New LinkedIn desktop version: what you need to know!

Well, it’s all change at LinkedIn, and they seem to have finished the roll out of their new desktop user interface.  It has been given a bit of a makeover, to bring it into line with the mobile version which has also changed some of the functionality.  We’re in the process of updating our LinkedIn resources, but in the meantime, here’s our top 5 things you need to know…


You need to be using the latest version of your web browser for it to work best  – not always the case in PC clusters we have discovered!   If it is becoming unreliable when using one browser, try using a another (we’ve found Firefox to be most reliable on campus, and Chrome is usually fairly good too).


If you want to update your profile, you now need to select ‘Me’ from the top menu.  Most of the functionality there is similar, with a few subtle differences.  To insert a new profile section (like Projects or Skills), the options are on a drop-down menu on the right rather than at the top of your profile as before.  They’ve also removed the option to notify changes to your network from the main profile edit screen, though it sometimes prompts you in each section.  As before, our advice is to switch off notifications using via ‘Me > Settings & Privacy > Privacy > Sharing profile edits’ before you start any complex overhaul of your profile.


In the past, you could move the sections of a LinkedIn profile to better reflect your experience (like moving Education to the top of your profile).  Not anymore!  It is therefore even more important to have a strong profile Headline and Summary, to highlight your educational achievements.  Check out these 5 tips to give your profile a mini-makeover.


In the latest desktop version, all searches start with the Search box at the top of the screen.  It is no longer possible to perform an Advanced People Search (booo!) or filter out group searches, but there are still ways to perform specific searches once you know how.

  • Search filters: when you type in some text, LinkedIn will suggest filters you can apply to narrow the results. In the example below, you can specify whether you want to search for jobs, people’s job titles or groups containing your search text.LinkedIn_search
  • Search operators: you can also narrow your results by using 5 ‘search operators’, which allow you to search specific parts of profiles. They are:
    • firstname – Finds members based on first name
    • lastname – Finds members based on last name
    • title – Finds members based on their current job title
    • company – Finds members based on their current company (keyword search)
    • school – Finds members based on schools attended (keyword search)

The example LinkedIn gives is to search for current software engineers not named Doe, who have attended either Harvard University or Stanford University, try:

You’ll notice in this example that it uses NOT and OR to refine the search (you can also use AND too).  These are called Boolean searches and, though at first glance look complicated, are not too difficult to master.

It’s worth taking time to learn how to perform searches on LinkedIn and their help pages are the best place to start. Searching on LinkedIn


To do an Alumni search, type ‘The University of Manchester’ into the top search box, or select the logo in your profile.  There is a preview of the new look Alumni search interface but we prefer the old version as it tends to be most reliable at the moment.  (Never heard of Alumni search? Check this out!)

By Suzanne Creeber
Careers Consultant

Working in the UK – Information for international students attending the Grad Fair 2017

On the day – Making a good impression

Do not talk about visas with the employer at the fair. Consider how you approach an employer with your questions about the company. It is still important to be interested in the organisation and their opportunities and not just interested in finding any company that sponsors work visas. This will create a poor impression.

Should you discuss sponsorship or visas with employers at the fair?

We advise you do not talk about visas, sponsorship or hiring of international graduates with recruiters at fairs or events. Usually the employer representatives at the fair are not visa or immigration experts and are not the right people to discuss visas with. 

Do your research first! Know who sponsors and who doesn’t before you go. Make a good first impression by asking relevant questions about the company values, innovations, projects, culture, progression opportunities, development and retention. Visas can be addressed later at interview or offer stage.

Can I work in the UK?

If you are looking to stay on and work in the UK after graduation, you can find out more about work visa regulations for the UK on the Careers Service website: These pages link you through to excellent sources of visa information as well as links to UKCISA and UK Government site –

Any queries around your Tier 4 visa should be referred to the Student Immigration Team

What about work visas?

Employer sponsored visas (Tier 2 visas) are the most common way for UK employers to hire international graduates who need permission to work in the UK. To sponsor a visa, an employer must be on the Register of licensed sponsors: workers and the job must meet certain minimum requirements (such as a minimum salary and skill level for the role which is RQF Level 6). 

