February News and Updates for Masters students

The work of the Careers Service is designed and delivered to give you control over your career (= job + life). None of us can ever have 100% control but through self-awareness and other skills of career management, you become more able to adapt and overcome adversities that are out of your immediate control, and able to seek guidance for support and advice for dealing with things both in and out of your control.

snowdrops

With this in mind, I’ll be re-running some of the Careers Essentials workshops in February, for anyone who missed them last time around. You can find out more on our Postgraduate Events page:

Careers Essentials for Postgraduates

http://www.careers.manchester.ac.uk/postgraduates/events/

It’s not too late for a PhD

Currently jobs.ac.uk is advertising 884 global opportunities and find a PhD has over 11 000

Don’t forget to check out our online resources if your just starting think about further study: http://www.careers.manchester.ac.uk/study/

Getting ready for making applications?

Not sure where to start?Why not here?  http://www.careers.manchester.ac.uk/postgraduates/masters/masters-apply/

Broaden your search

Look out for jobs with employers you’ve never heard of, whether large or small. After the autumn rush, the majority of jobs are for smaller or less well-known employers. Note: “Smaller employer” does not mean “smaller job”. Just imagine getting in on the early days of a company who could be the next “Google” or “Red Bull”.

Build and maintain your support network

Our recent research indicates that graduate who move quickly and smoothly into good graduate jobs tend to share career and employability tips and advice amongst their friends and social contacts, not just with employers or academics. Everyone’s heard of the high profile graduate programmes advertised in the autumn. Your contacts could be the way you hear about less well-known jobs or postgraduate programmes (particularly PhDs) available later in your final year.

Last but not least…

Find out how to ask for references: https://manunicareersblog.com/2016/03/07/how-to-ask-for-letters-of-references/

January News and Updates for PGRs

A big welcome to all the new PGR students who’ve just arrived at the University of Manchester!

Spring is in the air. It’s true. Leaving work in the evening, I’ve detected a glimmer of sunlight lingering in the western sky.  More significantly, snowdrops, that well known harbinger of British Spring, have appeared in our garden (we live 200 m higher than Manchester, so I come into work to get warm).

Anne Bradstreet (1612-1672) was an early English poet in North America (unusual for being a published poet at a time when, according to her contemporary, Edward Hopkins, Governor of Connecticut (my home state for anyone interested) writing and reading should be left for men, “whose minds are stronger”).  Amongst her literary legacy, a particular quote of Mrs Bradstreet’s seems apt as we perch on the threshold of Spring 2017:

“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.”

Anne Bradstreet, Meditations Divine and Moral

The work of the Careers Service is designed and delivered to give you control over your career (= job + life).  None of us can ever have 100% control but through self-awareness and other skills of career management, you become more able to adapt and overcome adversities that are out of your immediate control, and able to seek guidance for support and advice for dealing with things both in and out of your control.

snowdrops

With this in mind, I’ll be re-running some of the Careers Essentials workshops in February, for anyone who missed them last time around. You can find out more on our Postgraduate Events page:

Careers Essentials for Postgraduates

http://www.careers.manchester.ac.uk/postgraduates/events/

For new PhD students – don’t miss:

10 and a bit things you should know about the Careers Service: https://manunicareersblog.com/2016/09/14/10-and-a-bit-things-phds-should-know-about-the-careers-service/

Would building better relationships help you adapt and be resilient?

Read this guest blog post on by Sue Colbeck to find out more about the skills of relationship building with colleagues: https://manunicareersblog.com/2015/03/20/relationships-are-they-a-skill/

Getting ready for making applications?

Not sure where to start? A first port of call is the Applications and Interviews section of the Careers Service website – find out what you do know, what you don’t know, review your application and interview strengths and weaknesses – then take action before that crucial deadline. http://www.careers.manchester.ac.uk/applicationsinterviews/

International students –

Don’t forget about the 12 month visa extension for PhDs.  Find out about this and more on our International pages: http://www.careers.manchester.ac.uk/international/

Applying for the NHS Scientist Training Programme, 2017

2017 STP – opened 16th January, closes Monday 13th February at 5pm

conical flasksThe NHS Scientist Training Programme (STP) is open for applications! Thousands of scientists and engineers of all disciplines work for the NHS, and the STP is how they recruit most of their Clinical Science trainees each year.

Many Manchester students and postgrads apply to the STP, so we update this blog post each year to help you navigate the process.  We will also update this post over the next few months when there is new information to share with you.

