Student working in the lab
Gene Function research, Oxford
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Skills and work experience

An Oxford education provides a fantastic platform for the future. To ensure that you stand out in an ever more competitive graduate job market, the University’s Careers Service provides you with the opportunity to boost your CV, gain practical experience, meet employers and find out about vacancies on offer.

Finding your perfect job

CareerConnect lists hundreds of vacancies for volunteering, work experience, internships and graduate opportunities. You can complete your profile to receive targeted emails about jobs, events and employers. Many Oxford students undertake short-term work experience placements during their long vacations to try out different careers and gain valuable skills and experience.

Summer placements

You can also undertake short-term work experience placements during your long vacations to try out different careers, while gaining valuable skills and experience. Oxford Student Consultancy provides employability skills training and work-based experiences, along with free and professional consultancy services to local businesses, charities and community organisations.

International internships

The Oxford University International Internship Programme provides summer work opportunities and experiences: from publishing in Vancouver, teaching in China and exploring Alabama, to fast-moving entrepreneurial environments in India.

Micro-internship programme

The Careers Service Internship Office teams up with organizations across Oxfordshire and in London to offer convenient, short-term voluntary work placements for current students at the end of the Michaelmas term. Micro-internships are good opportunities to add valuable experience to your CV, and to gain a concise insight into a particular sector or type of organisation. If you are considering pursuing a career in a certain sector, a micro-internship is a great way of helping you to decide if you might like to pursue it further. The length and timing of the placements also makes it easy to fit them around a busy schedule.

To learn more about this exciting programme, and for instructions on how to apply, visit the Careers Service website.

Enterprise and entrepreneurship

Enterprising Oxford is a website that includes a wide range of support for students wishing to develop their enterprise and entrepreneurial skills. The site includes information, a calendar of events, entrepreneur profiles and a weekly newsletter. There are resources to help you to develop and find support and funding for a business idea and meet like-minded people, as well as develop skills that will be important whether you want to work in a big company or start your own.

Paid work experience

  • Undergraduate students: Term-time employment is not permitted except under exceptional circumstances and in consultation with your tutor and senior tutor. During vacations you will be required to complete academic work and this should take priority over other commitments. However, the Careers Service can help you to find work experience placements during the vacations, with the agreement of your tutor.
  • Graduate students: If you do decide to undertake a limited amount of paid work during your studies, whether as part of your academic development or to help to support yourself financially, you must observe the University's paid work guidelines and ensure that any paid work undertaken does not adversely affect your studies or ability to complete your course on time.
  • International students: If you are studying at Oxford under the terms of a visa, refer to visa and immigration for information regarding working in the UK.

Within the paid work guidelines, the following may be possible:

  • Teaching opportunities: departments and colleges are sometimes able to offer teaching work.
  • Demonstratorships - in the experimental sciences, graduate students can sometimes work as a demonstrator in practical classes.
  • Research Assistantships - these are available from some departments and faculties.
  • Junior Deans – Advertised by colleges, these positions involve providing pastoral care to other students and being on-call day and night several times a week. Junior Deans normally receive free college accommodation, free meals and a modest annual stipend.

Other employment options include:

  • Ad-hoc work can sometimes be found by advertising your skills locally as a tutor, translator or proof-reader.
  • Part-time or seasonal work supporting the running of the University and colleges - for example, invigilating examinations, administrative work, or working in a library.
  • You can often find part-time and temporary vacancies in Oxford on the Jobs and Vacancies page, the Career Service’s online resource, CareerConnect, Daily Info and the Oxford Times.

Other possibilities

If you have recent work experience, it may be worth contacting one of your past or present employers to find out whether they are able to offer you some support. You could also consider approaching a potential employer of the future. Investigate companies or organisations working in your research area, particularly those with corporate social responsibility aims and target them. Think creatively and strategically about other bodies you may be able to proactively approach for funding. They might not necessarily advertise scholarships or bursaries, but could you make a convincing case for them to support you? Are there any foundations in your local or home community that would be willing to support you?

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