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Last updated:

April 7, 2022


Unlimited Duration


This course includes:

Unlimited Duration

Badge on Completion

Certificate of completion

Unlimited Duration


Are you looking to develop your career by undertaking an internship or other work experience opportunity?

Perhaps you are already doing one and would like support in getting the best out of it? You might even be further along in your career and looking for ways to gain the experience that will help you to change direction.

In the working world, it’s no secret that an internship can provide valuable experience, enhance your career development and increase your chances of securing the job you really want. But what actually is an internship? If it isn’t called an ‘internship’ does it have less credibility? Are all internships or work experiences going to give you the knowledge and skills that you need?

If you want to learn more about internships and the other work experience options available, and explore how you can obtain and maximise the right opportunities to support your chosen career, then this free course Internships and other work experiences will help you.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, you will notice that certain parts of this course, e.g. how to give a good handshake, are currently less applicable due to social distancing rules. You may also find Week 7, which focuses on virtual internships, more relevant to your plans than you expected. We haven’t removed anything from the course at this stage as it should all become relevant again when we are able to return to normality. We will review this decision as longer-term Government advice becomes clearer.

Enrolling on the course will give you the opportunity to earn an Open University digital badge. Badges are not accredited by The Open University but they're a great way to demonstrate your interest in the subject and commitment to your career, and to provide evidence of continuing professional development.

Once you are signed in, you can manage your digital badges online from My OpenLearn. In addition, you can download and print your OpenLearn statement of participation – which also displays your Open University badge.

The Open University would really appreciate a few minutes of your time to tell us about yourself and your expectations for the course before you begin, in our start-of-course survey . Once you complete the course we would also value your feedback and suggestions for future improvement, in our end-of-course survey . Participation will be completely confidential and we will not pass on your details to others.

This course is endorsed by the CPD Standards Office  .  It can be used to provide evidence of continuing professional development but is not accredited learning. We are unable to provide formal learner verification services for participation in our open online courses, which are provided freely by The Open University as self-directed CPD.

Anyone wishing to provide evidence of their enrolment on this course is able to do so by sharing their Activity Record on their OpenLearn Profile, which is available before completion of the course and earning of the Statement of Participation.

Earn this free Open University digital badge if you complete this course! The badge can be displayed, shared and downloaded as a marker of your achievement. The badge is awarded for completing the course and passing the quizzes.

Course learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • Describe and identify different types of internship or other work experience opportunity
  • Reflect on existing skills and attributes and recognise how building on them through an internship or other work experience can bring value
  • Build an effective personal brand to use on social media and throughout the job application process
  • Identify strategies for maximising the chance of success, both during an internship or other work experience, and beyond
  • Define personal goals for undertaking an internship or other work experience, and produce a set of actions to support the achievement of these goals.

Course Curriculum

    • Introduction 00:20:00
    • What is an internship? 00:10:00
    • What’s the difference between work experience and an internship? 00:20:00
    • A typical internship structure 00:10:00
    • How long is an internship? 00:10:00
    • The employer perspective 00:15:00
    • What other work experiences are there? 00:10:00
    • Volunteering 00:10:00
    • Insight into the world of work 00:15:00
    • Development opportunities whilst in employment 00:20:00
    • Reviewing my own work experiences 00:15:00
    • What I hope to gain from this course 00:15:00
    • Summary of Week 1 00:10:00
    • References 00:10:00
    • Acknowledgements 00:15:00
    • Week 1 practice quiz 00:10:00
    • Introduction 00:15:00
    • Work experience works – the evidence 00:20:00
    • Identifying the skills gaps in my sector 00:10:00
    • Skills employers are looking for 00:10:00
    • Adaptability/flexibility 00:10:00
    • Time management skills 00:10:00
    • Teamwork 00:15:00
    • Communication 00:10:00
    • Emotional intelligence 00:15:00
    • Identifying other important skills 00:10:00
    • Building my self-awareness 00:15:00
    • Seven pillars of insight 00:15:00
    • Building self-confidence 00:15:00
    • Building contacts 00:10:00
    • Why networking works 00:10:00
    • Summary of Week 2 00:10:00
    • Acknowledgements 00:15:00
    • Introduction 00:10:00
    • Knowing my rights 00:05:00
    • What to expect from my employer 00:10:00
    • What my employer will expect from me 00:10:00
    • What do I want to gain? 00:10:00
    • Developing skills and attributes 00:10:00
    • Building knowledge, experience and contacts 00:15:00
    • What else? 00:05:00
    • Practical considerations 00:15:00
    • Decision making 00:15:00
    • Decision matrix analysis 00:15:00
    • Career decision-making style 00:15:00
    • Summary of Week 3 00:10:00
    • Acknowledgements 00:15:00
    • Introduction 00:10:00
    • Finding advertised vacancies 00:15:00
    • Finding hidden vacancies 00:15:00
    • Building my profile on social media 00:15:00
    • Promoting myself on LinkedIn 00:10:00
    • Tidying my digital footprint 00:15:00
    • Presenting myself in writing 00:10:00
    • Making my application stand out 00:15:00
    • What to include in a covering letter 00:15:00
    • Benefits of a skills-based CV 00:10:00
    • Summary of Week 4 00:10:00
    • Acknowledgements 00:15:00
    • Introduction 00:10:00
    • Creating a good first impression 00:10:00
    • Shaking hands 00:15:00
    • Dressing appropriately 00:10:00
    • Body language 00:10:00
    • Good first impression checklist 00:10:00
    • Typical interview questions 00:10:00
    • Competency-based questions 00:10:00
    • Strengths-based questions 00:15:00
    • Video interviews 00:20:00
    • Networking with potential employers 00:15:00
    • Elevator pitch 00:15:00
    • Summary of Week 5 00:15:00
    • Acknowledgements 00:15:00
    • Introduction 00:15:00
    • Goal setting for my internship or other work experience 00:15:00
    • Taking on additional responsibilities 00:15:00
    • Showing initiative 00:15:00
    • Networking in the workplace 00:15:00
    • Starting a work experience journal 00:20:00
    • Making the most of a mentor 00:20:00
    • Summary of Week 6 00:10:00
    • Acknowledgements 00:15:00
    • Introduction 00:15:00
    • What is a virtual internship? 00:10:00
    • Different types of virtual internship 00:15:00
    • The pros of a virtual internship 00:15:00
    • The cons of a virtual internship 00:10:00
    • Would working remotely suit me? 00:15:00
    • Distance working – how to do it well 00:15:00
    • Communication 00:15:00
    • How to build relationships from a distance 00:10:00
    • Informal communication 00:10:00
    • Professional communication 00:15:00
    • Promoting my virtual work experience to future employers 00:10:00
    • Summary of Week 7 00:10:00
    • Acknowledgements 00:15:00
    • Introduction 00:15:00
    • Reflecting on the course 00:10:00
    • My next steps 00:15:00
    • Personal resilience 00:15:00
    • Making the most from my internship or other work experience 00:10:00
    • Tip 1: look back at your journal 00:15:00
    • Tip 2: use your network of contacts 00:10:00
    • Tip 3: maximise your new skills and knowledge in future applications 00:10:00
    • Summary of Week 8 00:10:00
    • Acknowledgements 00:15:00

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