N.B. Some of the resources mentioned in this post may only be accessible by University of Manchester students. If you are not a Manchester student, have a chat with your own Careers Service about the support available to you.


UPDATE (Added 7/2/2017)
Scotland operate their own recruitment programme for Clincial Scientist Trainees and you can find details on the NHS Education for Scotland website. They tend to advertise their vacancies after England and Wales, and I spotted today that they have started advertising for Medical Physics trainees. They have 9-10 vacancies in the Grampian region and the closing date is the 1st March. Bookmark this page if you are interested in training north of the border!


UPDATE (Added 3/2/2017)
I have updated a short slide presentation with some extra tips on tackling the application form and online tests. If you are a University of Manchester Biological Sciences student, you should have been emailed the link already by your School. If you are a University of Manchester graduate, contact the Careers Information team to obtain access. If neither of these apply, contact your own uni careers service ‘cos they may have their own special help too!


Tips for applying 

You have until 5pm on Monday 13th February at the latest to submit your online application and (for anyone who isn’t an in-service applicant) until 5pm on Wednesday 15th February to complete two online tests – but get in as soon as possible as applications are reviewed as they come in.

The National School of Healthcare Science website has so much information for applicants it can be overwhelming – however, if you want the best chance of getting into these super-competitive posts, you’ll hoover it all up and use the advice in your application. A good place to start is by reading the STP Frequently Asked Questions for Applicants 2017.

The list of specialisms by location will be updated throughout the application window, and includes a new specialism for this year, Andrology. The list was updated 6 times last year, so check back regularly for additional vacancies (as of 27 Feb, there were 255 posts across 24 specialisms). You’ll have to inspect each specialism individually, but as it’s better to focus on a specific specialism in your application, it does make sense. (Applying for lots of different specialisms just to train in a specific location has never been recommended, never mind the fact it’d be tricky to tailor your application for multiple specialisms given the word count for each section!).

stp-vacancy-table-27-feb

We were told last year that only 3 candidates are interviewed per post, so the competition is red hot.  You’ll therefore need some great answers to the essay questions, so set aside some time to do your research, think about your experience and craft your answers – you need to do yourself justice here.

Online application form

The online application form is near on identical to last year, so if you applied last year, you know what to expect. Frustratingly, there is still no easy way to preview all the questions before you start to fill it out – so we’ve had a sneaky peek for you.

Top Tip
As you go through the online form for the first time, you can’t advance on to the next page without completing the mandatory sections. However, you can review and change most of the answers once you get to the end – just don’t press “Submit” until you have filled it all in and checked it!

There are lots of mandatory sections, and once you fill in some answers, other mandatory questions may appear.  Be prepared to answer A LOT of questions about eligibility, fitness to practise etc before you even get to the bit where you fill in your education!  You also need to supply the details of three referees, one of whom must be your most recent education supervisor (or line manager, if you have graduated and are in work).

When your application form is read by the people who will shortlist candidates for interview, they will not be able to see the choices that candidates have made. Hence, if you choose two different specialisms your application will go to both short listing panels, who will not know if you have ranked that specialism as first or second choice. They also will not see any candidate names – it is done completely blind.

Essay questions

The form asks the same four questions as last year and, again, you are allowed a maximum of 250 words per answer. An implicit test here is whether you can write accurately AND concisely.

1.      Your knowledge, motivation and commitment to the Training Programme

In less than 250 words, please state why you have applied for the Healthcare Scientist Training Programme. Give details of your motivation, suitability and future career development or aspirations. Describe what actions you have undertaken to increase your knowledge, experience and understanding of healthcare science and the training programme for your chosen specialism(s).

2.      YOUR COMMITMENT TO HEALTHCARE SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

In less than 250 words, please describe your commitment, interest and enjoyment of scientific practice and technology. Please provide examples of how you seek to develop, improve and adopt innovative processes in your work or studies.

3.      VALUES AND BEHAVIOURS

The NHS Constitution* values and behaviours are paramount to the delivery of healthcare services.  In less than 250 words please describe how within your own experience you would display these qualities.

(*Have you read it yet? You can find it here)

4.      TEAM WORKING AND LEADERSHIP

In less than 250 words describe occasions where you have worked as part of a team and outline the skills you used to benefit the outputs of that team. Also, please describe a situation or situations when you have taken the opportunity to lead others and identify how you managed any challenges that arose.

