Hints and tips

Having beaten off the competition and secured a placement, you’ll want to make the most of it.

Find out what’s expected of you during the placement; be proactive in suggesting bits of work you might do, and show willingness to do any tasks you’re assigned – even the more menial ones.

Ask lots of questions – about the day-to-day work of the organisation, who does what, why systems work in the way they do, and so on. If there’s a specific role you’re interested in, ask about the skills and background required, and how the current holder came to do the job. People will usually be more than happy to give you answers, even when your questions aren’t about your project – or theirs.

After the placement is over, request feedback on what you did well and what might have been done better. And stay in touch – having made some business contacts, it could be worth checking in every now and again, keeping yourself in their thoughts for future placements and later employment.

Former interns share their tips

  • “Do something that makes you stand out from the crowd. I knew that programming was important, and took steps outside of college to improve my basic skillset on that front. I think that is what helped me to get this placement.”
    – Ciara O’Hara, who undertook a placement at Met Éireann
  • “Have a go at everything you can, and ask for help when you don’t know what to do but perhaps most of all, work out what you want to get out of it. After all, you’re sacrificing your summer holiday!”
    – Leo Sutton, who undertook a placement at Oxford Instruments
  • “Make the most of it, and do the work every day. Talk to the people around you, ask them to show you things, ask them what they're working on. Most people are more than willing to demonstrate their projects and ideas if you are polite and curious.”
    – David O’Driscoll, who undertook a placement at ManagePlaces.
  • “Take on as many responsibilities that you think you are capable of – you will be trusted more and be given more interesting and challenging work.”
    – Aine Matthew, who undertook a placement at the Beaumont Hospital, Dublin.