, then think again, a lot of companies are only just starting to advertise. In this blog post, Jenny Scattergood explains why it’s important not to panic if you’re applying late.


I am currently the Sustainability Intern working with the Sustainability team at the University of Leeds. My role includes running the Green Impact accreditation scheme this year, as well as launching Hotspots, promoting NETpositive and a variety of other tasks to help with the transition to a more sustainable University.

Applying for an internship was a quite stressful experience. In the end I sent countless applications, had three interviews and was successful for two internships. Here’s some advice I would give to students applying (or even considering) internships this year:

Don’t panic if you apply later in the year!

Like many second year students, during the Autumn Term I was repeatedly told how much of an invaluable opportunity a year in industry would be, but I was not in the least bit interested. Then the months crept by and I began to realise that it was something that I wanted to do. Then the panic began and I thought it was too late as I saw many other students gaining places on amazing internships. Try not to panic, I began to apply around March time and did not get the placement I am currently on until May, so take time to consider what placement is best suited to your interests and pick the one that you will gain the most from.

Don’t give up!

There was one week in which I had two interviews, one job felt perfect for me, the other I was not so sure about. Therefore I focused all of my energy on the first, more likely, interview. I researched the placement, thought of potential questions and answers, went to a mock interview and when the interview came, I felt that it went perfectly. The next day I got a call to say I hadn’t been successful. Needless to say this shook my confidence a little but my other interview, the one I was not so confident about, was the next day and I can honestly say that by this point I had given up. Still I went, gave it my best, and got the internship. You do not know entirely what the interviewers are looking for, or who else has applied, so don’t let it get you down – if you do not succeed, try, try again!

Prepare for interviews and be yourself

Think about the questions that the interviewers might ask you, even the simple competancy questions such as ‘name a time when you had a difficult task and how you overcame this’. I was asked this in one interview; the interviewer joked that ‘this is the hard question’ to which I could reply ‘it’s a good job I prepared my answer then!’ which he was impressed by. This leads onto my next point that you should always try to be yourself. Interviews are the only chance in which the staff members will get a chance to see what you are like as a person, since most interviewers will be people that you will work with they will be looking for people that they would be happy to spend the next year with, so be friendly and enthusiastic.

Go to the Careers Centre

This is probably the best advice that I can give. The Careers Centre turned out to be my saviour when it came to helping prepare applications or for interviews. They helped me to change my CV entirely to become more professional and appealing, and offered support in how to approach answering questions, my presentation, how to introduce myself – everything. I must have gone there at least ten times over a 3 month period, and although the staff did start to recognise my face (as they have now told me) they were always available to offer their full support and guidance. As cliché as it may sound I do not know if I would have my placement now without their advice, therefore I reiterate – go to the Careers Centre.

If you’re considering an industrial placement year then look out for the Leeds Internship Programme. You can register your interest here, and hear about the latest opportunities first.

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Filed under Advice, How I got my job, Interviews, Work Experience

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