How to save your summer: tips for finding last-minute work experience

Photo: Jay Baker under Creative Commons licence

As summer arrives, the question on everyone’s mind is where these three months of sunny bliss (unless you’re staying in Scotland over break) will take them. Perhaps you’ve secured an internship at a financial firm in London or have been offered a job at the local book store. Or, if you fall on the other end of the spectrum, perhaps your summer plans currently consist of Netflix, time with friends back home, and sleeping in.

For those who have finalized their summer plans, congratulations. For those who have absolutely no idea what they’re doing after exams, you’ve come to the right place. The Saint presents our tips for finding last-minute work experience, whether you’re hoping to find an internship, a summer job or a work shadowing opportunity.

Look for location-based openings on the Careers Centre website. If you’ve never visited the Careers Centre either in-person or online, you’re missing out. The centre’s website includes an internships & work experience section that lists job opportunities everywhere from Washington, D.C. to Hong Kong. Potential positions include a Santander-sponsored marketing and executive intern (applications close 25 April), a finance intern with the Royal Bank of Scotland (applications close 17 April) and an editorial intern with GTI Media (applications close 22 April). In addition to checking the Careers Centre website, look to online resources such as Targetjobs and

Send speculative applications. If you have a dream summer employer in mind, why not take a chance and ask if they have any openings? Sending your CV to companies without an advertised job opening is known as speculative application, and it could help you find an internship, a work shadowing opportunity or simply a new contact. For more tips on speculative applications, visit the Careers Centre website.

Use networking platforms like SaintConnect and LinkedIn. It’s easy to connect with St Andrews alumni on LinkedIn, but did you know that the University has its own version of LinkedIn? SaintConnect is the perfect way to find alumni in the field you want to work in, and because these alumni designate themselves as mentors, it’s likely they’ll be willing to help you out. You can also visit the Careers Centre in person and ask a careers adviser to connect you with an alum. Don’t forget to make the most of the connections you already have—ask your family and friends if they know of any openings that might be a good fit for you. You never know where your next job might come from.

Hone your interview skills. Interviews are the last step before receiving a summer job offer, so it’s important to spend time preparing for them. “Whilst preparing for interviews it can be tempting to concentrate on how your experience and skills fit the requirements of the opportunity,” career adviser Shona Mach said. “Employers, however, will be looking for you to show your interest and motivation for their organisation and its values, and the role you’ve applied for. The Careers Centre’s interview resources and advisers can help you prepare and practice. The Interview Simulator on the Careers Centre website allows you to record and playback your answers to practice questions.”

Participate in the Summer Work Shadowing Programme.  If you can’t secure a summer internship or job, there’s still hope. The Careers Centre’s Summer Work Shadowing Programme has opportunities to shadow over 160 alumni and others in a range of interesting roles around the world, from an event director in London to a deputy high court judge in Hong Kong. Applications close 22 April. Ms Mach advised: “Make the most of any work experience by treating it seriously.  Use your initiative, offer ideas and ask for feedback.  Keep a log of what you’ve achieved and what you’ve learned. Take the chance to speak with other people in the organisation about their work and offer to help if it sounds interesting, and the opportunity arises.”  



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