Written by Noeleen Hammond Jones, International Careers Consultant at the Careers Service.
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 summer, what do you do now? Well, of course you’ll attend class and study, but what else can you do while you are here that will improve your employability?
Take time to explore your surroundings and not just the bars and Students Union but the companies and the opportunities as well – . 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, travelling 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 have 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. 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. If you want more information read my blog post on Job Search FAQ. Employers from around the globe value the ability to balance working alongside your studies. International students can work part-time up to 20 hours per week on their visa. The Careers Service advertise hundreds of opportunities on CareersLink as well as employer led events, fairs and employability skills sessions. For more information see CareersLink as well as our Careers Service website which has information to help you find an opportunity including a dedicated area for international students
Your Network/ Connections
One of the best ways to gain work experience and graduate opportunities is by making connections and building a network. 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 never know when they will be able to help you). Alumni have been where you are now and are willing to share their advice and knowledge with you. 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” (see CareersLink).
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.
For example, our LinkedIn groups aim to connect students at the University with alumni and prospective recruiters and organisations in certain countries.
Our Facebook Group is a great way of meeting other International Students and seeing what the latest jobs and events are.
The Manchester Network
The Manchester Network is The University of Manchester’s online professional networking service. It lets students, and alumni alike, connect with professional alumni. Unlike other networking sites, the Manchester Network is purely for students and alumni of the University. You share the common experience of studying at the same institution and you can be assured that the people offering advice have specifically volunteered to do so.
As a student of The University of Manchester, you have exclusive access to our alumni portal – The Manchester Network.
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 them see our website.
If you have questions or just want to talk to one of the Careers Consultants about any queries you have then come in to The Atrium, First Floor, University Place on Oxford Road or call us on 0161 275 2829 to make an appointment. Good Luck!