10 (and a bit) things Masters students should know about the Careers Service

  • We’re here for you during your Masters (and for 2 years after)
  • We have web pages chock full of useful information and resources including pages just for Masters students
  • We’ve made it easy for you to plan your development during your Masters year
  • You can talk to us
    1. drop in to the Atrium to talk to one of our Information Specialists
    2. book a one-to-one guidance appointment (NB – due to demand, these are reduced to 15 minute quick query sessions during September-October, but are usually 30minutes)
    3. see an Applications Advisor
    4. if you have an upcoming interview, you can get interview support
  • Manchester Gold Mentoring
  • We like connecting with you on social media (this blog, for example) and @ManPGCareers to share and discuss Masters related topics, events, opportunities, activities, hear your ideas – and just to get to know each other.
  • CareersLink advertises opportunities for you during and after your Masters (as well as events)
  • You can attend other Careers Service events to meet employers and get career ideas
  • Interested in a PhD or academic career after your Masters? Start with Doing a PhD and our award winning An Academic Career website
  • Careers Essentials – 1 hour sessions to help you plan your post-Masters career with confidence.
    Career Essentials: Becoming an Academic  
    October 4th 2016 – 1pm-2pm
    Zochonis Lecture Theatre A
    Do you want an academic career? Is it right for you? This session will help you understand the reality of academic careers, assess your potential and plan your next steps.
    Career Essentials: Making the most of Manchester for Postgraduates
    October 6th 2016 – 1pm-2pm
    Simon Building Lecture Theatre C
    Your postgraduate qualification is only one way that Manchester can help prepare you for the rest of your life. This session will help you understand and access the range of personal, career and professional development opportunities you can take advantage of while you study.
    Career Essentials: CVs for Postgraduates
    October 11th 2016 – 1pm-2pm
    Zochonis Lecture Theatre A
    Your CV needs to get you to interview. This one hour session tells you what you need to know in order to create an effective CV that works for you
    Careers Essentials: Covering Letters for Postgraduates
    October 13th 2016
    Simon Building Lecture Theatre C – 1pm -2pm,
    Your covering letter is a critical part of your application. In this one hour session you’ll find out how to write a compelling letter that will make employers notice you.
    Career Essentials: Interviews for Postgraduates
    October 18th 2016 – 1pm-2pm
    Zochonis Lecture Theatre A
    A successful interview is all that stands between you and your dream job. This one hour workshop will introduce you to the basic skills and knowledge you need to prepare for a successful interview.
    Career Essentials: Job hunting for Postgraduates
    October 20th 2016 – 1pm – 2pm
    Simon Building Lecture Theatre C
    Learn to manage your job hunt productively by examining the importance of having a strategy and take away practical activities to help you develop your own.

Make the most of your master’s with the MGP

By current Careers Service MGP Toby Manley, who will soon be leaving us for Japan. 

So, you’re coming to the end of your master’s degree, your thesis is a mere binding away from being submitted and you have overcome what initially seemed like an insurmountable mountain of postgraduate work. But what comes next?

Well, after a celebratory drink (or drinks), if you’re still looking to be challenged in new and exciting ways and want the opportunity to apply the skills you developed throughout your master’s, then look no further than MGP. The Manchester Graduate Programme was the path I chose after completing my MA and it has been one of the best decisions of my life. A decision that has secured me my dream job with a major company in Tokyo, Japan.

My MA experience

Before regaling you with why MGP is such a strong next step for master’s graduates, I’ll tell you a little about my academic background. I studied an MA in Intercultural Communication at The University of Manchester, my primary motivations being a love of exploring different cultures and a long-standing desire to work in Japan one day. But also, being conscious of my future, I felt it provided a more universal set of knowledge and skills that would be useful in our ever-globalising world.

toby-grad

Toby (centre), a proud MA Intercultural Communication graduate

In spite of my initial prudence, during my MA I directed little attention to what I would do once I graduated. I attended the odd careers fair, volunteered a little, and even managed to locate the mythical Atrium for a careers consultation. But looking back, I never engaged with these activities with any specific future goal in mind, but just to feel like I was doing something about my future. It was not until I staggered out of my departmental office, free from the burden of my dissertation and in desperate need of sleep that I realised I had no idea what comes next. Fortunately, en route to Starbucks for a celebratory cup of mud, I caught sight of a banner advertising MGP.

Why MGP?

I researched the Manchester Graduate Programme and immediately decided to apply. Many of the roles available are only a year long, and there is a diverse range of opportunities in organisations across Manchester; I saw MGP as an opportunity to apply and build on the skills I’d developed during my MA. It seemed the ideal way to confirm whether I wanted to further my studies with a PhD or pursue a career outside of academia. Moreover, still firmly set on making it to Japan, I realised I needed more business experience if I was ever going to secure a long-term position out there.

