Written by Titus Kuhora, MSc Operations, Supply Chain and Project Management, 2020
We talked to a recent graduate about their experiences of finding a graduate job, and their top tips for current students.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Titus Kuhora, and I am from Nairobi, Kenya. I am a recent graduate from The University of Manchester, where I studied MSc Operations, Supply Chain and Project Management.
What are you doing now?
I now work for Hermes Parcelnet in the UK.
What skills have helped you with your job search?
During my degree, I tried to make the most of what Manchester had to offer. I was part of the University athletics team, the East African society and Alliance Business School Society. I also had three part time jobs; I worked as a Student Ambassador for the Business School and for the International Department and I also worked as a Customer Service Assistant for a UK-based jewellery company. I was able to maintain a stable work-study balance as I had a strict revision schedule and ensured that I completed all the work given in class.
I really enjoyed the high expectations from my fellow classmates and lecturers in lectures and workshops. This helped me to push myself and produce high quality academic work on a consistent basis. When lecturers have worked with the biggest companies in the world, the level of quality is reflected in the critical thought that they expect from their students.
The University and my lecturers did a great job notifying and educating my fellow classmates and I about employment opportunities in the sector. As I began looking for jobs in the UK, I believed in my skills and knowledge, as a result of my classes, which pushed me to look for the best companies to work with.
Did you use the Careers Service during your job search?
I supplemented the job searches with the University’s mentoring service. I knew that I wanted to get into the logistics and supply chain industry. Therefore, having access to University of Manchester Alumni who have become Directors of some of the biggest logistics companies in the world, such as DHL, really helped me understand the skills and attributes that companies in the industry look for not only in the UK, but also around the world.
Once I knew what was expected in the market, I began to construct my CV and cover letter. Admittedly, at the start I was not successful with my applications, as I never knew what the HR personnel looked for e.g. one page cover letters. However once I started using the Alliance Business School Careers Service, I began to get more interviews and assessment centres. They have multiple weekly consultation slots, networking events and mock interview sessions.
How did the pandemic impact your search?
As COVID-19 hit, I was surprised how quickly the Careers Service moved online to provide support for students. Before my interview, I was able to schedule four online mock interviews with a Careers Service Consultant, which gave me crucial practice, feedback and support as I prepared for the interview. Without this support, I am certain that I would not have done as well in the interview and consequently not attained the job at Hermes.
What advice would you give to current students?
I would advise any new student to use the Careers Service as soon as they join the University. Having a support system such as the Careers Service even if you get rejections, will help you recognise what you could have done better with your application, and prepare for upcoming interviews.
My top five tips to get a graduate job in the UK are:
- Resilience: You may not get all the jobs you apply for, but that is fine. Believe in your course and your own knowledge.
- Confidence: People have gotten jobs in big companies before. If a certain company is your goal then go for it. You deserve to be successful and you can do it. Especially for international students, you can get a job in the UK- it is possible.
- Passion: Be passionate about the company you are applying for. The worst time for my applications was when I sent out applications like a manufacturing plant! Prioritise companies you are passionate about and put in the work to make your application meet their needs.
- LinkedIn: If you have an upcoming interview or are passionate about the company, connect with recent graduates or people who are working for the company and ask them questions about the role. Find and connect with them on LinkedIn.
- Think in the now: Utilise the university experience you have now. Improve your skills, meet new people and join a society you are interested in. You will develop skills that will be valuable in the workplace.
Don’t forget: Look on the Careers Service website for advice, information and support. Graduates also have access to the Careers Service for two years after finishing their course. Remember to look on CareerConnect for upcoming opportunities and events too, and to book guidance appointments with our dedicated Careers Consultants.