As postgrads, I know that you’re a pretty self-sufficient bunch. Point you in the right direction and you’re more than capable of getting to where you want to go.
That’s why I’ve created eighteen new
specifically targeted at postgraduates, now available on the Careers Service website*.
- They can be used throughout your postgraduate degree – from day 1 to graduation (and after).
- There are postgraduate-focused hints and tips on each page, with links to further resources if you want them.
- They also help you find the other sections of the Careers Service website which might be particularly useful for postgrads.
I’ve grouped them under five headings (more on why I’ve chosen these five in a future blog post):
Explore – expand your options and stretch yourself
- Explore your strengths and add to them – which skills are important and how you can add more
- Explore postgraduate career options in person – ways of finding and using contacts to uncover the wide range of jobs you could do as a postgrad
- Explore postgraduate career options online – the types of jobs Masters and PhDs do, plus why the UK graduate job market is different to many other countries, and what that means if you’re considering working outside the UK
- Find jobs for postgraduates which are not advertised – how to find a job using contacts, agencies, speculative approaches or “getting a foot in the door”
- Find academic jobs – getting noticed, finding ads and considering moving university, including academic jobs and career paths around the world
- Find adverts for PhD jobs outside academia – PhD entry-level programmes, PhD specialist jobs, experience hire posts, targeted job searches, and whether you should consider “graduate jobs”
- Find additional funding during your postgraduate degree – academic and research funding (mainly for current PhDs), employer or non-academic competitions (often targeting Masters) and a link to our resources for funding your next postgrad degree
Connect – build and get the best from your network
- Make the most of careers events as a postgraduate – why there are very few postgrad careers fairs, whether you should go to graduate careers fairs or events, and what you should ask if you do go
- Find potential career contacts – making the most of who you already know, finding mentors, using social media, and international networks and resources
- Network without hassling your contacts – the right approach to networking meetings, plus advanced suggestions to get the most out of meetings
Reflect – recognise your skills
Yeah I know, you’re just going to skip to the CV guide, aren’t you? But if you haven’t reflected, it’s odds on that all your hard work on making your CV look good will be wasted.
You get a real advantage in the job market if you can reflect effectively and tease out what’s important for an employer.
It’s about understanding the story you’ve got to tell, making sense of it to an employer, and pointing out why they should bother to listen to you. It’s the bit that’s missing when you send an untargeted application – and that’s the most common reason why people get rejected from jobs.
Communicate – get your message across to different audiences
- Influence others – advanced communication skills, including how to adapt your approach so others take note of you
- Communicate to non-academic audiences – improve your presentation, communication, interview and assessment skills, and put them into practice, inside and outside the university
- Communicate your research to academic audiences – improve your presentation skills and develop your “elevator pitch”
- Market your postgraduate degree to employers outside academia – what do employers think of postgraduates, work out what you’ve got to offer and what employers want, create a good first impression and how to deal with the thorny “overqualified” issue
- Write CVs and applications, as a postgraduate – slides, podcasts, handouts and web guides for all sorts of jobs, including academic, experienced hire, part-time and international jobs
- Get through interviews and assessment, as a postgraduate – slides, podcasts, handouts and web guides covering interviews (including case studies and interviews by Skype) and assessment centres, plus how interviews differ around the world
Persevere – learn from setbacks and keep going
- Recover from setbacks – postgrad study is never easy, so here are some tips on reflecting on your triumphs – and disasters, getting support from others, asking for feedback and persevering with networking
Let me know what you think of them, if there are any other topics you think would be generally useful for postgrads, and suggestions for improvements.
(*OK, these guides are new to our Careers Service postgraduate website, but if you’re a regular here, you may recognise chunks of some of them, craftily previewed on this blog!)
Careers Consultant (Postgraduate) at the University of Manchester, UK