National Graduate Week 2021: 5 Steps to Graduate Success

Written by Samantha Oates-Miller, Careers Insights and Graduate Support Assistant at the Careers Service

In honour of National Graduate Week 2021, the Careers Service will be highlighting all the support and resources available to graduates on our social media channels throughout the week.

As a graduate from The University of Manchester, you can continue to access the Careers Service for up to two years after you finish your course.

Every day from Monday, 18 to Friday, 22 October 2021, we will be focussing on individual steps you can take to achieve graduate success, whatever they means for you.  Have a look at our guide below, and stay tuned across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram all week for posts with tips, resources and advice on all things graduate careers!

Day 1: Monday, 18 October

Step 1: Reflect

Action: Figure out what is right for you

Graduate success looks different for everyone.  Whether you know exactly what you want to do, or don’t have a clue, the Careers Service can support you. Spend today reflecting on where you are now, and where you want to be. If this is too overwhelming, focus on the next 1-2 years.

Start by thinking about your skills (there is an Employability Audit on our Transferable Skills pages to help). Then explore different industries on our Which Career? pages.

If you’re not sure, have a look at our I Don’t Know What I Want To Do pages, take the Prospects Career Planner questionnaire, or book a careers guidance meeting with a Careers Consultant to help you start thinking about your options. 

Day 2: Tuesday, 19 October 2021

Step 2: Connect

Action: Reach out to alumni

The University of Manchester has an alumni community of over 500,000 graduates. Connecting with alumni can help you gain valuable insights into different jobs, organisations, and companies. Alumni from your course can also introduce you to the range of career options open to you. 

You can find out more about building your network, building an effective LinkedIn profile, and connecting with alumni on the Careers Service website.  To get started, come along to our Meet the Professionals alumni panels. Meet the Professionals: Graduate Schemes takes place today (Tuesday, 19 October 2021), 5.30 – 7pm (UK time).  Register for your place now.

You can also have a look at our Graduate Careers Stories for inspiration and reassurance, and our Graduate: Day in the Life series to help you consider different career paths. You can hear more from the graduate perspective on the Careers Service blog.

Day 3: Wednesday, 20 October 2021

Step 3: Explore

Action: Look for opportunities

Sometimes the most difficult thing is knowing where to look for graduate opportunities. There are lots of graduate job portals online. It can be a good idea to set up vacancy alerts on key websites so you receive an email notification of vacancies you may be interested in.

The first place you look should be CareerConnect, where you can search for opportunities covering a range of sectors and locations. Over on our website, we have a list of over 200 graduate job search websites by sector. You can also check out our list of useful websites for your UK graduate job search, as well as useful international job search portals.

Day 4: Thursday, 21 October 2021

Step 4: Apply

Action: Get application ready

When you start to apply for jobs, chances are you will be required to submit a CV, cover letter, application form, or a mixture of all three! These can be daunting, but we have loads of support and resources to help you every step of the way.

Have a look at our CV, Cover Letter and Application Form pages for useful advice, templates, and examples. Follow our CareerConnect pathways to structure and tailor your applications. You can use CareerSet to get instant, personalised feedback on your CV and Cover Letters 24/7, 365 days a year.

Application forms can be particularly tricky, so check out our 7 most common application form mistakes and how to avoid them. For one-to-one feedback, book a 20-minute application advice appointment.

We also regularly run online workshops to help you get application ready, such as our interactive bitesize sessions on Cover Letters and CVs, both on Monday, 25 October 2021.

Day 5: Friday, 22 October 2021

Step 5: Interviews and Assessments

Action: Prepare for interviews and assessments

Interviews can be nerve-wracking. Let us help. Visit our Interview pages to find out more about how to prepare for different interview formats, read our blog article about the most common interview mistakes (and most common interview questions!), or practice video interviews on Shortlist.Me. You can also book a 30-minute interview practice session with one of our Careers Consultants on CareerConnect.  

For psychometric tests and assessment centres, check out our online support and resources to help you practice and prepare. Register for our Mock Virtual Assessment Centre on Wednesday, 27 October (1.15-3.30pm UK time) to have the chance to practice and get live feedback.

If you’re a Master’s or PhD student or graduate, register for our live Q&As to learn more about the basics principles of interviews and assessment centres, and how to effectively prepare for success:

Don’t forget that we will be sharing more advice and resources for each step on our social media channels all week! Look out for posts each day to get more information and support. Remember, whatever step you are on, the Careers Service can help you achieve graduate success!

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