From your masters degree to mastering your career

Click on the image to access our very easy guide to making the most of your masters in the next step in your career.


PhDs – Want teaching experience and an opportunity to make the world a nicer place?

Are you passionate about your subject area?
Would you like the opportunity to work with local school children?

…then the Widening Participation Fellow programme might be for you!

The Student Recruitment and Widening Participation Team is currently recruiting Postgraduate students for the position of Widening Participation Fellows. These positions support the University’s widening participation activities with a range of learners from primary through to sixth formers. There are a number of posts available in each Faculty.

Hours and Pay: The period of employment is usually from October – July (10 months). Fellows are paid at a rate of £12.56 per hour. Payment is monthly: e.g. £125.60  / month for 10 months when working 100 hours in total. Potential applicants interested in fewer hours should speak with the contact person for their area given in the roles and responsibilities document:  WP Fellow Application Form2016 Widening Participation Fellows Role Responsibilities 2016

Interested applicants need to send a completed WP Award Holder Application Form to the relevant Faculty Officer by Friday 26th August 2016: WP Fellow Application Form2016



What’s going to happen to the graduate job market?

I can’t pretend to know what’s going to happen in the UK in the next half hour, never mind the next 6 months – other than I’m pretty sure we’ll soon hear lots of press stories and anecdotes about problems in the job market (they’ve started already).

We’re in unprecedented times so history may not be an accurate predictor of what’s to come, but it’s worth looking at what happened to the graduate job market in the last recession.

The press quickly dubbed the graduating classes of 2007/8/9  “The Lost Generation”, with story after story about how there were no jobs out there.

These certainly were tougher times and some types of work were in very short supply, which caused some graduates real problems.

However, to put these stories of job market meltdown into perspective, this is what happened to the number of vacancies for full-time graduate jobs which came into the Careers Service at the University of Manchester over the early years of the recession and the preceding years:


You can see that the number of ads we received did drop – but 2008/9 was still above the number of ads we received in 2004/5. And that’s as bad as it got for us.

What’s happened since:
Unfortunately, we changed our database and the way we classified ads at that point, so I’ve got a year missing – but here’s our latest data:


You can see we quickly recovered and we soon exceeded our highest point over the previous 10 years. What’s more, this year has been about 10% up on last year so far.

We’re certainly not complacent and we’ll continue to track vacancies as they come in to us, to look for any early warning signs of problems emerging.

However, we’ve learnt that you can’t immediately assume that what you read about graduate jobs in the press is the whole story –

“Graduate jobs down a bit, but still lots to play for”

is never going to make it as a headline.

We’ll keep you updated with any trends as they emerge, but more importantly, we’re here if any University of Manchester student or recent graduate (within the last two years) needs us – talk to us in person, by email, by phone, by Skype or by online chat, all through the summer and beyond.

Right, now I’m off back to social media to find out what on earth’s happened since I started writing this post …



Three ways to face an uncertain future

If you’re feeling anxious and worried about how the EU referendum might affect your future plans and dreams, here are three things you can do:

Look after yourself
It’s been a shock for almost everyone and you may find yourself going through some of the classic emotions associated with loss – denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Be kind to yourself – it’s OK to cut yourself some slack and seek out activities to give yourself a boost.

If you’re still around campus:aligcake

  • Treat yourself to some cake at the café in the Ali G. (Haven’t been there? Get down there whenever it’s open – best cake on campus!)
  • Try out the Wellbeing Rooms in the Simon Building. There are a range of classes and activities but there’s also the most amazing chill-out room with the biggest comfiest bean bag loungers you’ve ever seen.
  • Find a dry day and wander round The Whitworth, inside and out. Experiencing green spaces, flowers and beautiful/thought-provoking art works are ways to restore your faith in the world beyond politics.

scenicrouteStart to prepare for a Plan B (and C)
If your Plan A might be under threat, it’s smart to start investigating the scenic route to wherever you want to go ultimately. It might take you longer or mean you have to consider a sideways move – or even a step back – initially, but don’t give up on your dreams just yet.

The joy of trying the longer or more meandering route is that you never know what gems you might uncover, which might suit you even better than your original Plan A.

What if you’re drawing a blank when it comes to thinking of alternative pathways? Try our next suggestion.

Talk to people
We’ve found that the graduates who were successful in moving quickly and smoothly into their ideal job commonly talked about their career plans and dreams with their friends. It turns out that testing out your ideas, getting feedback from people you trust and who care about you, especially those who understand just what you’re going through, actually helps you achieve what you want.

Don’t want to unload all your career & future worries on to your friends or family? That’s where we come in.

