So you have arrived at The University of Manchester for your first year of an undergraduate degree, a 1 year postgraduate degree or returning after a Summer break, what do you do now. Well of course attend class and study but what else can you do while you are here that will improve your employability?
These are the things we will address in this post. You need to take the time to explore your surroundings and not just the bars and Students Union but the companies and the opportunities. Understand the area you live in and how you can take advantage of what Manchester has to offer. With over 200 languages spoken in this city indicating how culturally and creatively diverse the area is, what does this mean for you?
It means exploring, getting out of your comfort zone, joining societies & groups, finding work experience, traveling and meeting new people from all over the world. Ensure when an employer asks you how you made the most of your time at university you can discuss examples of the activities and experiences you had in addition to your studies.
Manchester is a great place to use your skills and knowledge to improve your employability. It is a very competitive market out there for graduate jobs and the earlier you think about your career and how to build your CV the better your chances of securing something before you finish. I see too many students struggling after graduation in a race to get the last few remaining graduate roles of that academic year and meeting disappointment, but how can you avoid this?
Get experience while you study! By experience I mean volunteering, a part time job, an internship or joining a society or club as an active member. Employers from around the globe value graduates who have worked and developed skills whilst at university. International students can work part-time up to 20 hours per week on their visa and UK/EU have no restrictions. The University of Manchester Careers Service advertise 100s of opportunities on CareersLink as well as employer led events, fairs and employability skills sessions. For more information see http://www.careers.manchester.ac.uk/careerslink/ as well as our website which has information to help you find an opportunity including a dedicated area for international students http://www.careers.manchester.ac.uk/international/
Your Network/ Connections
One of the most successful ways in achieving work experience as well as graduate opportunities is by building a network and connections. You can do this by attending the employer events and fairs at university, meeting alumni at social events, asking for business cards of professionals you meet (you ever know when they will be able to help you). Alumni have been where you are now and are a great font of knowledge. Throughout the year the Careers Service organise a “Meet the Professionals” Series across campus giving students an opportunity to meet alumni across various sectors including a dedicated “International Meet the Professionals” on the 1st Dec (see CareersLink)
“I am continuously bumping into people that I met or people who know of other contacts that I have met. I think having a global contact base is … exciting and it can be very useful…you never know when professional contacts can come in handy!” (Graduate)
Online professional networks for international students
There are a range of online networks to enable you to make contact with fellow international students and alumni now working around the world.
Careers Service LinkedIn networks
Our LinkedIn groups aim to connect students at the University with alumni and prospective recruiters and organisations in certain countries.
Manchester Gold Mentoring Programme is a fantastic opportunity for you to meet someone in an industry you are interested in, whether it is in the UK or overseas. They can give you invaluable insight into roles you may not have considered before. In addition to this the mentor can help you develop a job hunting plan, look at your CV and give you labour market knowledge. Most professionals today have a mentor in their business in a senior role that guides them through their career, get in there early and learn everything you can about your industry of interest. If you are an international student looking to go home, elsewhere or stay in the UK a mentor can be an invaluable resource for you. UK/EU students you can get insight into overseas markets becoming globally minded and more appealing to employers by increasing your global knowledge.
Societies, Clubs & Groups
By joining one of the above or working in groups on your course you are increasing your connections as well as building your skills and knowledge. Employers value graduates who can demonstrate a variety of skills and experiences. Some of these skills include communication, language, teamwork, initiative, numeracy and many more. To find out more about these skills and how to develop or improve them see our website for tips and advice. http://www.careers.manchester.ac.uk/experience/skills/
If you have questions or just want to talk to one of the Career Consultants about any of the following:
Exploring your career options and ideas.
Looking for part-time or vacation work.
Finding out about specific jobs and sectors.
Starting your own business.
Developing and improving skills employers look for.
Finding graduate jobs, internships or postgraduate study.
Applications and interviews.
Then come in to the Atrium, 1st floor, University Place on Oxford Road or ring to make an appointment 0161 275 2829, http://www.careers.manchester.ac.uk/