Self-matching with Keele Internships

Self-matching is all about giving you the opportunity to find your own internship.

With up £1,531 of funding available, you should be able to open a few doors.

Benefits of doing an internship and getting some work experience

A degree is vital in securing your ideal graduate job, but work experience is also critically important. ‘Over half of recruiters reported that candidates who have no previous work experience have little or no chance of receiving a job offer’.  High Flyers 2014

Graduate Employers will seek evidence of:

  • Work experience, in particular the learning and personal development gained from the experience/s.
  • Transferable skills developed and applied in the workplace (in addition to those developed through academic study), for example communication, oral presentation, team work and leadership.
  • Ability to transfer skills and knowledge to new situations.

In addition, work experience is essential in order to enable you to make informed career decisions through exposure to different areas of employment.  Equally, work experience in an area related to that to which you later apply is invaluable in order to convince employers of your motivation.

This offer is open to all Keele students and Keele graduates. Funding subject to company eligibility, approval and availability.

Step 1: Understand how this works

The Self Matching Internships offer has been set up to help you find your own internship - the Keele Internships team work with employers in the Keele/Staffordshire area, but we recognise that you may prefer to work somewhere else in the UK, perhaps nearer to home, or with a company that can offer you a specific type of internship that more closely matches your career interest.  

You can use a funding incentive to speculatively apply to companies - this internship funding offer is only open to small and medium sized organisations (otherwise known as an SME).  See below for eligibility criteria.

How much is the internship funding?

The Keele/Santander contribution is £4.37 per hour.  The company will need to pay you at least £8.75 per hour. The maximum funding we can allocate any company is £1,531 for 350 hours. Companies will be paid at the end of the agreed internship, upon invoice to Keele University.  You will need to connect us with your company and we will confirm all these details with them.

How long can the internship be?

Any length from 4 weeks full time to 10 weeks full time can be part funded by Keele/Santander.  The funding contribution is calculated in hours - the min we can part fund is 140 hours (equivalent of 4 weeks' full time) and the max is 350 hours (10 weeks's full time) - Any length between 140 and 350 hours is fine too.  If you and your company agree, then the hours can be worked on a part time basis.

Why work for an SME?

In the UK 99.9% of private sector companies are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), employing over 16 million people. Working in a small business provides the opportunity to get your ideas heard and to get hands-on experience quickly. Some benefits that people say about working for an SME are:

  • variety in day-to-day work as well as a varied working environment
  • early responsibility and autonomy, and possibly a higher profile within the business
  • opportunities to make a real contribution to the business
  • more contact with senior members of the company
  • greater likelihood of getting to know everybody, staff and clients
  • opportunities for career advancement in expanding companies

Company (SME) Eligibility

Business must be registered and based in the UK, with an annual turnover of under £50 million and under 250 employees.   Eligible organisations include companies, sole traders, partnerships and charities.  If you are unsure about eligibility, contact the Internships team.

Step 2: Find an employer – start researching!

We suggest that you use Keele Careers Online to help you find some suitable companies, but you should also use your network of family, friends, colleagues, university tutors and previous employers to see what might be on offer.  They may know of an opportunity or could at least give you the contact details for someone at the company.

Useful links from Keele Careers Online:

Researching employers

Hunting for jobs

Industry Reports




Step 3: Prepare your speculative application using this template

You will need:

  • A professional looking CV
  • A speculative cover letter - you may wish to use this template
  • The Self-Matching Flyer which explains the funding offer to the company - you can download and attach this to your application

If you would like Keele Careers to review your CV and/or cover letter you can Book yourself an appointment

How should you write to companies?  

  • Email - this is probably the most usual way to approach companies, but you will need to ensure that you have the correct email address for the person responsible for recruitment
  • Traditional post - this can make a great impact in a world that is increasingly digital

Other tips for writing speculative cover letters:

  • Always try to write to a named person (you may need to call the company to find out who this is)
  • Explain the reason for the contact
  • Be clear about what kind of experience you are looking for and your availability
  • Explain why you are interested in the organisation or sector
  • Show how you would connect/fit in
  • Demonstrate an understanding of what skills and knowledge they may require and provide examples from your education and/or experience
  • Finish with a call to action - how and where you can be contacted

Useful resources from Keele Careers Online:

Speculative applications

How to send a cold email to a hiring manager

Making a speculative application

Step 4: Prepare for the interview

Once you have been offered an interview, it is vital to do some preparation

If you wish to get some face to face advice from Keele Careers and Employability, you can book yourself an appointment here

There are plenty of resources on Keele Careers Online:

Step 5: Connect us with your company

Before you start your internship, it is essential that you connect us with your proposed internship company (and indeed, the company may wish to contact us at any stage so that they can understand the funding)

We will not be able to guarantee any company funding unless you and your company have had approval from us before you start.

Please ask your company to contact us at


Internship funding is kindly provided by Santander Universities

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