Unfortunately, it has been really difficult to find something to do after graduation. Going out into the real world is scary, and the competition for places on graduate schemes etc., is so high. Not to scare all of you, but it is akin to the Hunger Games!
I would advise students, even in their first years, to get as much varied work experience as possible, to better prepare themselves for after graduation. I’m not saying that I didn’t, but it takes a long time for people to settle on a job that they like. The earlier you realise, the more relevant experience you can find before graduation. I really would recommend people to contact their Careers service at University to help them with this (Leicester’s can be found here).
While the future looks a little bleak, without a plan of action, my dissertation supervisor sent me an internship possibility with the Policy Department of the Society for General Microbiology. This placement will open up for a few months this summer. With subsistence and travel covered, this internship does sound pretty good for someone who is interested in communicating science (to policy makers no doubt!) and is looking to get a tentative foot in the door. The society is a worldwide membership organisation for all those who work in Microbiology. As well as advising Governmental bodies on antimicrobial resistance, genetically modified foods and agriculture (to name a few microbiological current issues), they also identify gaps in education to train future microbiologists. Whilst, also promoting Microbiology as a highly important area of research. A good organisation for my Microbiological interests and with a great reputation on impacting research into Microbiology.
It sounds perfect for me, but I expect competition will be high, for this internship, as well. My tips for people wanting to stand out in the competition, of any job application are:
- To personalise your CV. While these opportunities usually require a cover letter (personalising your yearning to work with a specific company), show that you have taken the time to research the company of interest, by adapting your CV as well. This may involve including relevant modules from University.
- Show your enthusiasm. Obviously researching the company shows an interest. But, really emphasise your interest, by linking interest with desires you want to fulfil (not to sound over the top or anything). For example: “I am interested in the field of algae bio-reactors as I wish to contribute to advancing clean water sourcing and valid ways of scaling up renewable energy, both of which are huge problems in multiple communities around the world“. Although, I took a seemingly flavourless topic (IT ISN’T!), I linked the subject with its worldwide implications, that I would personally like to be a part of (showing passion).
- Use of thesaurus is never a bad thing, as you want to show intelligence and flair. Whoever’s reading your application probably has to look through many cover letters like yours, so grab their attention.
I hope this helps those wishing to learn more about work experience for after University, and that my advice gives you food for thought. Perhaps enjoy some commodities produced by microbes, such as cheese, bread, chocolate and a glass of wine or 3, to really appreciate the topic 😉
I also found a neat website for those who might be questioning studying Microbiology at University. Microbe Zoo provides background information on Microorganisms and their actions in our environment. Providing accessible and fun bite-size information suitable for First year Microbiology students, and even secondary school children (to pique their interests). I hope this lightens the post ever so slightly 🙂
Until next time blogosphere, TTFN xoxoxo
2 responses to “An Internship possibility?”
Sorry to bother you.
This question is not about this current post however, I am wondering if I can ask you some advice on the Erasmus scheme you did in Finland.
I am currently a first year and thinking about it. I have looked at Finland myself as a good choice and if it’s not too much trouble it would be nice to hear of any relevant information you may have on the scheme.
Hope this is not too much trouble.
Hi Sacha, wonderful to hear from you & that you are looking into doing an Erasmus exchange in Finland.
You ask quite a broad question, but I will provide as much necessary information as I can.
In order to go on erasmus, you need to do pretty well in your studies (2:1 ideally overall from 1st and 2nd years). However, around the start of 2nd year is when the Biological Sciences Department will usually hold an information session on Erasmus & Study Abroad, so I would keep an eye out for that, as they may be able to provide more accurate information than me.
From what I remember, you register your initial interest and apply for the scheme before Christmas. Although, it seems a little late, you hear back from The University of Leicester on your application around March time. They then forward your application to the Erasmus University specified. I only found out I had been accepted at the University of Eastern Finland in early June! Upon initial application, you provisionally decide on modules, which are approved by the Erasmus coordinator for Biological Sciences students. The coordinator is great at facilitating you upon the application process and will be a point of contact whilst abroad.
Language learning can put people off of doing Erasmus, but links within Biological Sciences (and most other departments) to other European Universities are made so that programmes are predominantly in English. In fact, in Finland, if the teacher knew there was one person who didn’t speak Finnish in the room, would sometimes switch to English, because all Finnish students know English. Finnish can’t be learnt at Leicester University (whilst other languages available are subsidised for students doing Erasmus), but Finland do offer basic Finnish courses for foreign students at their Universities.
Upon acceptance, you also get emailed accommodation oportunities in Joensuu, which is really nice as you can get housing sorted thorugh quite an easy channel, without last-minute searching.
As part of studying on Erasmus, you get an Erasmus grant, as well as what you would normally get for studying at Leicester, which is ideal for exploring the country of course. There is plenty of paperwork involved, but Universities at either end were really supportive in making sure it’s all completed on time.
Make sure your passport is up to date and you have an European Health Insurance Card (for EU health cover) just in case.
I’ve given quite a lot of information here, if you have more questions then please don’t hesitate to ask 🙂