You can also check if a firm is on the Sponsor Register at:

Minimum Salaries

You can also check if the job you are interested in meets the minimum salary RQF Level 6 and skill levels for tier 2 sponsorship in the Codes of Practice:

Other Options

Tier 5 – Getting work experience

If you are looking for a short period of work experience in the UK (up to12 months) there are also options with a Tier 5 visa under the “Youth Mobility programme” or the Government Authorised Exchanges. There are no minimum salaries for this route and you can work for any employer. If you find an employer willing to offer you an internship, you can pay a private organisation that sponsors Tier 5 visas to arrange the visa for you.

Tier 1 – Starting your own business

The University of Manchester is a sponsor for the Graduate Entrepreneur visa if you are looking to start your own business in the UK. Find out more at:

PhD students

A 12 month visa extension scheme has been introduced for students completing a PhD in the UK. The scheme allows PhD students to extend their student visa for an additional 12 months allowing them extra time to find work with a Tier 2 employer or set up as an entrepreneur. More information can be found at:

Working in the UK – Work visas for international students Webinar

You can find more information on visa’s and your options ON THE University of Manchester Careers YouTube Channel in the International Student Playlist

What rules apply for internships?

Most undergraduate international students are able to work full-time during vacations on a student visa enabling them to take internships. Postgraduates are encouraged to confirm vacation periods with their School as your dissertation time in the summer is not classed as a vacation. For more information on working in the UK whilst on a student visa, see:

What about international jobs?

Some firms are happy to direct you to vacancies across the globe. Others may provide you with a contact to approach/website to use. Some international firms also hold international recruitment events at their Head Offices in the UK – so do ask them.

In addition to this consider the option of a J1 Visa to the USA if you are looking for some international experience before going home. You can apply for this visa in the UK and gain up to 12 months experience overseas. For more information see our Blog on J1 Visas

Think about your motivation for getting experience outside of your home country? Have you considered working for an international company back home and then transferring to another office overseas after a couple of years? You would have more to offer an employer including experience, building your reputation in the company and a global network.

Finally look at your chosen occupation for countries like Australia and New Zealand, is it on their Skilled Occupations list which you can find online.

J1 Visa for the USA for work experience overseas

Are you looking for work experience during the Summer or after you graduate. Are you an international student struggling to get sponsorship for employment in the UK under Tier 2 or Tier 5 visas? Are you looking ultimately to get some experience as an international student and bring this home with you? Or are you a UK/EU student looking to expand their experience on their CV and go overseas for a while?

If you answered yes to any of these questions then a J1 visa could be the answer for you.

What is the J1 visa?

Well it is the Exchange Visitor (J) non-immigrant visa category for the USA and is for individuals approved to participate in work-and study-based exchange visitor programs. Graduates from the UK whether you are a British National, EU citizen or International student you are eligible to apply for Internship programmes in the USA for up to 12 months. These internships enable university students or recent graduates to go to the USA to gain exposure to culture and to receive hands-on experience in USA business practices in your chosen occupational field. It enables graduates and students to get some great brand names on their CVs and experience abroad range of business opportunities. Equally all students no matter where you are from can apply within the UK to get their J1 visa and there is no limit to how many J1 visas you can have as long as you meet their criteria. Unlike the UK the employer is not your sponsor for a J1 visa it is an agency and a full list can be found here

So what now? Well the first step to getting experience in the USA and a J1 visa is to find opportunities.

Finding Experience

You can do this by using the websites Vault, (ensure Glassdoor is .com not and LinkedIn. In the USA you will be looking for opportunities titled “internships” whether it is graduate experience or summer experience. In the USA the terms “graduate scheme” or “graduate programme” does not exist and in fact the term “scheme” means something illegal in the States.

You can search the 3 websites mentioned above with your field of interest for example if you are looking at engineering then you would search “engineering internships” On the various websites there are filtering options which include location, salary etc. When using LinkedIn ensure in your Summary section you have the phrase “J1 Visa Candidate” at the start so employers who view your profile know that they are not responsible for your visa. If you use LinkedIn you can apply with your profile instead of a CV and cover letter so ensure your profile is up to date with a professional photo. Similarly if you applying using a cover letter and CV ensure “J1 Visa Candidate” is visible on both documents. A CV in the USA is 1 page only so make what you put on there count. Use Glassdoor to help find work but also to research what an intern can earn as it contains company, interview and salary reviews.

