Internships 1

Internships, placements and work experience

Get the most from your work experience
Job search/recruitment sites for internships, placements and work experience
Are you in your first year?
Finding work experience and internships through creative job search
What about recruitment agencies?


Building experience can be as important as your degree result in securing a graduate job. This might come from an internship; part-time work while you study or volunteering in your spare time. Or all of these! However, making the most of your work experience is essential, and learning how to sell your experience is equally important. All work experience can be good and it is crucial that you keep developing your skills - there will be a place for all of them on your CV. Be creative - look at how you might gain experience in a particular sector. Volunteering and administrative roles could be ways in.

There is a range of ways to gain and build experience through your degree. Some programmes at Massey include specific internship courses, practicum, work placement or other work experience as a requirement for completion and offer help to their students on finding and securing these. Additionally, for students on these and other programmes the Career and Employment Service offers advice and information on how to find work experience.

Note that whilst many NZ employers offer internship opportunities, a significant proportion restrict applications for these to students in their second or penultimate year and others to recent graduates or to postgraduates. Coupled with this, many employers offering formal internship programmes recruit for these many months ahead of the programmes' start dates. If you are keen to secure a place on such a programme we recommend that you begin your search a considerable time ahead of the start date.

Internships 2 Useful sites to access when looking for NZ work experience of any type include the ones linked to later. In addition to using these sites, you should access the websites of any professional associations that exist in the fields within which you are keen to find work and should use the creative job search techniques outlined here.

Be aware that employers use a range of terms when offering work experience. Search these sites using terms that include internship; placement; practical work; vacation work; work experience and summer work.

Get the most from your work experience

  • Consider carefully what you will gain from such work experience in general, and from specific opportunities in particular. Weigh any potential long-term benefits against immediate financial and other personal implications
  • Make the most of any experience by making contacts, learning new (and developing existing) skills and knowledge, and by taking on responsibilities
  • Learn how to negotiate with employers to ensure you make the most of your work experience
  • Think about how you will articulate the skills, knowledge and experience you have gained or developed in future applications and interviews.

Contact us for information, advice and guidance on any of the above.

Job search/recruitment sites for internships, placements and work experience

Note that this list is not exhaustive, nor should a site’s inclusion be taken as an endorsement of it by Massey’s Career and Employment Service.

  • Massey CareerHub is the Career and Employment Service’s primary site for promoting job opportunities Login and select the ‘jobs; tab.  Then, under ‘type of work’ select the most appropriate categories for what you are seeking – e.g. internships; study-related vacation employment or voluntary work. 
  • Careers NZ – select the ‘Job vacancy and recruitment websites’ link.  Doing so should take you to a series of job search website links and links to recruitment agencies for New Zealand and overseas.
  • Seek
  • TradeMe Jobs
  • Be Employed Internship Programme - a specialist programme for individuals with access needs. See also the video here of a Massey student's experience of a paid internship that he found through this organisation.
  • Work and Income NZ – see their ‘Find a job’ resources
  • Summer of Tech – find out more about their annual internship programme
  • – this is an employment site for vacancies in New Zealand’s State Sector organisations 
  • AIESEC New Zealand - with a presence in over 110 countries and territories and with over 60,000 members, AIESEC is the world's largest youth-run organisation
  • TransitionsAbroad - offers a wealth of information on interning, studying and volunteering abroad
  • GoAbroad - access internship listings spanning the globe
  • Graduate Opportunities – search for work experience; internships and vacation work in NZ and Australia
  • Seasonal Work NZ - covering all areas of seasonal work
  • Jobseeker – this site indexes vacancy links across many websites and is a search engine for jobs
  • Career Jet – an job search engine
  • NZ Indeed – another job search engine
  • Jooble – another useful search engine
  • New Kiwis – this profiles job vacancies for refugees and migrants
  • Health Workforce New Zealand – for health-related careers information and vacancies
  • Kiwi Health Jobs – health vacancies
  • Local Government Careers – jobs in local government
  • Hospotrade - a hospitality and tourism industry website.

Are you in your first year?