We can’t tell you what’s going to happen (this isn’t Hogwarts and I’m not Professor Trelawny). We will however listen to your concerns, we won’t judge you (even if you’re just about to graduate and have never thought about careers until now). We’re here to help you work out your own way to the future you want, even in these uncertain times.


If you’re a University of Manchester student (undergrad or postgrad, or graduate from up to 2 years ago) you can contact us by phone, by email, by online chat, by Skype, by Twitter, by Facebook – or by simply coming into the Atrium in Uni Place and having a face-to-face chat. We’re here all year round, Monday to Friday (other than Bank/Uni holidays), 10-4 all through the summer, and longer hours during term time.

We can’t tell you where we’re all going in these uncertain times, but we’ve got your back and we’re here to help you find your way through it all.

What we learnt at Pathways


Well, the 10th anniversary of Pathways: Career Options for Researchers arrived along with 400+ delegates and panellists, all current or former researchers.

The best way to report on it is to hear from current doctoral researcher, Marc Hudson, who’s written

with the advice he gleaned from the 5 sessions he attended, including:

  • Academic Roles for Humanities
  • Marketing your Skills and your PhD
  • What Do Employers Look for in PhD Applications
  • Dr Paul Redmond’s “Uberfication, Digitisation and the New World Of Work”

Thanks Marc – really glad it was worthwhile. (I chickened out from reblogging it as I realised the title of the post would appear on our website – yeah, I’m a coward, but one who wants to keep her job!)

I’d just like to add 5 more memorable moments.

a) The warm welcome to Pathways 10 given by Professor Luke Georghiou, Vice President for Research and Innovation at the start, and the inspirational vision of the future for PhD careers given by Dr Paul Redmond, Director of Student Life at the end of the day.

b) A spontaneous round of applause from a lecture theatre full of researchers when we revealed the cake which the amazing Dr Beth Mottershead created for our 10th anniversary (she’s also on Facebook). Beth is one of our former PhD/post-doc biomedical materials scientists who set up her own professional cake business.


We’re so proud of Beth, both for her inspirational career, showing that a PhD can lead anywhere you want, and for such a fabulous cake. Professor Georghiou also took an extra cupcake to his next meeting – with Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell!

c) Talking to Dr Gemma Barnacle, one of our first time panellists, who said she attended Pathways last year and heard about medical communications from long time Pathways supporter and panellist, Dr Jennie Frain – who inspired Gemma to go into medical communications with MediTech Media.

I love it when delegates come back as panellists – do get in touch if that’s you next year.

d) Meeting another long time Pathways supporter, Dr Chongwei Chua, who became a school teacher and is now Curriculum Manager at Salford City College. Chongwei was overjoyed, saying we’d “made his year” – he’d just met one of his former pupils, Jack Barrington, who is now in the first year of his PhD. That’s the sort of outcome every teacher dreams of (as you can see from Chongwei’s face).


If you missed the event, you can still access the (brief) career profiles for our panellists here (pdf).

The next two big events for researchers are:

Alternatively, if you’re a University of Manchester researcher, look out for Pathways 11 – same time, next year?

3 reasons to attend the Graduate Recruitment Fair

You’ve probably heard or seen quite a bit about The Graduate Recruitment Fair happening this month. It’s one of The University’s biggest Careers Fairs and this year there will be over 140 exhibitors attending, offering local and national graduate jobs, further study courses and other opportunities for students graduating in 2016.

Now your exams are over (or almost over) and you can see a long, deadline-free summer stretching out before you, you might be wondering why on Earth you would want to give up two glorious days in June to go and speak to employers. (Especially when one of those days happens to be the day England play Wales in the Euros.) However, as someone who attended the Grad Fair only last year, I’m going to give you three reasons why it’s worth putting in an appearance on at least one of the two days of the Fair.

1. The Fair provides an opportunity to explore what’s out there.

globe girl smallAfter years and years in education, you may feel that you’ve been quite sheltered from the outside “real” world. A lot of the time students aren’t sure what they want to do after University simply because they’re not aware of what is out there to do.

There will be a wide range of employers attending the Grad Fair – some small, some large – working in a variety of sectors, from Finance and IT to Education, HR and Retail. Wandering around will offer a chance to get exposed to the world of work – the companies and industries out there and what they really do – and the range of options open to you.

If you’ve already got an idea of what sort of industry you want to work in or which companies you want to work for, you can find out more about the roles available within these fields or companies and see what the job would involve day-to-day.

There are also a number of Universities attending both days of the Fair, so you will be able to explore postgraduate study options too and find out if this could be the right next step for you.