If you are applying via the company directly and are filling in an online application form then make sure when they ask “Are you authorised to work in the United States?” you answer yes as you will have a J1 visa. When the question comes up about sponsorship on the application form “will you now or in the future require sponsorship for employment visa status?” you answer no as you have an independent sponsor and you will not require the company to sponsor you.

We recommend using the cover letter from Parenthese a J1 Visa Sponsor who visits the University of Manchester twice an academic year to talk to students about J1 visas. On their website under the Student tab you will find links to really helpful information including how to get started and most important the “Pick Me” section which details application advice. You can click on the following link to access their recommended cover letter format which informs the employer in the USA of the advantages of hiring an overseas intern as well as the financial benefits use the cover letter template keeping the sections in bold only changing the sections not in bold. There is lots of great advice and information on this website.

Paid or Unpaid Internships?

We recommend only looking at paid internships rather than unpaid. Do your research regarding the company using and LinkedIn. Make sure you know what the basic living costs are for the area of the USA you want to work in and that the job you are applying for will cover those expenses. For instance San Francisco you would require a job that paid $3500 per month and new York $2500 for basic living costs: food, rent, internet, travel etc. These salaries are not unreasonable for these areas. Avoid companies that want you to pay a fee up front to work for them to cover the cost of materials etc as these are usually not legitimate. If it sounds too good to be true the rule is it usually is too good to be true. If in doubt however contact the Careers Service at the University or your chosen J1 Visa Sponsor and they can let you know if it is a reputable organisation.

Getting a J1 Visa

To get a J1 visa you will need to have successfully been given a job offer. Once you have your job offer and you have ensured the salary is good enough to sustain you in the USA then you can approach your sponsor. As previously mentioned we have worked with Parenthese in the past and you can access slides from one of their sessions on our website for more details:

What do you need to look for when picking a sponsor?

  • Ensure you research your sponsor and you understand what is included with the offer of a visa.
  • Make sure the medical cover is high enough although $1million may sound like a lot health cover for a broken finger can be very expensive.
  • Does the sponsor do checks on your potential employer to ensure your safety at work and that you will receive proper training and supervision!
  • Do they offer support while you are in the USA in case you need help or get into trouble?

I have my job offer and a sponsor what next?

Well after you have been approved by the sponsor and the company you are working for is checked and confirmed you can then apply for the visa which includes a trip to the US Embassy for your fingerprints, fee and short interview. This is standard and very straight forward as long as you do not have a criminal record. Your sponsor should give you all the information you need to know regarding fees for your sponsor as well as your SERVIS fee and what steps need to be taken. It can take as little as 3 weeks to turn around an application for a J1 Visa.

Good luck and remember to make the most of your experience.

Self-employment alongside studying: top tips

Guest blog post written by Lucy Eliza Davis, Management, Leadership and Leisure student running her own fitness website. 

Increasingly, we’re seeing that some graduates want to work for themselves or start their own business after university. Self-employment can offer a more flexible way to live and earn – but isn’t without its challenges!

Some of you may even be thinking about running a business alongside your studies. One of our undergraduate students, Lucy Eliza Davis, has turned her passion for fitness into a business by launching her own website, blog and YouTube channel with the aim of encouraging, motivating and inspiring others to be healthy and active. She’s taken the time to write about her experience and share some of her top tips…


Lucy Eliza Davis: Student and online fitness guru

I have always been an athletic individual, from cross-country at primary school to swimming nine times a week throughout high school and college, making my debut on the GB team in 2014. After finishing swimming in April 2015, I’ve dedicated much of the past two years into the health and fitness industry.

Being a highly ambitious and optimistic individual, I’ve always wanted to be as successful as possible and dreamt of managing my own business. Over the last two years, I have developed as an individual, and whilst being at university, I have unquestionably advanced the skills I have used to grow and develop myself as a brand. To share one key piece of advice before I go into talking about my website; if you set your mind to doing something, it will always be achievable. You just have to distribute your time between studies and external interests evenly and consistently.

So to explain a little about the process of my website..

