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How to Find Engineering Internships

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Guest post: Ross Pert, enginterns.com

Engineering, science, technology… the building blocks of human innovation and the backbone of modern civilization. Whether it’s the train you take to university, the smartphone you use to check Facebook, or the soft drink you have at lunch, almost every aspect of our lives is heavily reliant on these key sectors.

If you are currently studying an engineering-related degree, you are in good company and have an exciting and challenging career ahead of you! The opportunities really are endless and whilst you can help meet the challenges that we face today, you can also help shape the world we live in tomorrow. In order to prepare yourself for what lies ahead, there is no doubt that completing an engineering internship or placement is the best place to start…

How to find an engineering internship

How easy it is to find an engineering internship comes down to the amount of effort you are willing to put in. There are some great resources available to students, but it can become overwhelming with the amount of information out there. The best place to start is to think about what sort of engineering internship experience you are looking for: what industries are you interested in and what size of company would you like to work for?

Once you have a rough idea, it’s time to start the search. Careers fairs and university services are a brilliant way to meet employers and find out more about a company, but at the end of the day you then want the ability to apply to a number of companies quickly and efficiently. This is where online platforms like enginterns.com can be useful. Acting as a bridge between employers and students, such websites allow you to find and apply to a selection of companies all in one place.

What to expect from the engineering internship experience

The individual internship experience you have is going to depend a lot on the industry and company you are working in, but one thing is for certain: you need to be prepared to work hard and get stuck in. No one is going to expect you to turn up and patent a new product by the end of the week, so don’t worry about your potential lack of practical experience; after all, you're there to learn. But as with any learning opportunity, you only get out of it what you are willing to put in.

From my own personal experience of completing engineering internships, I have found that no one is going to force you to stand out; it’s up to you to have the initiative. If you want to leave a strong impression, then try to come up with an idea or suggestion whilst you are working with the company. Even if it’s something small like a spreadsheet that better manages an internal process; any way you can show innovation and creativity will help you stand out.

How to get the most out of an engineering internship

‘Ask questions’ is probably one of the best pieces of advice I have been given when entering a new workplace. Yes, it might be an obvious statement, but we all get nervous about putting ourselves out there in front of individuals who are more experienced than ourselves. The engineering sector is ever changing, and no matter how much we learn at university there is always going to be something we don’t know or haven't experienced yet.

In order to get the most out of your engineering internship, you want to ask as many questions as possible! You might think you are annoying those around you, but people respect individuals who have the confidence to say “I don’t know, but I’m willing to find out.” Remember internships are only temporary, so go out and ask questions, and meet as many people as you can. Who knows when you might have the same opportunity again.

5 tips when applying for internships

So, taking all of the above into consideration, my top tips when applying for internships are as follows:

  1. Discover what you're passionate about.
  2. Nail down your CV and cover letter.
  3. Do your research on the company.
  4. Put yourself out there.
  5. Be patient and stay positive.

Ross Pert is a recent mechanical engineering graduate from the University of Strathclyde, UK, and the founder of enginterns.com. Set up at the beginning of 2013, enginterns.com is quickly becoming one of the most popular places in the UK for engineering-related students looking for engineering internship and placement opportunities. Originally set up as a hobby, the website is now run by a team of five students and graduates and has recently re-launched with a new website to serve the thousands of students visiting the platform every week. You can also follow enginterns.com on Facebook.

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