A common question students ask is ‘when I should start looking for an internship or graduate job?’ In this section find out when you should be ready to start making applications.

There are two main timescales in the UK to be aware of when making applications as a student:

  1. Many opportunities for students (internships, jobs, further study, funding) will be advertised in autumn (Sept, Oct, Nov) with an expectation that you start the opportunity the following summer/autumn. This timescale is typical of large companies recruiting into internship and graduate roles, especially in sectors such as finance, consultancy, industry, civil service.
  2. There are other opportunities that will be advertised with the expectation that you will start soon after you have been made the offer. You should plan to apply for these types of opportunities four to five months before you are ready to start the job or internship. This timescale is typical for any small companies or start-ups and also for opportunities in sectors such as science communication, arts and museums.

By the time you are actively on the job market and sending out your applications, you should already have researched options available to you and have a good idea of the types of opportunities you are looking for. Researching options, planning and making decisions takes time, so it’s never too early to start your career planning.

Use your time as a student to:

  • Develop your career ideas by attending careers talks and events
  • Build up relevant skills and experience through extracurricular activities such as student societies

Earliest deadlines

  • Finance, banking and consultancy set their deadlines very early. Be ready for these applications from September onwards.
  • For postgraduate study in the US you should ideally start to plan 18 months before you plan to start the course. Be aware that you will probably need to have sat the GRE or GMAT before you make your applications, which ideally you will want to do the summer before your final year at Imperial.
  • The Careers Service is open all through the summer vacation to help you to get ready.