Looking for an internship?
Omar describes 3 steps how he managed to secure an internship in chemistry / chemical engineering during COVID times.
I talk how I got my internship, what I did during my internship, and how the Royal Society of Chemistry could help you to get one too!
Finding a job or internship especially for a fresh graduate is not easy.
My name is Omar and I am a recent chemical engineering graduate from Aston University. I have been working for Stoli Chem for nearly half a year during the Covid times.
How I got my job
There are 3 points to it.
Number one, set you goal.
What are you looking for?
It is very important to identify what sort sector you want to get involved with.
Is it R&D, health and safety, design or coding?
It can be overwhelming where to start – so narrow it down and choose the best company that you think will aid in development of your skills to achieve your career goals!
For my case, I always wanted to get involved with process design and optimisation, so I had an idea on what I wanted to get involved with, which is research and development.
Number two – be interested in the topic.
My interest in catalysis grew after completing an industrial placement in Munich where I worked with a PhD student. I was involved in catalyst synthesis and tested them in a lab scale reactor.
The aim was to optimise the catalysts for propane to propene dehydrogenation, the 2nd largest most used raw material in the chemical industry. This has given me a sense of what I wanted to do in the future.
Number three is preparation.
This is a crucial step in landing a job, be prepared! I cannot emphasise this enough!
Make sure you have a tailored CV and Cover letter when you apply for the job. You must read the requirements and the job description carefully by addressing the questions.
For my particular application, one of the tricks to test whether I read the job description properly is to upload the CV and the Cover letter in a specific file name format – for those who didn’t bother, they were rejected straight away.
So after applying for Stoli – I received an interview invitation in the following week. I did some research on the company and I found out that the manager had several research publications.
So I went to go over the article with my catalysis lecturer for further clarification – this has helped me a lot to relate my reactor design dissertation to Stoli reactors in the sense of improved mass and heat transfer.
On the day of the interview, I made sure I looked smart and had the published paper with me.
We talked about my reactor design and how it was related to the published paper. Everything went smoothly and I got offered the job on the day.
To get a job, you must separate yourself from the crowd.
You need to be prepared, and you must show it! Read what the company does, come with a few ideas. Talk about your experience through relevant projects, modules or volunteering you have done. More importantly, show that you can learn and your enthusiasm.
Make sure you only apply for the jobs you are passionate about, because if it is not – the likelihood of getting the job is low. I would be selective and spend some time on each application. I have only applied for a few jobs properly, and on each one of them I spend about a day or two. The chances to get to the next stage is so much higher because the person who reads it, can clearly see the effort and time that you put in.
If you are not selected, don’t get disappointed – think where you could have gone wrong, learn from you mistakes, and continue – it might have been simply bad luck.
During the interview, be open and honest. It is ok not to know something.
You may mention the Royal Society of chemistry internship grant – the company may apply and hopefully they would be able to offer you an internship. My internship was partly funded by the Royal Society.
Make sure you utilise your time and get most out of it, if they see you are working hard and willing to improve – there are no reason they will let you go.
I hope my advices has helped you and good luck in finding your job!
Set your target industry or work, show your interest, and be prepared. Finally, do not give up!
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15-16 September 2021.
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