How to get that dream summer internship, according to a senior manager in the city

We interviewed an industry insider to help you get ahead of the pack

The deadline for many of the most competitive summer internships is now fast approaching.

With the growing challenge of landing a graduate job, the experience gained over those few months can send your application to the top of the pile.

We interviewed a senior manager at a bank in the city to find out the best ways to get that perfect summer internship. 


Research the industry

Before you start scrolling through Indeed and LinkedIn “put a bit of time into researching the industry and the places you want to apply to.”

There are thousands of jobs and career paths out there, so make sure that you explore your options rather than acting on what you think you want to do.



After you’ve decided what types of jobs you want to apply for, start to write your CV and cover letter.

Our expert told us: “When writing your CV make sure to not put too much on it – it’ll just be scanned quickly – the headings, and some of the grades.”

“The gold standard on a CV is work experience.”

They also cite one decision made where a candidate had better grades overall at one of the best universities, and another had worked at a fast food chain for the whole of their time at university. 

“That told us she was turning up on time, doing a job and they weren’t firing her. As far as we were concerned that proved much more than the flashier university.”



According to the Senior Manager: “Voluntary work says a lot about you – and it is great to have an ethical slant – and to find your cause.” This can be something charitable that really “talks to your character”.

They explain: “There will always be someone more qualified than you, with better results,” but that may be to your advantage as “companies tend to look more holistically now” and “it is easier to make mistakes when hiring on just qualifications.”

For those without experience now and wanting a good chance, our expert advises you to volunteer: “Just start now, and do as much as you can do.”



Apparently, being proficient in Microsoft Office can be very valuable, especially in the financial sector.

Our expert tells us: “The whole city runs on Excel – a qualification that can look really good to employers.”

These courses are offered both online and at centres around the country, with a Microsoft Office Specialist exam priced at around £150.



Lots of competitive internships will have an in-person interview phase, where you will meet either the hiring manager or members of their team.

According to our insider: “The hiring manager is the one who makes the decision to recruit you – they are looking for the person who blends in well with the team, and who with minimal hand holding will get on with the job.”

You also don’t need to worry about getting everything right. Our expert explains: “It’s okay to say you don’t know something in the interview, some interviewers just want to see how you react under pressure. They know that interns will need training – you won’t know everything.”

And, crucially: “Keep your interview answers short” and “don’t put on a front” – managers really just want someone who can work well in a team.

Finally, it is important to “remember that the interview is a two-way street, you need to see if you can put up with them.”

You may desperately want this internship, but it is so important to work in a good environment where you feel valued.

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