2. Speaking to employer representatives face-to-face can improve your applications.

post its smallImagine you’re really interested in a Management position with Abercrombie & Fitch. By chatting to one of their representatives at the Graduate Fair, you can find out what qualities a good Manager at Abercrombie & Fitch has and what activities and responsibilities the job encompasses. With this knowledge, you can tailor your application so that your CV and cover letter clearly demonstrate how the skills and experience you have make you the perfect fit for this Management role. Get the name of the employee you spoke to and reference this conversation in your cover letter (e.g. “After speaking to xxx at The Graduate Recruitment Fair in Manchester, I was really inspired by xxx about the role/company…”). This will reinforce your enthusiasm for the job and the company.

Not only that, but approaching employers can help you with your interview technique. To make a lasting impression during your conversations with company representatives, you need to succinctly summarise your previous experience of relevance to the role on offer and explain why you’re interested in this particular job/company. Before attending the Fair, make sure you’re aware of your strengths and the skills and experience you have to offer employers. (Worried you’ve not done enough? Part-time jobs, societies, volunteering and your degree are all CV-worthy. Give this blog post a read.) Rehearsing how you will introduce yourself, your experience and your motivations to company reps at the Fair will increase your self-awareness, providing a good foundation that you can build on when preparing for interviews.

3. You can get practical advice and support, whatever stage you’re at.

tin can smallAlong with a host of interesting and inspiring exhibitors, you will also find The Careers Service at the Graduate Fair. Chat through your options, ideas and worries with us and get practical advice on steps you can take next, whether you’ve got a clear career goal in mind or are still unsure about what you want to do after University.

If you’ve never been in touch with The Careers Service before, use this opportunity to get connected now, as you can access our services, support and events throughout the summer and for up to two years after graduating.

The Manchester Graduate Programme will be another feature of the Fair at Stand 58. This programme is exclusively for University of Manchester students and sources paid graduate-level roles based in Manchester. We advertise a variety of different roles with a range of organisations, from start-ups to multi-national firms, as well as positions within The University itself. If you want to stay in Manchester, are looking to gain some experience in a particular field, or would just like to give something a try, MGP could be the right next step for you.

The Graduate Recruitment Fair is next week on Wednesday 15 and Thursday 16 June, 10.30am-4.00pm at The Armitage Centre in Fallowfield. Some exhibitors are only appearing on one day of the Fair, so attending both will ensure you’re exposed to everything on offer. You don’t need to stay for the full day (but you can if you want to).

Register for your free tickets in advance here for faster entry on the day.

Playing Articulate – Putting your experience into words that employers want to read

gratrick the maverickFrom guest writer and Faculty of Humanities Careers Manager, Paul Gratrick.

It was the Bee Gees (and latterly covered by Boyzone) who once sang: “It’s only words, but words are all I have to write on this application form” …or something along those lines anyway. Writing a CV, cover letter, or in an online application form text box is often the first stage of many graduate-level applications. Whether you’re applying to a large corporation or a one-person start up, the first port of call to see if you are a “good fit” for that company is usually the written documents you submit.


Being articulate is for life, not just for Christmas…

I see many students – as do my colleagues – who sometimes find it hard to articulate their various experiences into words and phrases that employers will see the value of. We also see many students under-valuing (or not mentioning at all) things which an employer would want to see in an application.

Employers understand the sphere within which you’re operating; they know that months and years of paid experience are not available for all, and they do understand the typical roles that are available to students (e.g. part-time work in bars, shops, etc.). Employers typically aren’t so much concerned with where you have worked and what you did – they want to read how these experiences have equipped you with the skills that they need for the job they are hiring for.

To summarise what an employer is looking for:

Written application = provide evidence to show you have the skills/experience/transferable skills required in the job specification 

The rest of this blog post will deal with six examples you can use to do this (other than more formal internship or paid summer roles) given the types of roles usually available to students during their degree years.

1. Part-time work

If you work part-time whilst you are studying (even just one shift a week) then put this on your CV. Whether you’re replenishing vegetable stocks in Aldi, mixing up a Mini-Mega-Milky-Mocha in Starbucks, hosting children’s birthday parties, waiting tables or serving hot dogs at Old Trafford, balancing any part-time job with your studies show great time management skills. Most part-time jobs you do will involve some sort of customer-facing element, developing customer service skills that any employer who has customers of any type will value.