The application

The application process for most MGP roles is straightforward: stage one is to submit a CV and covering letter tailored to suit the role you are applying for; stage two is an interview. Most importantly, everyone who applies can get feedback at each stage, which is invaluable if you’re not successful first time round – like I wasn’t. I initially applied for a position in Marketing, but fell down because I paid little attention to the job description when writing my covering letter. In the feedback for this role, I was pulled up for failing to explain how my experiences were relevant to the ‘required skills’ section of the job description. When I came to create a CV and covering letter for my current role, Project Administrator within the UoM Careers Service, I stayed ahead of the game, emphasising how my skills and experiences were relevant. The extra time I invested in tailoring my application paid off and I was invited for an interview.

The interview had two stages: a face-to-face interview with a panel of two, followed by a proofreading and data analysis test. Interviews have always been my favourite part of any application. Donning a handsome suit like a knight readying for a joust and then talking about myself for an hour is my idea of a good time. I spent two days preparing using the example questions resource on the Careers Service website so I felt confident on the day. The interview itself went well; I took my time, making all the points I had prepared, and managed to form a rapport with the panel. However, I fell foul of the post-interview tests, failing to complete the proofreading component and only just managing to get through the data analysis. I left the office feeling dejected, kicking myself for my poor proofreading performance. When I received a call two days later offering me the job I think my first words were “oh my god, really?”. It just goes to show that, even if you’re not that confident about interviews, appearing enthusiastic and smiling really can make all the difference.

And since then?

If I were to sum up my experience of being a Project Administrator in three words, they would be: stimulating, diverse and rewarding. Since day one I’ve been challenged with opportunities that have enabled me to have a genuine impact on the University and its students. I’ve managed my own marketing project, written blog posts and even organised University-wide events, all on top of the day-to-day responsibility of managing the University’s vacancy advertising system, CareersLink.

When I first started, I didn’t feel prepared to transition from the world of academia to the world of business. But ultimately, using the skills I gained from my MA in a business context has given me confidence and experiences that I will draw on throughout the rest of my working life. Indeed, thanks to the opportunities I have taken up since my MA, I was able to secure a spot on a two-year graduate programme in one of Japan’s biggest companies. Ultimately, being able to talk about my valuable MGP experiences made me stand out as a candidate for the role, and the expert advice and support from The Careers Service enabled me to articulate them convincingly. MGP really can make your dreams come true. It’s a fairy careers mother.

toby-japen

Toby enjoying Japan – before he makes to move to work over there

10 (and a bit) things PhDs should know about the Careers Service

  1. We’re here for you during your PhD (and for 2 years after)
  2. We have web pages chock full of useful information and resources including the THE Award winning An Academic Career
  3. You can talk to us
    1. drop in to the Atrium to talk to one of our Information Specialists
    2. book a one-to-one guidance appointment (NB – due to demand, these are reduced to 15 minute quick query sessions during September-October, but are usually 30 minutes)
    3. if you are a HUMS PGR – book a one-to-one guidance appointment in the Ellen Wilkinson
    4. see an Applications Advisor
    5. if you have an upcoming interview, you can get interview support
  4. Manchester Gold Doctoral Researcher
  5. We like connecting with you on social media (this blog, for example) and @ManPGCareers to share and discuss PhD related topics, events, opportunities, activities, hear your ideas – and just to get to know each other.
  6. CareersLink advertises opportunities for you during and after your PhD (as well as events)
  7. Careers Essentials – 1 hour sessions open to all postgraduates to help you plan your post-PhD career with confidence.
    Career Essentials: Becoming an Academic
    October 4th 2016 – 1pm-2pm
    Zochonis Lecture Theatre A
    Do you want an academic career? Is it right for you? This session will help you understand the reality of academic careers, assess your potential and plan your next steps.
    Career Essentials: Making the most of Manchester for Postgraduates
    October 6th 2016 – 1pm-2pm
    Simon Building Lecture Theatre C
    Your postgraduate qualification is only one way that Manchester can help prepare you for the rest of your life. This session will help you understand and access the range of personal, career and professional development opportunities you can take advantage of while you study.
    Career Essentials: CVs for Postgraduates
    October 11th 2016 – 1pm-2pm
    Zochonis Lecture Theatre A
    Your CV needs to get you to interview. This one hour session tells you what you need to know in order to create an effective CV that works for you
    Careers Essentials: Covering Letters for Postgraduates
    October 13th 2016
    Simon Building Lecture Theatre C – 1pm -2pm,
    Your covering letter is a critical part of your application. In this one hour session you’ll find out how to write a compelling letter that will make employers notice you.
    Career Essentials: Interviews for Postgraduates
    October 18th 2016 – 1pm-2pm
    Zochonis Lecture Theatre A
    A successful interview is all that stands between you and your dream job. This one hour workshop will introduce you to the basic skills and knowledge you need to prepare for a successful interview.
    Career Essentials: Job hunting for Postgraduates
    October 20th 2016 – 1pm – 2pm
    Simon Building Lecture Theatre C
    Learn to manage your job hunt productively by examining the importance of having a strategy and take away practical activities to help you develop your own.
  8. We run workshops with the Faculties – check the Training Catalogue throughout the year
  9. You can attend other Careers Service events to meet employers and get career ideas
  10. The Pathways Event – careers for researchers – is coming June 2017