There’s help on completing application forms on our website, including a useful hand-out. We definitely recommend taking the Context-Action-Result approach to structure your answers, to help keep them concise. Always take time to proof read your answers before you submit them (a good tip is to read them backwards to spot typos). University of Manchester students and recent graduates can get assistance from the Applications Advice service in the Atrium in University Place and also look out for Appointments in your School.

Online tests

After you submitted your online application, you have two tests to complete before the deadline, and you have to get through each of these for your application to get considered.

The tests are numerical reasoning and logical reasoning, and you can practise here. We guess they’re using logical reasoning tests to find people who are good at spotting patterns and trends (useful for diagnostics) as well as deductive logic. These tests can be very challenging if you’re not familiar with them, so do take time to practice, especially as only one attempt is permitted per email address!  Previous applicants tell us that with practice you can learn how to answer the logical reasoning questions accurately, so it is worth working your way through example tests.

What is the next one in the sequence?

What is the next one in the sequence?

You might also want to check out the psychometric test info on our website, including practice test materials. We have a new resource this year, Graduates First, which provides worked solutions for the answers you get wrong in its tests. I’d definitely suggest using a proper calculator when completing the numerical reasoning test and not the one on your ‘phone.

You’ll be able to do the STP tests at any time until the closing date but don’t leave it until the last minute: what would you do if you suddenly lost your internet connection or the site crashed with the weight of all the last minute tests being taken.

If you have a disability or a condition like dyslexia, you can request extra time to complete these tests. You’ll need to send evidence to support your request  at least 3 working days before the aptitude tests deadline date i.e. the 11th February!  If you fail to notify the team before the deadline date, you may not be granted the extra time you need.

Being optimistic …

If you’re one of the lucky ones who gets invited to interview, you might want to check out the interview dates for your specialism and keep the date free – looks like there’s no flexibility, so move heaven and earth to get there if you get invited.

Good luck – we are rooting for you!

Paid work experience opportunities for PhDs in January – invigilation

 

University of Manchester Examination Invigilation opportunity for PhD students

Semester 1 2017 exams – Monday 16th January 2017 – Friday 27th January 2017

 Completed application forms received by: 12noon Monday 19th December 2016

Notification of shortlisting: Tuesday 20th December 2016

Interview: Wednesday 4th January 2017

Training: Monday 9thth January 2017  

 http://documents.manchester.ac.uk/DocuInfo.aspx?DocID=23189

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.

reindeer

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

img_0578

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!

December news and updates for Masters students

December is the month of optimism.  Although the solstice on December 21st may be the shortest day of the year, it’s the gateway to better things – from then on, days only get longer and brighter (notice I didn’t say ‘sunnier’).

This has nothing to do with careers, but as a bit of fun, you can participate in the winter solstice in Orkney, an archipelago of islands off the far north coast of Scotland. Every year, local photographer Charles Tait, in partnership with Historic Scotland runs a web cam in Maeshowe, a prehistoric chambered cairn on Orkney’s West Mainland.  For a few days each midwinter, the sun shines directly through the cairn’s entrance passage, illuminating the cairn’s interior.

Whilst we’re on the topic, mid-winter is also a good time shed some light on your career options… file0001176305134

Essential Career Actions for December

Give yourself a pat on the back, take some time to wind down and celebrate (maybe with a trip to the Christmas markets?) as you’ve made it through the first semester of your Masters! The upcoming winter break is a good time to reflect on the past few months – take a look at what you’ve achieved and what’s gone well, and maybe what hasn’t gone quite to plan and how to change that in the new year.

The winter break is also the prime time to be thinking about your future, whatever stage you’re at. Whether you’re applying for graduate schemes, wondering what other jobs might be out there, or thinking of further study, we’ve got a graduate recruitment timetable that’ll give you the low down on essential actions to take this year, and when to take them.

View our essential actions 

Vacancy alert!

If you haven’t started looking for job opportunities (graduate scheme or otherwise) for after you finish your course, December is a very good time to start:

Careers Link – our very own ‘job shop’ for University of Manchester students

Targeted job searches and vacancy source by career area in the Careers Service Which Career? Section

Passport Career – for those looking for a career anywhere in the world.  Passport also runs helpful webinars on working internationally.

Knowing where to look for jobs is fine, but…“Help! I’m a Masters student – and I’m not sure what I want to do next.” 

If you don’t know what you want to do next, be reassured you are not alone.