2. Societies and Clubs

As a UoM student you have access to all kinds of clubs and societies, be those the 400+ official University ones ranging from sport, academia, interest groups and charities, to other clubs in the Manchester area. Membership of a society looks good in the “Interests” section of your CV to show what you’re into outside of your studies. However if you sit on the committee of any society (no matter the topic – so yes The Game of Thrones Society counts too!) then put that higher up your CV under “Experience” or “Positions of Responsibility”. Active participation like this shows your leadership qualities, and even event management and communication skills (if you run the society’s social media channels, for example).

3. Music and Sports 

For some people, they grow up playing sport or a musical instrument. Whether you’re part of a UoM club or not, if you are an active player of any sport or musical instrument then include this on your CV. Playing sport/instruments requires dedication and mastery of craft – good qualities to show that you have. (True story: I have little ability when it comes to playing musical instruments but at University I often featured with a band because of my rap ability! Luckily no Youtube videos exist of such antics, but it went on my CV and it was an interesting talking point at interview.)

4. Volunteering

To include details of any volunteering activities on your CV, you don’t have to be in the Sudan with Brangelina or building wells in third world countries (although this is good, too). Any volunteering activity – local or otherwise – looks great on your CV as it shows an altruistic and compassionate side to your personality and often involves working in teams, providing great examples to use if you’re asked about a team experience you’ve been involved in. If your volunteering included fundraising then put how much you raised; it’s not a contest, but being able to quantify your fundraising gives a real-life example to back up the work you did.

5. Unpaid work experience

For some students (and employment industries), it’s often an accepted norm that you will undertake unpaid work experience in order to get experience. This isn’t ideal for all, but your unpaid experience doesn’t necessarily have to be days and weeks of experience at a company – working somewhere for just a day or two (sometimes called work shadowing) still looks good on your CV. Unpaid work shows a real dedication to the role/sector/company, and gives you “commercial awareness” of how a business works and experience of a professional environment, great for future applications and interviews. Within Manchester there are businesses of all kinds who are likely to have taken on students for work experience in the past. Use this local advantage and get in touch with companies for some experience. If you don’t ask, you won’t get.

6. Using your academic work

There are lots of skills you develop as a student. It varies from course to course, but most degrees now have elements of team/group work, presentations, seminar debates, project work, and the like. It’s more than okay to use these as examples of communication, teamwork, negotiation skills, etc. in your applications. Whilst a mix of academic and extra-curricular experience is great, there are some skills required that you may not be able to answer with your extra-curricular work. When using academic examples, just be sure to evidence how these have developed the skills required by the job description.

CV Sam Routledge3

And so, in summary – if you feel like you haven’t done anything during your degree to develop your skills, the chances are you actually have! By virtue of being a student (and particularly a UoM student) you are exposed to all sorts of activities and these are interesting to employers. The key thing for any job application is to list the key skills required then go through your academic and extra-curricular activities and find the examples that match. If you’re not sure what to use, I’ve heard about an excellent Careers Service full of blog writing experts and Careers Consultants who can help you out, no matter where it is you’re trying to get to (and even if you’re not sure what comes next).

You can read more about transferable skills and what they actually are on our website.

How to get good advice at Pathways 2016

(even if [especially if] no one is doing exactly the job you think you might want to do)

Pathways gives you access to the career stories of many individuals doing many different types of work. Some may not been doing exactly the sort of job you imagine yourself doing, or that you might even find remotely interesting. Their stories are still valuable to you. During your academic research, you don’t just talk to and learn from people doing exactly what you are doing – the conversations would have limited potential for you to develop (and depending on your project, might entail you talking to yourself in front of a mirror). A researcher gleans advice, ideas and techniques from people with all sorts of skills and experience.

I’ll stick my neck out here and suggest that you, Reader, don’t necessarily want to be a social researcher for the Department of Work and Pensions (although, if you do, this is definitely the case study for you). I’d like to demonstrate that Anna Bee’s story, moving from academic to social researcher, is a rich source of career information, advice and inspiration. I’ve downloaded Anna’s story from the Vitae website and annotated it with comments and questions of the sorts you could use to make sure you learn the most from listening to people’s career stories. Rather than lessons about a particular career, this is an opportunity to learn how to manage and develop a career, acquire new perspectives on thinking about careers, new strategies for decision-making and job-hunting.

Here’s Anna’s career story with questions and comments .

Managing your career can be fun. Really.

Managing your career can be fun. Really.

Even if, as with Anna, we can’t actually ask the questions of our story teller, this should prompt us to ask some of these questions of ourselves, as well as using them with other people we meet in the process of developing our career pathways.

