The Careers Service Q&A series – edition 1

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

The Careers Service is here throughout January to answer all your career questions!

We will be answering three career-related questions a week for the next three weeks, so look out for each instalment to see what some other students and graduates want to know. You may even find the answers to some of your own career concerns.

I graduated in December and I’m not sure where to start looking for jobs! I studied a Master’s in English, and I think I would like to work in marketing, PR or something that will allow me to use my creative writing skills. Can you help?

Congratulations on finishing your degree! Graduation is exciting but can also leave with lots of future-related questions. Throughout this process, it may be helpful to know how you can protect your mental health after graduation, stay positive and resilient while looking for jobs. 

The first step in your graduate job search is knowing where to look. To begin with, I would suggest you have a look at the opportunities on CareerConnect. You can use the filters to search specifically for marketing jobs.

CareerConnect is a brilliant resource for both students and graduates. You can use it not only to look for jobs, but also to book appointments and register for careers events. Find out more about setting up your free, graduate account here.

You can also have a look at our Which Career pages, specifically at the Advertising, marketing, PR and sales section. Here you will find more information about different marketing roles, various routes into marketing, and information about industry specific websites where you can search for graduate-level roles.

The second way to find graduate jobs is through the hidden jobs market. A large number of jobs are not advertised widely, or even at all! To find these opportunities, you need to use your network, and apply speculatively to employers you’d like to work for. This is where you ask an organisation to consider employing you, even if they are not visibly hiring.

Finally, while you’re applying for jobs, it’s a good idea to continue to boost your employability, CV and overall confidence. Have a look at our upskilling and work experience pages for ways you can enhance your employability, such as online courses, virtual work experience and volunteering.

Good luck!

I just found out I didn’t get through to the next stages of the graduate scheme that I applied for. I put so much work into the application process and after the rejection, I don’t know what to do next. Help!

I’m sorry to hear that you missed out on the graduate scheme you applied for. This can be really disheartening, especially as you worked really hard throughout the recruitment process. Take a well-earned break and be kind to yourself.

Although it may not feel like it now, the truth is that there are plenty more opportunities out there, so don’t be too hard on yourself! Only a small proportion of graduates get onto graduate schemes each year, the majority go into other graduate roles.

The first thing you should do, if you can, is to ask the recruiter for feedback on your graduate scheme application or interview, so you know what you can improve for next time. You can build experience through volunteering (including online volunteering), or virtual work experience programmes. We have lots of resources to help improve your performance in application tasks on the website, including CareerSet CV and Cover Letter checker, mock assessment centres, interview practice and practice psychometric tests.

Finally, remember that there are plenty of graduate jobs out there that aren’t graduate schemes but that still offer excellent experience and training. This is especially true for smaller companies, who recruit in smaller numbers and are often more flexible in their recruitment timelines. Use CareerConnect and other graduate job search websites to search for your chosen sector.

If you need more support with your applications, you can book a career guidance appointment with one of our Career Consultants to discuss your next steps.

I’m not sure what I can do with my psychology degree, can you help me?

Lots of students and graduates aren’t sure what to do after university, so you’re not alone. But the good news is that over 70% of graduate employers hire from any degree discipline!

Have a look at our Psychology Careers pages to find out more about jobs that are popular among graduates of your degree. Prospects: what to do with my degree is also a good starting point to see where your degree could take you. As well as jobs directly related to psychology, you can also look at roles that use similar skills.

For inspiration, look at what other Psychology alumni have gone on to do. Use the alumni search tool on LinkedIn to view alumni from your course and see what they are doing now. Connect with them and ask if they would be willing to talk to you about their career path.

If you want to work in psychology, it can be very competitive, so building connections with alumni and employers through events (we have lots advertised on CareerConnect) is very important, and can help you find work experience and job opportunities too. Find out more about how to become a practising psychologist/psychological therapist here.

Finally, remember that you can make an appointment with a Careers Consultant for more support and guidance. In these appointments, we can help you consider your interests, aspirations and workplace values, and help you explore your options and develop a plan of action.

That’s all for this week. If you want your question answered anonymously in the next article, email us at graduatecareers@manchester.ac.uk with the subject line ‘Careers Q&A’. We will select three questions for the blog, and any others will be answered by email or encouraged to book a careers guidance appointment.

All questions have been edited for length and clarity.

All Applications and interviews Careers advice Graduate Graduate jobs networking

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