In December 2016 I decided to make a move into digital marketing, with the help of my good friend, Elliot Matthews. I was inexperienced in website design, not even knowing how I would go about creating one in the first place, but by using my connections and Elliot, we managed to pull it off. I knew if I wanted to increase my own individual brand awareness, a website was a must. Of course I was feeling a little skeptical and not sure how I was going to manage both university and starting a website, but at the end of the day, I knew it was possible if I continued to be organised and kept thinking how much it was going to benefit me. In February 2017 I finally got round to starting my own YouTube channel. It took a lot longer than I had expected, however I am finally there!

Starting out will never be easy and straightforward, or everyone would do it. But I can give you an insight into making the process that whole lot easier!

Lucy blog.jpg

Snapshot of Lucy’s website

Skills needed:

  • I can’t stress enough how important it is to be organised. And this isn’t just needed for having your own little business. If you are organised at university, I promise you will be making your life 10 times easier.
  • Time management is crucial. Don’t think you will be able to juggle both university studies and starting a business without having your day/week mapped out. Buy yourself a diary/whiteboard and make sure everything you are doing is noted down – your stress levels will dramatically decrease.
  • Innovative ideas will not go a miss. Never ever think an idea is ‘stupid’ just because someone else thinks it is, or you aren’t 100% confident. You will never know the success of an idea unless you share and utilise it!
  • Written skills will always be a useful when having a website aimed at connecting with your audience, and you want them to read your blogs. There is no point in writing something that you are bored writing yourself and know won’t engage people.
  • Having motivation and dedication not to give up when things are not exactly going to plan. You have to deal with failure and setbacks to understand how much you really want it.

Challenges and difficulties I have faced:

  • Over-facing myself with tasks – Sometimes, I forget to take a breather and take a step back when I have a million and one things going on. It’s so important to not take on tasks at that moment when you are already stressed. If you wanted to finish a blog post, and write some more of your assignment but didn’t have enough time – take a breather, make a brew, do your university work (always ensure your academic work is up-to-date over your website), and then if you do have time, work on your blog post.
  • When the assignment period is looming – This is still my greatest struggle with working on my own brand and when its time to start writing assignments. Don’t think you can leave your assignment until the last minute. Start the night you get set it, create a plan to follow… use your time wisely and you WILL be ok. If you don’t, you may do what I did when I was handed my first assignment and spend too much time on your own business, forgetting about your academic work. DON’T do this, it isn’t worth the stress.
  • Being patient has never come easy to me. My website was very slow starting off, and at the time I was worrying so much and didn’t think it was going to go anywhere. But at the end of the day, start-up businesses don’t always take off straight away. You do have to be patient when launching, just like I am being patient with my new YouTube Channel.

Highlights and things I have really enjoyed along the way:

  • The independence. Working for yourself is very satisfying as you get to see the results you have produced. Because I am in the fitness industry, I am lucky enough to engage with many individuals, and to understand how they view my brand.
  • You meet so many like-minded individuals when you create a website. Whether this is through the website itself or meeting with people along the way in the design process.

Top tips for students that would like to do something similar:

  • For organisation and time management – BUY A DIARY. Your diary will be your bible.
  • Use your connections and networks to engage with more and more people.
  • Write your goals down and look at them every morning to motivate you

So if self-employment sounds like something that you might be interested in, visit our website for more information, useful links and a comprehensive guide on how to get started with your own business, self-employment and freelance work.

Writing a personal statement for a Masters course

computerUnless you are applying for Teaching or Medicine through UCAS this will be a completely different process for you.

There are some universities which use the UKPASS system but most require a direct application to the postgraduate admissions contact for the course you are applying to. (You will find this on the university website when you search for the course details.)

What does the application look like?

  • For some it’s an application form, where you will fill in details on your education & experience and then have to write a personal statement explaining why you should be considered for this course.
  • Some will ask specific questions about your reasons for applying.
  • Some will require a CV too.

Personal statements – what can go wrong?

  1. Poor structure & disorganised ideas.
  2. Lack of research.

Typically your structure would include the following unless you are given instructions to the contrary.  The order you present the information in is largely dictated by the story you want to tell, but this is a reasonably logical progression.

1    Why this university?

Be specific – don’t make generic statements such as “Because you are an internationally renowned university with an excellent academic reputation”.
If the university itself made a difference in your choice – what was this?

  • Have you studied there before and enjoy the environment?
  • Is it’s location and the opportunity to gain work experience locally a factor?
  • Has it got a strong reputation in this particular field of research?
  • Are there specific academic staff you want to do research or study with?
  • Perhaps it offers something else unique?

