Graduand stories: lessons learned and life post-University

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

Congratulations to everyone who is graduating from 2020 and 2021. We are so proud of all your achievements and hope you enjoy celebrating your successes with friends, family and staff. We caught up with five of our 2021 graduates to find out what they are doing now that they have finished their degrees.

Read on to find out more about their stories, as they share lessons learned from their University experience, top tips for landing your first graduate job, and much more.

Hannah

Hannah is graduating this December with an MRes in Psychology. She has landed a job within the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health at The University of Manchester, supporting Postgraduate Research students during their programmes and assisting the wider admissions team. Hannah explains, “My role has quite an emphasis on Data Protection and Confidentiality. As my degrees were both in Psychology, I had experience and knowledge about appropriate data handling and distribution, and I think this did help me to secure my role.”

Hannah goes on, “My biggest piece of advice [for those looking for graduate work] would be to make the most of all the Careers Support that The University of Manchester provides. For example, I found the advice on Cover Letter writing useful as I found them really difficult to get right. I personally found the role that I am in now through CareerConnect, and think that it is a great way of sifting through relevant roles.”  

Amy

Throughout her Master’s degree in Politics, Amy worked part-time as a Student Partner Intern at the Careers Service. She now works as a Policy Advisor for the Department for Transport in the UK Government. More specifically, she works in the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles, where she is responsible for advising, briefing and drafting policy on electric vehicles. Amy tells us, “My degree course is directly related to the job I have now and so I would probably say practical knowledge is the best thing my degree gave me. Many of the topics covered in my degree are relevant to my role and have provided useful background context.”

Her top tip for other December graduates who are considering their next steps is to keep using the Careers Service, even after graduation. Amy explains, “Make the most of the access you still have [as a graduate] to the Careers Service. As a previous Student Partner Intern in the Careers Service, I have a strong insight into how useful careers appointments can be, especially the interview simulation appointments.” As a graduate, you can use the Careers Service for up to two years after finishing your course, and you can book career guidance appointments or interview simulations through CareerConnect.

Anggi

Anggi studied  MSc  International Development and now works in Marketing and Communication within The University of Manchester’s Central Communications Team, supporting key campaigns and creating content for different lines of communication.

Anggi reveals that her degree helped build her all-important communication skills, “The best skill that my degree taught me was how to become a better written and verbal communicator. My degree taught me to adapt my communication and written style for different purposes and I believe that the flexibility that I demonstrated helped me land my new position.”

Anggi’s top tip for other graduates is “to use CareerConnect to look for opportunities as there is a lot of variety on there for you to discover. If you get through to an interview stage, book an interview simulation appointment to help you prepare as the advisers are super helpful.” Practice interviews are a great way to prepare for the real thing and calm your nerves! You can book a one-to-one session with a Careers Consultant via CareerConnect, or practice video interviews via Shortlist.Me.

Christo

Christo will be graduating with an MA in International Relations. When reflecting on what his degree taught him, he says, “One of the best skills that my degree enabled me to enhance is my decision making. Every essay, group work, seminars are result of small or big decisions that I’ve taken.” Decision-making involves weighing up a problem and coming up with a considered solution – it is a key skill, especially if you are apply for graduate schemes or graduate-level roles.

Christo now works in the Faculty of Humanities at The University of Manchester, where his duties encompass digital learning assistance and providing support for clerical and administration activities.

His advice for other graduates is to “pursue what you think the best for you; follow something that you truly enjoy. Always give it an attempt before you quit and more importantly relax, find time for yourself.” The Prospects Career Planner and the questionnaires on Profiling for Success can be good ways to search for careers that align to what you enjoy or are good at. You can also talk to a Careers Consultant via a careers guidance appointment, bookable on CareerConnect, to explore your interests, ambitions and workplace values.

Di

Di works as the Administrative Assistant Intern at the Centre for Academic and Researcher Development (CARD). She studied MSc Accounting and Finance, and says that the main skill she learnt from her degree is “the ability to adapt to a new working/learning environment quickly, with the flexibility and confidence to overcome any challenge or difficulty along the way.”

In her new job, Di has been “assisting in organising training and development to promote equality, diversity and inclusion in research practice and culture, including interviewing program graduates, and recording and editing the program introduction video. [She has] also been sending out event reminders, responding to student queries and creating surveys,” so adaptability is vital in her new job!

Her top tips for everyone graduating this December are to “make full use of University career resources, such as CareerConnect. Keep your uniqueness and be true to yourself. Don’t be afraid of failures, as they are always the best lessons to learn.” Lots of employers look for resilience in graduates they are hiring, so knowing how to stay true to yourself and bounce back after a failure is an important skill. Check out our advice if you are finding your graduate job applications are getting rejected.

A huge thank you to our graduates for their input into this article and congratulations to everyone who is graduating this week.

Remember, the Careers Service is here for you. Now, and for up to two years after you graduate. If you need advice or support, have a look on our graduate website or book an appointment on CareerConnect. You can use CareerConnect to search for opportunities and register for events too, so make sure you register for your graduate account now!

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