Queens TowerTwo common questions that students ask are:

  • When should I start planning for my future career?
  • When should I start looking for an internship or graduate job?

Use this section to learn the answers to both these questions and be prepared for the earliest deadlines.

Timescale tabs

Applications

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

  1. Many opportunities for students (spring weeks, internships, jobs, further study, funding) will be advertised in autumn (Sept, Oct, Nov) with an expectation that you start the opportunity the following spring/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.

We have job hunting advice to help you know where to look for opportunities and advice on planning further study.

The Careers Service is open all through the summer vacation to help you to get ready for making applications in the busy autumn term. 

We also have guidance on how to research job sectors and occupations. 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.

 

Earliest deadlines

First and second years:

  • Many large companies, especially in finance, offer spring or insight weeks to students who are in the first year of a three year degree or second year of a four year degree. Start looking for these in November onwards of your first or second year of study.

Penultimate and final years:

  • Finance, banking and consultancy set their deadlines for graduate jobs very early. Be ready for these applications from September onwards of your final year of study. Other sectors will have graduate jobs advertised from October of your final year.
  • For postgraduate study in another country you should ideally start to plan 18 months before you plan to start the course. Be aware that you may 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. For postgraduate study in the UK you will usually start applying in November of your final year of study.

We have job hunting advice to help you know where to look for opportunities and advice on planning further study.

The Careers Service is open all through the summer vacation to help you to get ready for making applications in the busy autumn term. 

Career planning

We encourage students to start think about their future career plans early. Browse our What's On section to see opportunities to network, attend talks, learn skills and get work or research experience whilst you are a student. Engaging with these opportunities as early as your first year of study will help you to work out what you do and don’t want to do later on. Find out about all the exciting talks and events happening by signing up to our weekly newsletter via JobsLive.

While it is never too early to start thinking about your plans for after your course, whatever stage you are at, it’s not too late either. The ideal time to start planning is now!

Final year

Ideally you will want to have a clear idea of what you want your next step to be by the start of your final year of study. If you can already have done some relevant work experience by then, that will help you to make strong applications, whether you are aiming for further study or a graduate job.

If you find yourself changing your mind or only starting to plan in your final year, then don’t worry. It’s not too late and the Careers Service can help. You could start by exploring ideas of what can I do with my degree.

Penultimate year

The summer before you graduate is a great time to get work experience such as an internship or UROP. You may get a job offer directly from your employer or you can use the experience in applications you are making in your final year of study. Planning for your summer from the start of your penultimate year of study will maximise your chances of getting an internship.

First and second year

In your first and second year of study you can already start applying for insight or spring weeks, to get a first taste of different types of work. This is also a good time to engage in student societies, extracurricular activities and attend talks. Find out more from our First Year Zone.