2    Why this subject?

  • Your motivation – When did you become interested in this subject and what have you learned about it?
  • What is it about the structure of the course, the choice of modules, the learning methods that appeals to you? Did you attend an open day or talk to lecturers?
  • Demonstrate subject knowledge, through relevant prior learning, projects, dissertations, case studies etc. It could also come through relevant work experience in this field.

3    Academic ability

  • Academic achievement – have you got what it takes to do this course? Grades in key relevant subjects.
  • Academic prizes
  • Does it match your learning style – can you demonstrate this? Will you have to do group projects can you demonstrate teamwork or leadership?
  • Can you demonstrate the dedication and resilience required to complete the course? Ability to use initiative, problem solve, manage workload, work to deadlines, work under pressure.
  • Other academic skills relevant to the course, computing skills, knowledge of relevant scientific techniques, analytical or research skills etc.

4    Personal skills & experience

You can talk about work experience, volunteering and extracurricular activities in more depth here, but make sure you are evidencing key knowledge or skills needed for this course and your future career options.

5    Your future?

What are your career aims? How will this course help you achieve them? Knowledge, skills, accreditation with professional bodies etc.

How long should it be?

  • Some Universities will give you a word length. Do not exceed it!
  • If there is no guidance I would say write no more than 2 pages of A4. 1 page may be a little brief but it depends what you have to say and how you say it.  Think of the poor admissions officer who has to read hundreds of these. Keep it concise and to the point.

Style of writing

To some extent this is a reflection of who you are but in most cases this is a persuasive argument backed up with evidence.  Flowery or emotive language is rarely used in the UK.

If you are applying to a course like journalism your written style may be judged as part of your application.

Make sure it is grammatically correct and spell checked.

International applications

Expectations may differ country to country so do your research, contact the admissions officer to ask if there is any advice, what are they looking for?  Do you write in English or the language of that country?

If you need help with your application – book an applications advice appointment


Presentation or death?

microphone“According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.” (attributed to Jerry Seinfeld)

Most of us dread public speaking of any sort and yet it is something we can’t avoid as often we’re required to make presentations to our peers or even to a prospective employer. How can we overcome the fear? Well, as with most things in life, practice makes perfect: the more you do it the better you’ll become. Therefore avoiding it is not helpful as sooner or later you’ll have to do it. Conquer your fear now! Start now taking the steps that are going to lead you to become a confident public speaker. Take small steps like asking a question during a lecture. Take inspiration from the people around you who you consider good speakers: what do they do? Can they give you any tips? Public speaking is a performance, you don’t actually need to be yourself when delivering a speech, you can emulate somebody you admire.

Be prepared

Become familiar with what you want to say. This sounds quite obvious but it’s the main point. The more you are confident about what you’re going to say, the better you’ll do. Even if the nerves take over your brain or your body, if you know what you’re talking about you’ll go on automatic mode and deliver. Prepare your script in advance and practice. Practice in front of a mirror or with a friend. Look out for voice tone and little mannerisms that will get in the way of your message. Many years ago, when I was a trainee teacher, my supervisor videoed one of my first classes and I couldn’t believe how much I run in front of the room, from one corner to the other while speaking. You would think my students were watching a tennis match, their heads turning left and right very quickly to follow my movements! If you have the chance to video or record yourself while practicing, do it. Yes, it is very embarrassing but also very useful.


I find particularly useful to be in the place where I’m going to speak the day before or at least sometime before the presentation. I go to the exact place where I’m supposed to be delivering my speech and visualize what will happen. I mean visualize my surroundings and delivery, not my audience in any state of undress as it is so often suggested. In my visualization, the audience is always interested in what I have to say and yes, they’re fully dressed. I also make myself familiar with the “machinery”- where are the lights, how to turn on the equipment and make it work, etc.  If this is not possible, I try to at least be at the venue a few minutes before to take everything in and to actually see the audience coming in, making eye contact, smiling, maybe chatting if appropriate so that they are not strangers when I start speaking. Most audiences are friendly; they want you to succeed so try to connect.

