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A guide to gaining an internship in mining

A guide to gaining an internship in mining

The path to a career in mining can be a fascinating one. If you’re at the first step of your career or progressing through your studies, you might already be thinking ahead to where you can gain some experience that will look favourable on your resumé come graduation time. The best internships help you bolster your resumé, provide valuable avenues to letters of recommendation, and can even convert into full-time jobs.

It goes without saying, but real-world experience is invaluable in the eyes of your future employers. Especially in an industry like mining where everything is hands-on, having this experience matters when you’re trying to get your foot in the door. After all, there’s only so much you can learn in a textbook or tutorial before you head out on-site. If you’re feeling ready to take this next step, we’ve put together some tips for you to approach getting your first mining internship.

Start with a resilient mindset

On the upside, most of Australia’s biggest mining and mining engineering companies offer internships. The downside: these are highly competitive placements. So things may or may not go your way the first time around, but don’t despair if they don’t. Like all careers, there will be many twists and turns, and the path you start from rarely determines where you end up. So no matter if you nail it the first time around or on the fifth, resilience is an important mindset to have in your career.

Cast the net wide

By all means, shortlist your favourite companies, but keep an open mind when it comes to where you apply. Your first opportunity might be the ‘golden’ one you’d dreamed about, or it might look a bit different – so long as you’re working within your chosen field, be confident that any experience gained during these early years of your career will be positive and valuable.

Put yourself out there

The saying ‘it’s not what you know but who you know’ has its merits. While your academic record is certainly important, staying involved and connecting with as many people in the industry as possible can open up new pathways to internships simply by leaving a good impression or being front of mind. So put yourself out there by joining industry associations, and attending networking events where you can meet with people in the industry and hear about their experiences. Openly share your eagerness to learn, and people will take notice.

Timing is everything

Many companies offer seasonal (typically summer and winter) intakes, while some will do year-round. So you’ll need to keep your ear to the ground for when these opportunities open up. Keep up to date on online job notice boards, LinkedIn, and the social channels of the companies on your radar. Identify their intakes, and be ready with everything you need to apply when they open.

You’re more than your grades

A strong academic record is always looked upon favourably, but when it comes to your CV and interviews, recruiters are looking for more than just good grades for interns – they’re looking for potential. Highlighting the soft skills and broad interests you have, as well as your life experiences, are all key pieces of the puzzle. You may not have real-world experience yet, but demonstrating a willingness to learn new skills and a strong work ethic are crucial elements that can get you over the line.

You might feel a little overwhelmed at first, especially if this is your first time finding real-world industry experience. But don’t be! Remember that everyone else is or has been in the same boat as you at some point. As long as you’ve got a positive and determined attitude, good things will come.

We wish you all the best in starting your career journey.

Macmahon is the contractor of choice for some of the world’s largest mining companies. Our mining internship program supports on-the-job training with work experience opportunities for students and interns to help prepare for entry into the workforce. Find out more here.