Using a range of strategies and engaging your networks can help you find and secure your science work placement.

There are two ways to find opportunities:

  1. Advertisements, organisation websites (visible job market)
  2. Direct approach, word of mouth (hidden job market)

Advertisements, Organisation Websites (Visible Job Market)

The first place you can look is the Current Opportunities page. This contains Faculty-Sourced placements from organisations who are seeking UNSW Science interns. 

Many websites advertise internship opportunities. You can start by looking at these:

SCIF2199 Applicants

Students who are seeking a work placement for the science elective SCIF2199 should review this page before reading further. 

  1. Narrow down internship opportunities by geographical location first.
  2. Filter by choosing your areas of interest.
  3. You can refine the search by paid or unpaid internships.
  4. Once you have a narrow list of companies that meet your criteria, research their history, reputation and size.

Look at current employees of the company by searching on LinkedIn.

  • What other companies have they worked at? This might give you some other companies to research.
  • What universities did they attend? This might help you with networking.

Researching company websites, their achievements, culture and people can help you decide if you’d like to apply for an internship there. Your research will also shine through in your application and interview as it shows you’ve done your homework and are prepared.

Once you’ve decided which internships to apply for, you’ll need to make sure you have the following documents:

  • up-to-date resume and cover letter
  • your most recent academic transcript
  • create a LinkedIn account and ensure it’s up to date.

The UNSW Careers and Employment team can help you with these documents and regularly run workshops on developing these.

There are also unadvertised internship opportunities that you can access by using your networks.

Once you have a narrowed down list of companies, research any networks that could give you an introduction to companies offering an internship program.

  • Look for personal or professional connections to the company using social network sites such as Facebook or LinkedIn.
  • Ask friends for information about their experience working at the company.
  • Try to meet new contacts in person. Ask about their experience and the best person to approach for internship opportunities.

You’re now ready to approach a company. Use your knowledge from networking or research you have conducted to find the details of the person you should approach. If you are still not sure of the person to contact, make an initial call to reception to find out who you should direct your enquiry to.

Here are some ways you can get ready:

  • Prepare your introduction (clear, brief and engaging)
  • Think about a connection to the employer that you can use in your introduction. For example, a mutual contact, you’ve heard them speak at a careers function, read an article about the organisation, or someone at UNSW has suggested you contact them.
  • Be prepared to talk about why you have contacted the organisation, and what you have to offer.
  • Think through how you will handle any resistance (‘we have nothing available’; ‘you need to speak to our HR Department'; ‘I don’t have time to talk’).

Example of a phone introduction:

Hello. My name is….. I have been given your details by/I read about you in/my lecturer suggested……

I am a student at UNSW and I’m looking for opportunities to intern in ……

Do you have time to talk at the moment? Or perhaps I could make a time to drop by and talk then?

Emails need to be focused and attention-grabbing. Do not include every possible point in your favour. The aim is to interest the reader to be open to further conversation.

Example of an email introduction:

Reason for writing

State clearly and briefly your reason for writing. Don’t beat around the bush or start talking about yourself before you say why you’re writing.

Include a point of connection to the organisation (I have been given your details by/I read about you in/my lecturer suggested).

Introduce yourself

Introduce yourself with an overview of your qualifications and experience – start with the most relevant aspects e.g. if your education is most relevant then open with that.

Internship objectives

Explain why you are hoping to complete an internship:

  • Is this a for a university course (SCIF2199)?
  • Is this for professional development?

Outline the field you are interested in working in and clearly explain the relevant skills that you have related to this field.

Indicate what you would like to do next. Do not rely on the employer responding to your email straight away. You’ll probably need to make a follow-up call.

It is important to have your CV, transcript and LinkedIn account all up to date before you make a direct approach. You may be asked for a CV and transcript at your first meeting. Even if not expected, providing these at a first meeting shows you are prepared, organised and keen.