This article by our Postgraduate Careers Manager, Elizabeth, is a fantastic place to get started with easy things you can reflect on to help you decide what direction your career could take after graduation:

It’s never too early to start preparing for interviews

If you missed the Career Essentials: Successful Interviews for Postgrads, you can find the slides here. If you prefer the face-to-face approach, a little elf has just produced some teaching space, so keep an eye out for more Careers Essentials sessions in early 2017.

Our ‘Interviews’ pages contain information, advice, practice materials and videos.

Some excellent general preparation advice.

…and advice for more specific types of interviews

god Jul!    glædelig jul!    Gleðileg jól!    hyvää joulua!

5 popular employer selection tests for students, and strategies for handling them!

Written by Amanda Conway, Careers Consultant

The keys of successYou open the email, it’s from the employer and (yes!) you’ve been invited for interview. But wait, you have to sit a test first? Is it time to panic, or are there any top tips for acing these tests and fast-tracking yourself onto the “selected” pile? We think so.

  1.  The “does your brain melt when the clock is ticking?” test

AKA: The verbal, numerical or logical reasoning tests

Still a firm favourite and used by over 70% of the major graduate employers, these tests explore how well you can reason with either written, numerical or diagrammatical data.

Our tips:

  • Don’t underestimate the impact that familiarity can have on your result. Whilst these tests are generally good at predicting future performance, they don’t account for you simply not being prepared to sit a test. Take a practice test and feel more comfortable with what follows.
  • Watch out if your basic maths is a bit rusty! Check out the free video tutorials on the basics of numeracy from percentages and ratios to exchange rates and beyond. Think “Year 11 type stuff”… nothing more.

Watch out for: The clock will be ticking, but don’t worry too much. Although you need to work quickly, you don’t usually have to finish all the questions to go through.

Best places to practice: Without a doubt, the Graduates First site is our number one go-to recommendation – you get over 20 different practice reasoning tests to try for free, video tutorials for numeracy and better-still, you can even find out what the right answers were and where you went wrong, too.

  1. The “how soon could we let you loose on our clients and customers?” test

AKA: The Situational Judgement Test

Relatively new, and yet increasingly popular, these tests are a “Do you know much about what this job really involves” test where you have to decide on your most (and least) preferred ways to respond in a series of scenarios.

Our tips:

  • Find out more about the job you are applying for – the skills sought and the qualities required. Job profiles on the organisation’s website or on prospects.ac.uk will help.
  • If you need a steer, perhaps think about the importance of customer focus, client care, professionalism, effective communication or taking action.
  • Doing nothing in a situation is often not a good strategy!
  • Take a look at the employer’s website and explore the values or behaviours they aspire to- this could give you a few more clues about what is important to them.

Watch out for: Think carefully over your least preferred option – it’s not just about selecting the most appropriate one. It’s also about being able to recognise how not to behave.

Best places to practice:  Beyond Graduates First, we would also recommend taking a look at Assessment Day.

  1. The “will others want to sit next to you?” test

AKA: The personality questionnaire

Only joking, of course they will. (Why wouldn’t they?) For many jobs and roles, organisations seek a diverse workforce who approach problems differently and bring in alternative perspectives. However, joking aside, for some roles employers find it useful to consider whether your typical approaches are appropriate for their jobs. For example, would you really want to see someone who is not particularly “rule conscious” serving in your police force or someone who doesn’t come across very confidently with new people in your lead sales role? Some jobs just utilise particular strengths more than others.

Our tips:

-Try to answer honestly and consistently – it’s about your future fit and happiness in a role after all.

– Have a go at some of the online questionnaires now, as they could give you a steer on jobs that may be a good fit for you.

– Try not to worry too much about these assessments. Firms often look more at extreme behaviours that would not be a good fit rather than only looking for the narrow profile of an ideal candidate. They will tend to use other indicators from your application or performance to inform their selection too.

Watch out for: Impression management scales are present in many tests to uncover whether you are trying to impress the employer. For example, have you really “always got on with everyone?”

Best places to practice: Graduates First has a personality assessment questionnaire that you can try out. Jobmi.com is also a great site for getting a sense of some of your strengths. 

  1. The “I am no longer a test, I am now a fun computer game” test

AKA: Pymetrics or Games-Based Assessments

New for this year, and being used by a few of the big names, these tests involve either short online rapid-response games like memorising number sequences, sharing winnings (or not), and responding to images, or playing longer interactive games. It’s not always easy to be sure what these tests are getting at but scoring could reflect how you approach problems, whether you plan ahead, your determination in the face of setbacks and your ability to stay focused. Testers stress the value of collecting data from these real-life in-game scenarios, as opposed to relying on how you say you would behave!

