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Securing a Graduate Role Through Summer Employment

Securing a graduate role through Summer employment

Posted on: 08/02/20 | Written by:  Student Ambassador: Annie Dollard, student at University of Liverpool

Finding and securing the right graduate role can be a challenging experience. With so many different career pathways for graduates to venture down, it can be difficult to visualise where you want to be in ten years’ time, let alone what you would like to achieve and get out of your career in the long term.

But there’s a solution that can help students silence these worries: completing a summer internship. Internships offer students the perfect opportunity to ‘test the water’ before they decide on the right career path for them, not to mention the potential opportunity to secure a graduate role in the firm upon completion of their internship!

I was lucky enough to secure a summer internship after my penultimate year in university, working for a large international firm that I had always aspired to be a part of. I had the opportunity to get involved in many different projects and various types of client work. It allowed me to get to know my future work colleagues, build connections, and understand what was expected of me if I wanted to have a successful career at the firm. After completing my internship, I secured a graduate role within my team!

From my experience, completing a summer internship was the key to unlocking the path to a successful graduate career. However, there are many hurdles to cross to get to this stage. Many students often experience setbacks during the application process, which can lead to them becoming disheartened and disengaged with the prospect of an internship. So, below I’ve detailed my top tips to make the internship process successful!

Do your Research

Look at as many firms as you can and the opportunities they offer. Some organisations only offer certain internships in certain locations. It’s important to bear in mind that if you’re applying to a location away from home you may have to arrange accommodation for the summer, reducing the pay you can use from your internship when you go back to university. Also, there are many great websites that feature reviews from current graduates or previous interns who have had similar experiences, so it’s always worth reading these before applying.

Apply Early

To put yourself in the best possible position apply as soon as the vacancy you want opens. Leaving it three or four weeks is just not going to do you any favours. There will likely be hundreds of other candidates who are in the application process, and their applications will be at the front of the queue. As you’re completing your online tests, another candidate may have already received a phone call with a job offer.

Perfect the Basics

Get the basics right by spending time on your application and CV because this is what recruiters will use to compare you against other candidates. This is your chance to sell yourself! It’s crucial to read over your CV and tailor it to the specific role and company that you’re applying to. Firms may be looking for differing qualities in candidates even if the roles are similar. And, always ensure that you get someone who you trust to proofread any personal statements or CVs that you write, they can pick up on vital errors and spelling mistakes!

Stand Out

Providing employers with an insight into your personality could really help you stand out from the crowd, so carefully choose how to make the most of ‘interests’ and ‘experience’ on your CV. For example, any languages that you’ve learned, or current hobbies will help an employer see that you’re keen to learn new skills and that you enjoy socialising and mixing with others. All employers and interviewers want someone who can hold a conversation with others, and I don’t necessarily mean a conversation about work related issues! A link to your personal blog, travel experiences or volunteering work that you’ve been involved with can demonstrate that there’s much more to you than the degree course you’ve completed.

Be Organised

It’s hard to keep track of which firms you’ve applied to, for which locations, and for which roles, when you’ve applied to so many. Regularly updating a spreadsheet with these details will help you identify where you are with each firm. You can also use resources you made for previous interviews for your upcoming ones, alleviating stress and helping you to maintain focus.

Stay Positive

It’s hard not to feel low and anxious when you find out that you’ve been unsuccessful with one firm. Making negative associations like this and losing hope will result in you lacking effort with other open applications that you may have, and it can have a domino effect. Although it may feel like a door has closed on you, stay optimistic believe that there is another door opening around the corner.


Student Ambassador Annie DollardStudent Ambassador Annie Dollard is in her third year at University of Liverpool where she is studying for her BA (Hons) Accounting and Finance degree. Annie has written several Unstoppable Minds blogs relating to student life and has helped Cengage to conduct research with first year and final year students around the impact of digital learning solutions.