Search and apply for experiences related to potential career paths including internships, research, volunteering, shadowing or other work experiences. Work/employment experience can be short term, long term or part-time and could be paid or unpaid. It includes internships, volunteering, part-time/week-end jobs and all provide an opportunity to develop knowledge, skills and experience. In an increasingly competitive work environment, having employment experience can demonstrate to employers that you are ready for work.
Benefits of getting work experience
- Getting work experience during your degree is useful as it will value to your CV, showing employers that you have experienced life outside of study and that you have initiative and general employability skills.
- It can show potential employers your knowledge, suitability for and commitment to a particular career area.
- Relevant work experience can help you gain an edge in employers' eyes in a very competitive jobs market.
- Some Internship programmes in larger companies are used as part of the graduate recruitment selection process, where employers recruit from the group of participants on their internship schemes.
- Opportunity to develop and learn new skills, evaluate the skills you have and identify those you need to develop further.
- Opportunity to try out and learn about the jobs and industries that interest you. Experience is a great teacher and work experience provides a good opportunity to test out a job / industry / sector and really see if it suits you. Some post-graduate courses leading to careers in social work, psychology and counselling, for example, expect applicants to have prior experience (such as volunteer work) in that area.
These are structured work experience programmes where students/recent graduates receive supervised, practical experience in a career-related area. Some features of internships include:
- Fixed time period.
- Training is provided.
- Project Work may be involved – student may be responsible for a completing particular project
- Usually advertised between October and March – closing dates can be early in the academic year.
- Students from ALL disciplines are invited to apply e.g. Arts & Science students can often apply for business internships.
- Competition for places is tough but remember that an estimated third of graduate vacancies are filled by applicants who have already worked for their employer as an undergraduate.
- Some MU courses have an integrated placement as part of the programme.
Volunteering is a useful was of gaining experience in an area that interests you. The benefits include:
- Giving your time to helping others can be a source of personal satisfaction.
- You can get an insight into career areas of interest to you, allowing you to see what is involved in day to day work. It can help you to assess how the career matches your interests, skills and aptitudes.
- Gain valuable experience to strengthen your CV - experience can enhance your job or postgraduate course application.
- Opportunity to build your network in your chosen career area.
It is estimated that around 70% of students work at some stage during their studies. While part-time jobs help to pay your way through University, they can also provide useful learning opportunities and insights into roles and industries. Part-time work experience can provide potential employers with evidence of skills such as teamwork, organisational skills, business awareness, working under pressure, dealing with people and balancing the demands of work and study.
Where to look
There are many ways to look for experience including Careers Connect, GradIreland, LinkedIn, recruiting events, networking opportunities, and asking your professional connections. Leverage several methods for finding experience. Some examples are below.
- Use the MU Careers Connect portal to find opportunities of interest to you.
- Other MU-related opportunities:
- Academic Placement (Internship): Placement is an integral and accredited module for certain degrees, however other degrees (within School of Business or School of Law & Criminology) may opt in to a 9-12-month opportunity. For the full list of degrees with compulsory/optional work placements/internship please see here.
Summer Programme for Undergraduate Research: This is a 6 week summer research internship open to pre-final year undergraduate students at MU.
Micro Internships: These are 20 - 100-hour paid professional projects that can be completed alongside your studies.
Virtual Work Experience: Forage is Maynooth University’s virtual work experience platform that offers opportunities across a variety of sectors. They typically take 4 - 8 hours to complete and are great if you are interested in getting insight into a particular sector/role.
Volunteering: volunteering is a great way of giving back to your local community and wider society while at the same time developing important skills that will serve you throughout your time here in Maynooth and beyond. There are lots of ways to get involved with volunteering at MU - for example, becoming a Student Ambassador or through MU Clubs & Societies.
- Many of the employers featured in the gradireland directory (available free from the Careers Service) and profiled on gradireland.com annually recruit for summer positions.
- Volunteering in Ireland
- Studentvolunteer.ie is a network of Irish higher education institutions that have come together to create an online resource to connect students and community groups, charities, schools, hospitals, public bodies and NGOs across Ireland. There are also some International volunteering opportunities advertised.
- Kildare Volunteer Bureau who have a relationship with Maynooth University and an information stand on campus once a month during term
- Volunteer Centre database of both residential and non-residential voluntary work opportunities in Ireland
- Activelink works with non-profit organisations. Links to directory of Irish non-profit organisations, job opportunities and volunteering.
- Citizens Information: the national support agency responsible for providing information, advice and advocacy to the public on social services has a database of national voluntary organisations including those involved in providing services as well as those involved in campaigning.
- Comhlamh: information and advice for making a decision about volunteering overseas for global development. Search the Volunteering Options database for volunteering opportunities.
- Irish Refugee Council: Irish Refugee Council need volunteers to work with them in Ireland from time to time.
- Simon Community Ireland
- Simon Community Dublin
- Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children
- Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: volunteers needed to work with them in Ireland from time to time.
- Focus Ireland: society to advance the rights of homeless people
- Dochas: Irish Association of Non-Governmental Development Organisations
- Barnardos: With more than 40 community based centres, national services, and links with partner organizations, Barnardos delivers programmes to help children and their families
- Trocaire has mainly volunteering opportunities for fundraising campaigns in Ireland. AlsoSummer volunteering opportunities in Africa – usually advertised from February to March each year.
- Goal: opportunities mainly confined to fundraising opportunities in Ireland.
- Concern: opportunities mainly confined to fundraising events in Ireland.
- Volunteering Abroad
- Experience Abroad
- Irish Aid
- Comhlamh: Information and advice for making a decision about volunteering overseas for global development. Search the Volunteering Options database for volunteering opportunities.
- UNESCO Voluntary Internships
- Action Without Borders has a database of international volunteer opportunities as well as links to other organisations promoting global volunteering.
- Voluntary Services International
- Raleigh is a youth education charity which inspires people of all ages, backgrounds and nationalities to reach their full potential by working on challenging environmental and community projects overseas.
- Suas: a movement dedicated to supporting high quality education in targeted under-resourced communities, with programmes in India, Ireland and Kenya.
- Volunteers for Peace: A US based organisation. Contains links to other voluntary organisations world-wide including Ireland.
- Voluntary Services Overseas: international development charity.
- Volunteering opportunities
- AFS is an international community-based volunteer organisations.
- Bunac: work/travel/teach/volunteer opportunities in USA, Canada, Australia.
- USIT: volunteer programmes in Africa, Asia, Latin America
- Projects Abroad: global organiser of overseas volunteer work placements.
- Habitat Ireland: we send volunteers overseas to build houses in partnership with local communities and families.
- Remote volunteering ideas
Finding a job is a process that takes a lot of work. In fact the more work you put into the process the easier your job search could be.
Each year Maynooth University Careers Service works closely with many employers seeking to recruit Maynooth University students and graduates. Find out about all the opportunities open to you and get advice to how to be make a winning application in our Find Jobs section, where we have provided information and useful links to help at every stage throughout this process.
Postgraduate study or Graduate study is any course you do following your undergraduate (level 8) degree. It can take a lot of work to do a good postgraduate application so we’re here to help. Find out more about where to find courses, how to apply, entry requirements, funding and study abroad on our Postgraduate Study page.
Whether you are looking for graduate jobs, interested in getting relevant experience before your apply, thinking about applying for further study or keeping several options open, our Careers Advisers are available to meet with you and answer your questions.