Our tips:

– Are you clear on the rules before you begin? Maybe worth reading one more time before you click start?

– Have you made sure you won’t be distracted mid-game? Are all your notifications switched off, is your battery fully charged on your device and have you been to the loo? (This may be one time you don’t want anyone tweeting you the latest “Fail” video or a shot of rabbit on a scooter)

Watch out for: Don’t try too hard to second guess what these games are looking for – different firms will have their own individual requirements from each game. You may choose to focus on making the most profit, for example, to show your commercial flair, when a game may actually be looking for your trust in others.

Best places to practice: www.pymetrics.com or www.arcticshores.com

  1. The “bet you wish you had kept that grammar text book” test!

AKA: Blended verbal reasoning test

The final test in our big five line-up is a new test for 2016, the Blended Verbal Reasoning Test, being used by a few financial services firms this year. Picture a blend of traditional verbal reasoning questions combined with ones about grammar, spelling, punctuation, choosing writing styles for different audiences and communication techniques.

Our tips:

  • Get the basics right and practise your verbal reasoning test taking, then take it up a notch by revisiting some of your old work on Grammar, Spelling and Punctuation. Just googling “Key stage 2 / 3 English Literacy” can help you to access sites like BBC Bitesize http://www.bbc.co.uk/education, and IXL https://uk.ixl.com/
  • To help with professional versus informal communication styles you could compare the style of annual reports or executive summaries with the way organisations present themselves on social media or in the PR section of their websites. Comparing the written styles of the broadsheet newspapers to the tabloids is another strategy.

Watch out for: Although this one is a real newbie, with the stress employers are placing on accuracy and professionalism, this test could really take off.

Best places to practice: CAPP have kindly put some sample questions online at: http://practice.cappassessments.com/Vrt/VrtPage.html

Ready to click go?

So our run-down is complete and now it’s up to you. Get practising, pound the pages of Graduates First and other free practice testing sites and then go show them what you are made of!

www.manchester.ac.uk/careers/psychometric

November News and Updates for PGRs

“In November, the smell of food is different. It is an orange smell. A squash and pumpkin smell. It tastes like cinnamon and can fill up a house in the morning, can pull everyone from bed in a fog. Food is better in November than any other time of the year.”  Cynthia Rylant

And what better food than food for thought? This month we’ve got career opportunities with Researchers in Schools and the Civil Service Fast Stream (but that’s not all, don’t forget to investigate CareersLink if you are interested in what might be on offer outside academia). You can also find out why a new online resource dealing with financial news is good for you (yes, you, too, over in the back on the left studying Victorian drama and you over on the right studying composite materials for aerospace applications…). And more…read on!

Researchers in Schools – a teacher training programme for people with PhDs

Researchers in Schools will be holding an information webinar in December.  Find out more about signing up by checking @ManPGCareers during the week of November 28th

Researchers in Schools offers PhDs a unique, fully salaried route into teaching tailored to their abilities, knowledge and experience. Through a bespoke programme blending classroom teaching and research opportunities, you’ll develop the skills to become a highly-effective classroom teacher, helping support pupils, regardless of background, to excel and progress to higher education.

  • Pursue a three-year training and professional development programme placing you directly into a school to develop your teaching practice on the job.
  • Gain Qualified Teacher Status through a structured programme of observation and classroom teaching.
  • Undertake our Research Leader in Education Award, a professional qualification recognising excellence in research practice within schools.
  • Access bespoke training, supporting you to develop strong leadership skills and work towards the programme’s mission.
  • Receive one day per week off-timetable to pursue the programme’s wider aims: Deliver subject- and education-focused research and high-impact interventions in schools to boost attainment and promote university access.

Benefits include:

  • A highly competitive salary and benefits package with salary uplift for maths and physics teachers
  • Dedicated time off-timetable to pursue the Researchers in Schools aims and maintain a research profile
  • Minimum 11 weeks’ paid holiday

For more information and to apply, visit www.researchersinschools.org

Next application deadline 8th January 2017

Last chance to apply for the Civil Service Fast Stream – applications are closing on the 30th of November

https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/civil-service-fast-stream

You can find useful background information to help you apply on the Careers Service website, too.

 Read this even if you think you don’t need to!

(Commercial awareness made easy)

Commercial awareness is essential to every job, whether you are an academic, a teacher, working for a charity – and working for the Civil Service. (It’s also useful for being an engaged citizen).  Keeping up to date with financial and related news can feel overwhelming, especially for those who have little to no interest in business news.

