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Advice for securing your dream internship

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When studying engineering at the University of Sunderland, you’ll be encouraged to spend a paid year in industry in your third year to really enhance your skills and gain vital work experience that employers crave. Here, Derek Dixon, Admissions Tutor for Mechanical Engineering, shares his top tips for securing your dream internship. Will you follow in the footsteps of previous students who have undergone placements at Jaguar, Nissan, Delphi Powertrain Systems and GlaxoSmithKline?

Placements will provide you with vital industry experience

“We absolutely encourage you to do a placement year," says Derek. "The application side of it is very competitive, so we have a series of employers coming to the University to make you aware of placements." He continues: "You’ll have to compile a CV, apply and go through the employer’s interview. But that’s good practice for when you go out into the real world after graduation. If you do a placement and then come back for your final year, you’ll be a different person. You’ll be more mature, switched on and have a fantastic CV. You’ll be more employable."

Top tips to impress potential employers and secure a placement

  • Do as much in your own control as possible
  • Learn how to speak on the phone and present yourself as best you can
  • You’re working towards being a professional engineer, so have you prepared as professionally as possible? Is your CV up-to-date? Have you checked it thoroughly?
  • Get support and advice from the staff at the University. We’ve all worked – or are working – in industry. Use us
  • Don’t get downhearted if you get turned down. Be committed
  • Be aware of the discussions and talks when employers come to the University. Attend the talks, listen to what the professionals have to say. Be a sponge and take everything in

Interview tips

  • You should always be aware of issues in the wider world that you could incorporate into your work
  • When you get to an interview, link recent news to your answers and suggest to employers how you would apply this to your internship. E.g. the design of wind turbines is a big issue at the minute, so how would you try and solve it?
  • Employers want to see this passion from you, it shows you have ideas and that you’re excellent academically as well as aware of the challenges facing the industry


Published: 11 September 2017