Keep in mind that these are my thoughts and questions about Anna’s experience on a Tuesday morning in May. Depending on what happens between now and next Tuesday – it’s likely I’d read Anna’s tale from a whole new point of view and take different lessons from what she has to say. Reading Anna’s story may prompt you to have different thoughts and questions – and that’s a good thing!

Don’t forget to register for Pathways.

Other Pathways related blog posts:

Pathways – Career Options for Researchers (about the event)

Pathways – preparing for life after your PhD (how to network at the event)

The Art/Science* of Academic Networking

Once upon a time… role models, stories and finding your own career Pathways

(This article was first published in 2015)

Doing a PhD? Want experience in teaching? And elearning? Read on!

Manchester Leadership Programme is recruiting eTutors for 2016/17

The Manchester Leadership Programme is keen to hear from current PhD students who are interested in joining our pool of eTutors for 2016/17.

eTutors are responsible for tutoring groups of approximately 25 undergraduate students, leading online discussion groups, conducting face-to-face tutorials and assessing students’ work. Tutors are employed on a semester by semester basis and working hours average 5 hours per week. For those tutoring on the lecture-based courses this will include attending the weekly lecture (Semester 1: Tuesdays, 4.00-6.00pm, Semester 2: Thursdays, 3.00-5.00pm).

Posts are potentially available on each of the MLP ‘Leadership in Action’ 10 and 20 credit academic units (dependent on student numbers).

Interviews will take place on Wednesday 6th July. Successful candidates will need to attend initial eTutor training in the week beginning 26th September 2016.

Type of vacancy: Postgraduate part-time job

Degree required : Any degree discipline, studying towards a PhD at the University of Manchester for the duration of 2016/17 academic year.

Hours and Salary: Payment is on the GTA pay scale, currently £14.02-£16.24 per hour, depending on experience. 5 hours per week.

Location: Manchester

Skills required: Ideally some experience of teaching undergraduates and an interest in elearning. An interest in leadership and sustainable development and a passion for working with students is essential. You should also be a PhD student at the University of Manchester for the duration of the academic year for which you are applying.

Closing date for applications is June 15th

Further particulars of the role and application forms can be downloaded on the Student Development and Community Engagement website (scroll down a bit).

33Sixty-Commonwealth Young Leaders

To rewrite Steve Jobs’ quote ‘Great things in the world are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people.’ I had the opportunity to participate in the leadership programme- 33Sixty, alongside 99 aspiring young leaders across the Commonwealth, spreading from the rich diversity of South Africa and New Zealand, and, to the passion of Jamaica and Scotland. Each representative gathered into one room for a common purpose, a common wealth of knowledge, skills and experiences. It was no longer about where people had originated, it was about creating change, and a better future for our generation to live upon for many.


Which leads to the question; what is 33Sixty? It is a branch of the programmes that Common Purpose facilitates enabling participants to engage in furthering their leadership and cultural development. This year’s workshop was based in Glasgow and was kindly sponsored by the Scottish Government and Legacy 2014 with welcoming support from the University of Strathclyde. I made my journey to Scotland to be involved in this fantastic opportunity between the 11th and 14th of April.

jack 33-sixty 1

Unfortunately for the first three days I had been struck with the flu, therefore my engagement was limited and little opportunity to partake in any of the workshops and listen to guest speakers from a range of organisations and sectors. These activities gave the foundation for the project work. We then joined our respective teams and worked on our project until the final day of the programme where we then gave our pitch to a panel of judges.


When the final day came round I was excited to work with my team on an exciting initiative that could be endorsed. Before each pitch there was some nerves and tension but we remained calm and the pitch went well. We as a team had received positive feedback about our pitch which in turn lifted our spirits as we entered an important evening.


At dusk, we young ambitious leaders had the chance to greet senior leaders from far and wide around the Commonwealth. There was the chance to network and feast on a buffet… my ideal setting to showcase my passions and strengths to the world. After concluding this programme, I have imported a new sense of the Commonwealth and making an everlasting difference in the world that I will live in.


To bring to a close, I would like to thank all the staff at the University of Manchester, in particular Noeleen Hammond Jones, one of the careers advisors. Who had strongly encouraged me to get involved in this programme and break down ceilings, understanding that anything is possible! So thank you Noeleen. I was also fortunate to be supported by the team at the British Red Cross who trusted me to pursue this and I take great pride that I am representing a fantastic organisation.  I thank all the team at 33Sixtty, in addition to their sponsors, partners and supports  as they all contributed to a fantastic 4 days. My final remarks are that as one, we can achieve greatness, ‘If many can help one, one can build a generation for many’.


Thank you and yours sincerely.
Jack Milne

MSc Business Analysis and Strategic Management, University of Manchester


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