Be human

Let’s assume your audience can read. It’s not particularly interesting for them hear you read slides, they can do that themselves. If you put all the information in your slides and read from them; then what’s the point of your presentation? You might as well just print out the information and disseminate it. Your audience wants to see the human.  A good presentation is about you being there delivering a script. Don’t let the slides replace you.

 Have three “take away” ideas

The average adult attention span is 5 minutes! What three main ideas do you want your audience to retain? People are more likely to remember information that come in threes so don’t overbear them- if possible trim your script down to the three main ideas you want them to retain and work around that.

Repeat yourself

Tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them and then tell them what you’ve just told them (see what I did there? Three things!). This helps the audience to remember the most important points of your message. Think of the most memorable speeches in history like Martin Luther King’s – he repeats the word “freedom” twenty times, the word “dream” eleven times and “I have a dream…” eight times in a period of only a few minutes. Repetition helps to retain the message.

Have a contingency plan

There will always be things out of your control that can go wrong. Think them through beforehand so that you’re prepared. Do you have a backup of your presentation? Perhaps you can email yourself a copy. What can you do if you can’t use your slides due to a technical issue? Can you have backup handouts? Make sure to have a plan B.

If you need support, there are resources available to you at The University. You can find workshops and online resources on My Learning Essentials. Recently they advertised two workshops that sounded really useful: “Speaking out in groups” and “Group work: play to your strengths”. They also have a few short courses online about presentations: “Present like a pro: the art of delivery”, “Present like a pro: visual victory” and “Start to finish: present like a pro”. Keep an eye on what is advertised on My Learning Essentials.

The Careers Service has a Presentation Skills Starting point guide.

Keep in mind though that no amount of reading can replace experience in a practical matter as this. You can’t learn how to swim without getting in the water. So dip your toes first, start today to take little steps towards conquering your fear.

Explore your interests at My Future Fest


February is one of the coldest, darkest and wettest months of the year. January exams are over, semester two has just begun and summer feels like a very long way off. But that magical time of the year without exams or assignment deadlines will come around sooner than you think, and it’s also the ideal time to do something a bit different and build your skills away from the University. Which is why we’re bringing you My Future Fest – a day packed with opportunities to help you plan for your summer and discover what you might like to do in the future.

Here are three reasons you should pop down to My Future Fest on Tuesday 7 Feb, regardless of where you are in your studies.

  1. Discover opportunities that may surprise you.

You might think you know what you’re going to do this summer, but our exhibitors will have opportunities that you hadn’t even considered. Become a coach with SPORT Manchester or have a real overseas experience with the British Council’s Study Work Create programme. Coming down to speak to exhibitors can spark something that you just can’t get by trawling through a website.

  1. Get ahead of the crowd.

Whether you’re in your second year planning for the summer, or a final year student looking for graduate jobs, My Future Fest provides not only exhibitors with current opportunities but also access to staff who can give you expert tips and advice on developing your interests and skills – and putting it into words to help you land the job that you want. We’ll be there providing info on our Student Experience Internships and Manchester Graduate Talent programmes, and there will also be plenty of support for those of you facing the dreaded employer selection tests.

  1. Competitions and freebies!

If that’s not enough to convince you, there will be freebies on the day (including ice cream and cake), not to mention a number of competitions that you can enter if you head down to Uni Place. Prizes include £300 of travel vouchers, £100 Amazon vouchers and a Level 1 Coaching qualification for a sport of your choice (worth £150). Really, it’s too much to miss out on…

So make sure to join the Facebook event for further updates, and head down to University Place between 10am and 4pm on Tuesday 7 February to make the most of My Future Fest.

These students got involved last year and didn’t regret it…

Keep your cool this Christmas

So that’s it, semester one is almost over and many of you are getting ready to head home (or elsewhere) for the winter break. Whether you’re a first year student that’s just made it through your first ever semester at uni, or a seasoned postgrad that knows these winter breaks like the back of your hand, there can be so much going on at this time of year that your future career probably won’t be at the front of your mind. Which is fine… you’ve got your upcoming exams or dissertation to tackle while smiling politely through family dinners and social occasions. Until that dreaded question comes up: what are your plans after university? What do you want to do with your degree?

Cue awkward silence, followed by a muttered response about travelling the world, being snapped up by a major company in London or finally writing that best-selling book.