Do the thing that scares you!

By former Careers Service employee Bryony Spencer – who has recently made the move to the Big City. 

Something I learned during my time at university is that you should always say “yes” to the things that scare you. Typically, these are the things that teach you more about yourself – what you enjoy, what you’re capable of, what drives you, and what you want to do more of in the future. For me this meant studying abroad in Sweden for six months, but examples could also include skydiving, bungee jumping or para-sailing – or even applying for a job that requires you to move to London.

london-1-For those of you who’ve come to The University of Manchester from London or elsewhere down south, this might not seem like a big deal. But for a proud Northern girl who’s lived her whole life in Manchester (aside from my aforementioned study abroad period in Sweden, from which I knew I would come home after six months), a permanent move to the capital for a new job seemed a very big deal.
Here’s why:

  1. London is expensive. A friend of mine from Windsor marvelled when he could get five pints for a tenner in Manchester, where before a £10 note would buy him two drinks back home. The rent per month for a double room (yes, just a room) in London’s Underground Zone 2 would get me a semi-detached three-bedroom house near Manchester. And commuting will cost me twice as much in London as in Manchester.
  1. I didn’t know anyone in London and had no idea where to live or how to go about finding somewhere to live. Which areas were more expensive than others, and which areas were less desirable to live in? How did Oyster cards work, and would an Underground travel card let me on the buses too?
  1. I was going to be a five-hour drive (or two-and-a-bit hour train ride) away from my family and all my friends. Although I’d been further away in Sweden, I knew that in six months I’d be back home. My twelve-month graduate scheme in London would lead to a permanent job with the company, meaning that, aside from the odd trip home every now and then, I would be away from my loved ones for a long, long time.
  1. It’s widely held that Southern folk aren’t as nice as us Northerners. This is something I swiftly found to be in true in my first week as a London resident, when a lady opted to tell me where to go with two short, sharp words rather than opt for the traditional “excuse me” when I got in her way on crowded Oxford Street.

So, why make the move then? Well, my enthusiasm for the job I was applying for won out over my concerns about living in London. Let’s not forget this was a job I had applied to and been rejected from just one year before. This graduate scheme would set me up for the marketing career I hoped to have, allowing me to work on truly impactful campaigns while exposing me to exciting clients and valuable contacts for my future. There was no way I could let this opportunity pass me by!

London 3My first few weeks as a London resident have already contained their fair share of challenges. I moved in to be greeted by a flat caked in dust and grime, uncleaned since the previous residents left, and so had to stock up on cleaning products and give the place several goings-over before I could get settled. I navigated two tubes and a bus to get to IKEA to fully kit out my room. I’ve faced the hustle and bustle (and commuter rage) of Oxford Street, sourced a local gym that won’t break the bank, and survived scorching 31 degree heat, the likes of which the North has never seen.

Tonnes of new experience racked up, and I’ve still yet to start my graduate scheme – but I know however tough it gets, I’ll be pleased and proud to be doing something I enjoy and taking great steps for my future. I’m confident that I’ll overcome those challenges just as successfully as I overcame the limescale-riddled kitchen sink of my flat.

Plus, London’s not all bad. Yes it’s busy and yes it’s pricey – but a visit to the British Museum, a sunny stroll through Hyde Park, a taste of Camden’s markets and my upcoming graduate scheme are all experiences I wouldn’t have had access to if I had stayed home in Manchester.

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.

charting-masters-success_1438165942564_block_0

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

 

back-to-school

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:

lastrecessionjobads

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:

jobadsrecentannual

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 …

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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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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

renoldpathwaysconcourse

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.

Bethscake

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).

ChongweiandJack

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.

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