It’s never too early to start preparing for your future career and there is a range of ways through which you can get valuable experience

  • Internships – although many of these will only be open to applicants in the second (or later) year of their studies, some can be applied for in your first year.  Commonly (in NZ) they run for up to three months over the summer vacation and some have closing dates months ahead of this.
  • Work experience – internships are more common in larger organisations but some employers can organise informal work experience or chances to shadow people while they work.
  • Part time work – this can be a great way to learn useful skills that you can use in a wide range of graduate careers.  Student Job Search can help you to find such work.
  • Volunteering – represents a great way to build confidence, experience and skills. For some career areas it is a particularly common route in – for example environmental work, psychology, international development, media and the work in the not-for-profit sector.
  • Vacation work – this may be an extended version of part time work for many people, but it's all good experience. Be creative. Look for admin/support roles with employers working in sectors you are interested in. You can get a great insight from these and make valuable contacts too!

Note that most students and graduates working in NZ are doing so in small-to-medium sized organisations (SMEs) though and that they tend to be more flexible and less structured if offering work experience.

Finally, some sectors may not offer structured internships or work experience and, as a result, you may need to try volunteering or speculative approaches to gain such experience.  For the latter you are likely to need to use search engines such as Index NZ; employer databases such as Vault; Glass Door and Finda and sector-specific job sites.

Additionally, see below for information on using creative job search techniques to find and make contact with potential employers that don’t offer internships.

Finding work experience and internships through creative job search

In NZ, a significant proportion of jobs are not openly advertised. Instead they are filled by people already known to the organisation. These people will have applied speculatively to the organisation and/or will have networked with it – on the ‘phone; in person or on-line. Given this, it’s important that you build and maintain a network of contacts, including people that you find through websites, social media, job advertisements and news articles.  Collectively, this is commonly referred to as creative job search.

Internships 3 Initially, you’ll network with contacts not to make a direct request for work but rather for information, advice or further contacts. Approaches are likely to be by email, followed up with a ‘phone call and ideally a face to face meeting. Remember that it is your responsibility to do the leg work and make it easy for them to talk to you. Prepare carefully and decide first what you want to know. Then script some questions to help you get started. In many cases, contacts will expect you to say a little (not too much) about yourself and then to send them your CV.  This should stress your relevant skills and attributes and any relevant experience that you have.

Note too that you can network online with people in the sector and career you ultimately want to enter. Joining LinkedIn or similar professional networks might help – particularly where you join and engage with relevant groups and follow organisations of interest to you.

Contacts can also be found by attending conferences, exhibitions, expos and seminars.Many of these are organised by professional associations, some of which offer student membership.What ones exist in professions that interest you? You can explore this on sites such as Index NZ and the ENZ list of NZ Professional Bodies Note that some professional associations have corporate members and these are often listed on the web sites of the associations concerned.  Such members may be worth submitting speculative applications to (see below), as would members of Chambers of Commerce in any geographical areas in which you are keen to work.

Coupled with networking, you should also consider submitting speculative applications to employers that interest you (unless they explicitly ask that you don’t). This should include a CV and cover letter and should show your interest in them and their work, your availability, the type of work experience that you seek and what you can offer them in terms of skills, attributes, experience and knowledge.  Speculative applications will have to be followed up by at least one ‘phone call.  Crucially though, you should resist the temptation to email out masses of generic CVs.  Instead, consider starting some dialogue with them (as above) before you send them your CV.  At the very least this will help you to ensure that you send it to the correct person!

Try to wait for them to ask you to send them your CV. Send your CV with a professional email and suggest a day you will follow up with them.  Then, to stand the best chance of success your CV and cover letter must be individual, demonstrate your knowledge of the organisation, and targeted to how you would meet the needs of that particular employer.

What about recruitment agencies?

Some employers use recruitment agencies to fill their vacant positions. The agency will screen people applying for jobs to ensure that the employer does not have to deal directly with (possibly) hundreds of emails or ‘phone calls or letters which can easily follow a job advertisement. When a position is filled the employer pays agency and there is generally no charge to job seekers using recruitment agencies.

Agencies are listed in the Yellow Pages phone book - look under Employment Agencies, Personnel Consultants, Industrial Consultants and Management Consultants.  Many specialise in particular roles; sectors and/or geographical areas so pick the ones most likely to handle the types of work and location that you seek.  Note too that they are most useful where have a clear idea of the sort of position that you are seeking. This helps the agency refer you to employers who would be most interested in your skills and qualifications. Be proactive, keep in touch and discuss your strategies and interviewing techniques with them. If you keep them informed of your progress they will take a personal interest in you.

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