Don’t worry, you’re not alone in hating that moment – whether you know what you want to do with your future or not. I graduated over four years ago and still get irrationally annoyed whenever someone asks about my career plans. So I thought I’d share my top tips on dealing with this social anxiety and being that cool, calm and collected person with everything under control.


High quality decorations in the Careers Service office: Rodney the Reindeer

What to tell the family this Christmas

Friends and family are bound to ask about what you’ve been up to this semester and what you plan to do next. To handle this question like a pro, I have three tips:

  • Don’t be scared to say that you don’t know what you want to do yet. Many people don’t – so many that we have a whole webpage dedicated to just that. There is no shame in spending some time to work out what you enjoy and deciding what might be right for you.
  • Even if you’ve spent the semester enjoying yourself and making friends, fact is you WILL have developed your skills. It doesn’t matter how you acquired them – are you a better communicator now that you’ve worked with (or maybe even had a few clashes with) people from very different backgrounds to yourself? Have you learnt about time management the hard way, having left your work until the last minute? Don’t panic about what you’ve not done, but focus on what you have achieved. Use these skills as a starting point.
  • Rejection is nothing to be ashamed of. Learning to deal with a set back and turn it into something positive is one of the best lessons you can learn. So don’t fret if you didn’t get that job you wanted; pick yourself up and keep going. If you need further inspiration, check out these celebs, all of whom were rejected before making it big.

Socialising, socialising, socialising

There are so many social events at this time of year, it can be exhausting. And don’t worry, I’m not going to say “any event is a networking opportunity”. You should enjoy yourself and switch off sometimes. But I will say this:

  • Be honest about what you are thinking about for your future. You may find that friends and family have suggestions to help you out – maybe by putting you in touch with someone useful. No pressure.
  • By all means, have fun, but be aware of what you’re sharing on social media. Are you tagged in any pictures on Facebook that an employer may not look favourably upon? Are there photos on your Instagram that you wouldn’t want a potential boss to see? Here are some tips on managing your digital footprint.
  • If you’re exhausted from being sociable in real life, why not spend a bit of time on your professional profile online? Join LinkedIn if you haven’t done already, and put some time into creating a great profile. Get started here.

Don’t freak out about being “last minute”

Got friends that have already secured an internship for the summer, or landed that grad scheme? That competitive panic can creep in….but it’s all part of the plan, right? Remember that:

  • Yes, many of the graduate schemes with big companies close in October/November. But these schemes only account for a small proportion of the UK job market. There will be graduate level jobs advertised all year round – especially in the education sector, media, arts, charities and smaller companies. Look at employers that you might not know much about. There is plenty of time to find the right opportunity for you.
  • There are still summer internships out there – just search on CareersLink for those still advertising. Alternatively, our Summer Experiences Internships programme, in which second year undergrads take an internship either within the Uni or a not-for-profit organisation, is not even open for summer 2017 yet. So nothing to worry about yet, is there?

Exams & Dissertations

Feeling stressed about having to do some work and revision over the winter break? Try to keep on top of things while you’re away from uni to prevent too much stress when you’re back. Here are a couple of things to help:

  • Exam support workshops in AGLC every day between Monday 9 and Friday 20 January. Check out what we’re offering here.
  • While you’re not on campus, remember that the University provides a wealth of online resources to help with things from assignments, dissertations, presentations, or, well, anything really! Search for what you’re after here. I guarantee there will be something to help.

So that’s it for my tips for being in control over your winter break. Of course I have other tips, like don’t eat a full packet of mince pies in one go (speaking from experience, you won’t feel great afterwards). Don’t spend all of your money on overpriced mulled wines (ditto). But above anything else, have a great break and we’ll see you in the New Year!

Five tips for getting work experience in TV

There are no two ways about it – getting into the media is difficult. As somebody who’s been trying to get into TV for a while now, it can feel almost impossible to get that first break. So when work experience opportunities pop up – especially with the really big names out there – hundreds of eager students and graduates flood the inbox of a poor unsuspecting work experience manager, vying to get their foot in the door.

