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Summer placements?

  1. Nov 22, 2015 #1
    I'm currently a first year student based in the UK (Russell Group Uni), working at a first standard. I'm female, 19 (on a four year MSci course) and wondering if anyone could share some advice on where to look for placements/what said employers look for in applicants?

    I know I'll probably get a few comments saying I'm being too keen and I should wait till second year to look into summer placements, but given that this area of study is something I'm passionate about and I want to put myself in the strongest possible position for when it comes to PhD applications, so preferably looking at science orientated placements (whether it's research like lab assistant, or applicable like nuclear/engineering/computer science/ect). Does anyone have any advice to share?

    Thank you!
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 22, 2015 #2
    No you're not too keen on this. Large organizations typically start advertising internships about six months before summer. The reason is because the hiring and interview processes take time. Do some research on which large companies you might like to work with and then check out their web sites in the career section. Typically they'll have a part for internships.

    In truly large companies, do some research on who is doing what for the company and try to communicate with that person. Having someone on the inside working for you can be a huge asset.

    Basically, this job search works the same as any job search. You need to learn where the hiring is, who the leaders are and where they have money for you.

    Good Luck!
  4. Nov 26, 2015 #3


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    Gold Member

    Is your university organizing any type of "career day" which includes summer placements? I know that e.g. Imperial has an event like that in December (we will be advertising for summer students there). If your university is part of SEPnet they also have a program for summer placements (other networks presumably have something similar).

    That said, as a first year student you will probably struggle to find a placement. Most organizations will be at least in part use summer placements to look at potential employees (or in our case PhD students) meaning they will mainly be interested in 3rd or 4th year students. It is also very competitive, last year I had ten applicants for one position and they were all 3rd of 4th year students.
    You could significantly increase your chances by having some practical skills of the type that they do not (typically) teach you in courses. Hence, knowing even a little bit about programming (say Python) would make you quite a bit more useful to an employer; the same thing would be true about electronics.
    Note that having some of these these skills would also be advantageous when applying for a PhD position. British universities are really bad at teaching physics students practical skills (programming, electronics etc) even though it is something that most employers (including PhD supervisors) will ask for.
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