Until now.

Finimize is a financial news service with a twist – it aims to help readers learn from the news. Items are presented under 3 headings:

  1. What’s going on here?
  2. What does this mean?
  3. Why should I care?

In their own words:

“Finimize is financial news for everyday people. We strive to demystify finance by making financial news easy to understand, succinct and relevant to our readers. By enhancing their financial literacy, we give our readers the ability to make more informed decisions when it comes to their own money.”

Sign up is free.

Do you know Which Career?

It’s surprising the number of PhDs that I meet who’ve never visited the Careers Service website (or know that we have one!).  Which is a shame, because there is a lot of useful stuff on it.

This month I want to highlight our Which Career? section.    For those who are unsure, open minded or absolutely mystified as to possible careers post-PhD, these pages give you the opportunity to explore different career areas from the comfort of your own desk/bed/bean bag chair/wherever.

What does a management consultant actually do?  (My top question from PhD students).

Can I use my language skills in a career outside of academia?

What about careers in libraries and archives?

Where can I put my social stats skills to work?

…and much much more.

3 Things to do before & after the Law Fair

Guest blog post written by Avni Devgan, Law student at the University of Manchester

law-fair-carousel

The Law Fair is now less than a week away and for those who are interested in attending it, here is a list of things you should do before and after the fair to get as much out of it as you can.

Before the Fair:

  1. Go through the list of exhibitors on the Careers Service website and try and get an idea of who you would be interested to interact with.
    Every organisation, firm and chamber has a different work ethos and demographic so make sure you’re making the most of your time by meeting the ones that match what you may be looking for now, or in the future. You don’t have to go on to every exhibitor’s website and scan all the information on it on to your memory. However, narrowing down what you’re looking for by choosing between organisations that are national or international, engage barristers or solicitors, sponsor work visas or do not sponsor them, fund your training or don’t, will help you gain some guidance to navigate your way through the fair. When you’ve got an idea of who you’d like to meet (or even if you don’t!), it’s a good idea to prepare a list of questions to take with you, such as how to get some work experience at the organisation, or about the work they’re engaged in.
  1. Pick up a Starting Point Guide for careers in law from the Careers Service (or view it online). 
    If you think you may be interested in a career in law, do your research and find out what positions and sectors suit you. From being a solicitor to a barrister, and even a CiLex, these guides offer a lot of information about what pathways to working in law are currently available and how you can prepare yourself to work in them. Knowing about these pathways will also aid you in narrowing down what you like, who you would like to meet at the Fair and what you would like to ask them.
    Starting Point Guides are available from The Careers Service, in the Atrium, University Place, or online here.
    Law for law students guide
    Law for non-law students guide
  1. Try and keep an open mind.
    The Fair is a place where you can learn about things you may not know by interacting with people representing different legal organisations engaged in different legal work. Coming to the Fair with preconceived notions about what may not suit you may result in you losing out an opportunity to discover a legal career you could be truly passionate about. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t research on firms and careers that you know will be interested in working in, but do try and think outside the box and interact with exhibitors who you may not have considered while doing that research.

After the Fair:

  1. Look for vacation schemes, mini-pupillage or any work experience related to the career pathway that interests you.
    If you’ve found something you think you would like to work in, look for some internships so you can experience what it would be like to work in that position or at that particular organisation. The exhibitors should have information on such internships and how you can apply for them, and they may also be advertised on CareersLink and websites such as TARGETjobs and Milkround.
  1. Book an appointment with the Careers Service for CV writing advice and interview practice.
    These appointments are extremely helpful as they help you to polish your CV and tailor it according to the internship you are applying for. Interview practice is a great way of knowing what you can expect out of interviews, and to prepare for them if you’ve gotten through the first round of internship applications.
  1. Research on whether you need to study further for the career you’re interested in pursuing.
    Studying at university is expensive and it is important that you know whether you need to undertake further studies for the career you’re interested in pursuing and if yes, how you can arrange the finances for it. Pick up a Starting Point Guide for the career you’re interested in from the Careers Service to know more about this, and then make an appointment for career advice to decide how you should plan for this period of study.

You can sign up for your free ticket in advance here, to avoid queueing on the day.

Also, make sure that you download the new Manchester Careers Fair app – it’s the digital fair guide to see which exhibitors are at the fair, where they are, and what opportunities they have available. Available now on the App Store and Google Play store.

I hope this helps and and that you have a great time at the Fair, good luck!

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