Last month, I undertook a two-week work experience placement at the BBC in MediaCityUK, working on the production team for an upcoming Christmas TV show (let’s face it; there are definitely worse ways to spend two weeks!). I spent a week working in the office alongside the Production Management Assistant, getting an overview on how the producers make everything happen from start to finish, from coming up with the initial


Filming from a Manchester rooftop, trying to ignore the biting November chill

idea, to getting in touch with contributors, to booking transport for the show’s presenters, to handling the raw footage from the camera teams. The second week, I was out working as a runner with all of the camera teams, assisting at shoots on various locations around Manchester. While on work experience, the BBC really treat you as an important part of the team – I was given real, practical tasks, handling a lot of responsibilities, and I didn’t even make a single cup of tea. Trust me, I tried, you have to make a good impression and all that…


From this placement, I’ve learnt so much about the industry and the kinds of jobs involved, gained some fantastic practical skills of how to co-operate on shoots and acquired some knowledge of loads of different roles along the way. If you’re really passionate about getting into TV, or generally working in the media, I can’t recommend it enough.

It is, of course, a difficult industry to get into and to get real-world experience in, so here are my five tips for getting experience while at university.

Perseverance is key

You’ll have to get used to rejection. Roles are competitive, and you’ll have to learn to bounce back, to figure out how you could improve (whether it’s your skills, your experience or your application), and to keep at it. It was the fourth time I had applied for this work experience placement, having previously been knocked back. This time round I made sure I’d gained a bit more experience elsewhere, really thought about how to articulate my experiences and enthusiasm for the industry, and made sure I put in a great application, too.

Don’t wait for the opportunities to come to you

The kinds of opportunities you’ll come across online will usually be those with the big names in the industry, such as the BBC or Channel 4, and this isn’t really representative of how the industry works. Do some research to find out about some smaller independent companies – they may not have work experience schemes on their website, but they will usually welcome an email asking about the chance to come in and shadow for a day or two. It’s a really great way to make connections in the industry, and in a smaller company you may even have a bit more room to show off your skills. A good place to start is TV Watercooler, who list a variety of companies offering work experience, although make sure to look elsewhere, too.
Also, while at university, take the initiative to create your own experience. Get involved with student media, such as the Mancunion or Fuse TV and Fuse FM – it’s where you can make your first steps into media, meet like-minded people, and also make all your mistakes!

Use social media

It turns out that we now live in an age where Facebook has become the place to find work, not just procrastinate from it. Pages such as The Unit List and People looking for TV work: Runners are good places to search for entry-level work, and to get tips on your CV.

Join the Media Club

The Careers Service’s Media Club meets regularly for guest presentations and networking events with professionals and recent graduates working in TV, film, radio, broadcasting, journalism and more. Join the club on Facebook.

Watch some TV!

This is definitely the easiest step, but arguably the most important! If you want to work in the media, you have to be passionate about the content and be able to show it. Watch shows that you like, and that you don’t – think about what makes a good story, or how you could make it better. Listen to the radio on the way into uni. Come up with your own show ideas – who knows, hopefully you’ll be able to make them a reality soon!

What are the ways of staying in the UK as an International Student?

Today I was asked what are the ways I can stay in the UK as an international student?

Here are all the ways I know but see our website for more details as well as an immigration lawyer!!!!! Bear in mind this is a general overview of your options with visas and not meant as visa advice. Seek professional advice.

1. Take on further study and stay on a Tier 4 visa

2. If you progress to a PhD you can request from the university a 12 month extension to your Tier 4 visa to allow you to find work

3. Find an employer who will sponsor you on a Tier 2 visa up to 5 years then apply for residency

4. Once you have been in the UK 5 years in a valid category not in education, you can apply for residency and then British Citizenship

5. Look for a graduate internship up to 12 months on Tier 5 visa (employer can be anyone as an agency will sponsor your visa like BUNAC)

6. Become a graduate entrepreneur and set up your own business with the support of the university

7. Or apply for a Tier 1 entrepreneur visa with £200,000 investment

8. If you have capital of £2million you can apply for a Tier 1 investor visa

9. If you have a grandparent born in Britain, on a British registered ship or aircraft you can apply for a British Passport

10. If you have a great-grandparent who is Irish you can apply for an Irish passport

11. If your home country is affected by war or you feel at risk you can apply for asylum see here for more details:

12. Marriage is an option but you must prove to the UK Government that you have been together for some time and co-habitate, sharing bills, rent etc it can be a difficult option so think hard before pursuing this

Finally do your research the more knowledge you have the more power and influence you have and the better your chances of staying in the UK – BE INFORMED!!!!!


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