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Failed to find internship, get work experience? Other choices?

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    Dear TSR,

    I've failed to find an internship this year (I'm a 2nd year student studying Actuarial Science) as I've been rejected for all my applications. It was really important for me to get an internship as I've not got any professional work experience and I've had poor first year results (2:2).

    My secondary school results are good, but that's pretty much the only thing on my CV. I've also got non professional work experience which includes decent experience from eBay as I'm a Top Rated Power Seller on eBay and working in my family restaurant. I've had my CV checked by a few careers advisors/services and they say it's fine as I've managed to turn those two experiences into what seems like very useful work experience.

    However, due to my lack of professional work experience and poor first year results, I worry that next year I will have a very low chance of obtaining a graduate role. It's too late for me to apply for new internships now so I was wondering would it be worth me trying to just apply for 1 week work experiences in perhaps a number of places? I've not really researched fully if there are any open but I was wondering would it be beneficial?

    Are there any other choices? What can I do between 2nd year and 3rd year without an internship? I don't think blowing my money on a holiday is a good idea, teaching was not one of my strong points either but I may try to find something such as teaching maths to A level students or perhaps even GCSE as I've always been strong with mental arithmetic and general maths (GCSE/A level etc).

    Many thanks,
    Ulti
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    (Original post by Ulti)
    Dear TSR,

    I've failed to find an internship this year (I'm a 2nd year student studying Actuarial Science) as I've been rejected for all my applications. It was really important for me to get an internship as I've not got any professional work experience and I've had poor first year results (2:2).

    My secondary school results are good, but that's pretty much the only thing on my CV. I've also got non professional work experience which includes decent experience from eBay as I'm a Top Rated Power Seller on eBay and working in my family restaurant. I've had my CV checked by a few careers advisors/services and they say it's fine as I've managed to turn those two experiences into what seems like very useful work experience.

    However, due to my lack of professional work experience and poor first year results, I worry that next year I will have a very low chance of obtaining a graduate role. It's too late for me to apply for new internships now so I was wondering would it be worth me trying to just apply for 1 week work experiences in perhaps a number of places? I've not really researched fully if there are any open but I was wondering would it be beneficial?

    Are there any other choices? What can I do between 2nd year and 3rd year without an internship? I don't think blowing my money on a holiday is a good idea, teaching was not one of my strong points either but I may try to find something such as teaching maths to A level students or perhaps even GCSE as I've always been strong with mental arithmetic and general maths (GCSE/A level etc).

    Many thanks,
    Ulti
    If you can't find Actuarial work experience, look for any technical/analytical roles at all. It's better than nothing. Anything that you can put on your cv that demonstrates team-work, Excel proficiency, possibly some programming and working with databases.
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    Ah that's a good one, learning some programming skills. Unfortunately almost all internship schemes have closed, including analytical ones which I have applied for.

    Competencies have always been where I've been weaker at, I've not really participated actively in extra-curricular activities hence I've got no solid examples of teamwork, projects, explaining concepts etc.
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    (Original post by Ulti)

    Competencies have always been where I've been weaker at, I've not really participated actively in extra-curricular activities hence I've got no solid examples of teamwork, projects, explaining concepts etc.
    If this is an issue perhaps you might want to try and deal with this first.

    Like joining uni societies, doing voluntary work etc. so that you have solid and clear examples of when you've shown teamwork, working towards a deadline etc.

    You know how much the hiring-people love their competencies-based questions!

    (Also I know the Big 4 do "insight days" that you might look at? I'm not sure if they're aimed ar 1st years though...)
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    Yeah insight days isn't a bad suggestion. Try sending emails or cold calling to small firms asking for internships? I imagine everyone is doing this though so might still be quite competitive.

    Also, the institute of Actuaries is holding a careers evening soonish, probably worth going to as they invite a lot of qualified actuaries and students to give talks, socialise, and chat at the end. You can learn a lot about the profession and start building your network.
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    I've been to an insight day for PwC but most insight days are held pre-April. There's really not much between now and the summer IIRC.

    Of course I'd like to brush up my competencies, however, I realised it's a bit too late for that too as I doubt I'd have much chance in my final year. Perhaps doing some volunteering work may be good if I can find something that is attractive. Tbh I wouldn't mind doing an unpaid internship if it's related to my interests (mainly analytical roles in the financial sector) but of course even they don't really exist.

    Really hating the system as I could probably score 100% on the numerical and logical reasoning tests but then completely fail the comptency based interviews.. Life's fair I guess?

    I guess right now some reasonable suggestions for the summer would be:
    1. Volunteering
    2. Learning programming
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    Bump, any other suggestions?
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    I'm in exactly the same situation as you, except I was looking for either a summer internship or a year-long placement.
    I have applied to 34 advertised jobs and I have sent off 61 speculative applications, but it doesn't seem to be getting me anywhere. I've even visited some accounting firms (only 4) and offered to work for free but they say it's against their company policy.
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    I'm a 2nd year student that applied for many year-long placement schemes and currently it's looking like I'm not going to seal any of them. A couple I haven't heard back from, and out of the ones I have, I've either: passed the psychometric tests, or interviews but failed at some other stage later down the line.

    I'm someone who is still very young and doesn't have an incredible amount of work experience besides part-time work in hospitality and other volunteering work (which I've still turned into valuable answers on competency questions) but it hasn't always been enough.

    For some months though I had the back-up plan in mind that if I failed to get the 1 year type, I would do summer internships and continue onto 3rd year. Some summer internships close applications a bit early though, so I missed out some good opportunities. But currently there's still summer vacancies that I've found through regular searching, and if not I will do summer jobs and work heavily on building my CV more in my final year.
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    (Original post by Sparklyblue171)
    if not I will do summer jobs and work heavily on building my CV more in my final year.
    I'm sorry to hear this but just thought I would chip in. Don't become overly focused on making your CV incredible in final year, you still have to make sure you get a 2:1 to get the job in the first place. The job market is absolutely crap at the moment and there is no shame or failing in not getting on a grad scheme, in my experience I only know a handful of people who have. I know someone who spent the entirety of the first semester basically applying for jobs, doing extra stuff for their CV and they are now massively stressing out as they are borderline 2:2/2:1 and it's not something you want to be feeling. Just concentrate on getting the 2:1 and then think about the jobs later, after all, if you don't get the 2:1 it's going to make it a lot harder anyway.
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    I'm sorry to hear that you guys are in the same position as me. I'm very disheartened now and when it comes to revision now my mind just keeps worrying about my career path and then I'm even more put off from revision. I'm basically in the situation that Chapeau Rouge has advised us not to get into...

    I'm wondering would it be good to try to find a 1 year business placement? I think I really need some work experience because I've been living at home all the time so I've really not got much from the outside world apart from working in my family restaurant, but even then I don't have as much experience and knowledge as I would.

    I'm not sure if it's possible to find a 1 year business placement in actuary though...
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    Worry about it after finals, that's what I'm telling myself, after all I theoretically have from now until the end of time to do it

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Updated: April 10, 2012
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