Where are all the first year internships?

roo resumes“Where are all the internships?” said the first year.

Finding an internship in your first year can be quite a challenge.
If you were in the very small percentage of First Year students who thought about an internship in the first term, you may have been lucky enough to land yourself either a Spring Insight or a Summer Internship- if so, well done! As for the rest of you, if you have only just started to think about internships you may be finding the search rather difficult. If so, listen up…

  1. Internships tend to be targeted towards people in their penultimate year of study.

The reason for this is because a lot of big companies hire interns in the hope that they may want to get onto their grad scheme and work for them permanently after they finish their degree.

Of course there is no guarantee that the company will be hiring graduates, nor any guarantee that the intern would stand any higher chance of securing the Grad Scheme than anyone else. Nevertheless, you can see why a lot of employers target those who are going into final year as it does kind of make sense.

  1. Internships are just one of the many options you have for getting some experience this summer.

Work shadowing/ experience can be a really good way to get an insight into a company and is often far less structured than an internship.  The benefit of work experience/shadowing is that you can often negotiate your own terms rather than the solidity of a structured internship.
You could also use your summer to get some part time work/volunteering under your belt. There is value in every single job you do, so don’t be put off by working for a slightly less well known company. You don’t have the luxury of a big long summer when you finish University so use your time to try new things!

  1. How do I find an opportunity if I can’t see any advertised online?

Ever heard of the phrase ‘Good things come to those who wait’? If so, ignore it. It’s a terrible piece of advice! The reality is that good things come to those who work hard, network well and are incredibly resilient.

Contacting companies directly can be a really good way of landing yourself an opportunity. This is what is formally referred to as ‘The Hidden Jobs Market’. It’s the idea that there are hidden, unadvertised opportunities which can be snapped up by people who are prepared to do a bit of the leg work.  However, it’s not easy, you should be prepared to have 20 emails ignored for every 1 that gets read so you will need a bit of resilience if you go down this path.

  1. How to a find a contact to email?

Admittedly this can be a bit difficult, but there are numerous ways you can get yourself a contact email address.

  1. Use LinkedIn.
    Don’t have a profile? Make one.
    It’s like the business version of Facebook/an online copy of your CV. You can connect with people and ask them questions and it can also be used for employer’s to head hunt you for jobs. Win, win!
  2. The Manchester Network.
    We have our very own Networking platform which is specifically designed so that students can connect with alumni to ask questions about your Career options.
  3. Manchester Gold Mentoring programme
    Taking part in our mentoring programme is your way of getting information, advice and guidance about your future from a mentor. They could be doing the job you’re aiming for, working in an area that interests you or have graduated from the same course as you.
  1. Call on anyone you have ever met, ever.
    Using your own personal contacts is another good way of getting your foot in the door.


With all this being said, there are still a few internships available. Below is a list of some of the ones which are out there, and here is an excellent site which has currently 36 other options available

If you would like an application checked over before you send it off then book yourself in for Application Advice Appointment by either calling us on 0161 275 2829, popping into The Atrium, University Place, or booking yourself one via your CareersLink Account.

Good luck!

Cecily Rooney
Careers Information & Guidance Assistant 



Use your Easter vacation to get work experience for summer

eggsin basketJPGIf you’ve not found work experience ( paid, voluntary or work shadowing) over summer yet – it’s time to get on it!

Many of you will go home over Easter or visit friends & family – it’s time to use those networks to help you.  Yes really… these people are your network, where do they work, who do they know, who are their neighbours, friends etc and where do they work?  You’d be surprised who knows whom!

You don’t have to give them the hard sell initially, just say you are looking to get some experience over summer.  They are bound to want a bit more information so …

  • What do you want to do? Are you looking for a particular industry or job role?
  • Do you want to gain some particular skills or knowledge?
  • Are you only looking for paid work?
  • Would you consider volunteering with a charity?
  • How about a few days or weeks work shadowing?
  • When are you available?

Have a CV ready that reflects what you are looking for i.e.  demonstrating relevant skills

You are asking for help so don’t be too picky or disregard opportunities that don’t match your ideal.  Have a chat / exchange emails and think about what you would get out of the opportunity.   Real commercial experience of how any business works can be valuable.

Consider doing a few different things with your summer.

Employers  are realists they know that many students need to work over summer to earn money and not everyone can or would want to intern in the Big 4!

So don’t worry if you have a job in a coffee shop or bar, that’s life, but you could consider doing some volunteering or work shadowing for a short period just to pick up some different skills too.

Get out and about this Easter.

If you want a job over summer and are going to be in that location at Easter – go out and ask!

  • Ask friends  / family in advance if they have seen anywhere advertising for summer jobs. Brush up your CV and head down there neatly dressed to make a good impression.
  • Go on a reconnaissance mission – head down the high street, ask at tourist attractions, hotels and leisure centres.  Garden centres also often take on extra summer staff. What about summer schools and kids clubs?

If they don’t have any opportunities no big deal, keep going.

Remember …

  1. Make an effort to tailor your CV so the recruiter can clearly see you have relevant skills and or experience.
  2. Keep checking advertised vacancies on CareersLink  plus other sites 
  3. If you are a pre final year student and could stay in Manchester this summer consider Student Experience Internships – SEI or Q Step 




Interested in Management Consulting? Seven tips on getting in

Image converted using ifftoanyManagement consultants are specialists who help organisations maximise their growth or improve business performance. They are called in to deal with difficult challenges the organisation is having difficulty solving themselves, or where they want a new approach. This makes management consultancy an interesting career for those who love problem solving, innovation and varied challenges. It has a mystique which attracts many graduates, which makes it a very competitive career to get into. Here are our tips for beating the odds.

  1. Do your homework

Understanding as much as you can about the industry can help you be seen as focused, well informed about the work, and make a better impression on applications and in interviews. A great place to start your research is the Management Consulting careers page on our website.

  1. Consider what specialism/s you’re interested in

‘Management Consulting’ is a broad term covering many areas of specialism, for example strategy, technology, human resources, economics. So become familiar with the different types and try to work out which area/s you find most appealing.

  1. Make contacts

Meet people working in consulting to help you gain knowledge, and find out about opportunities. Check out the events listed in CareersLink for opportunities to meet and talk to these firms.  For example, on 13th Oct (5-7pm) there’s Meet The Professionals: Finance and Consulting – where you can meet employers and alumni. The Big Careers Fair (Day 1, 18th Oct) typically attracts a number of consulting firms, and this year firms including Accenture, Deloitte, Mercer, Capco and PwC will be there.

You can apply to be matched with a mentor working in management consulting,  which can be a great way to gain inside knowledge and advice. Read about the Manchester Gold mentoring scheme for more details.

You can also use the LinkedIn alumni search as a great tool to find where previous Manchester graduates now work – useful for finding potential contacts in niche firms you can’t meet on campus. Get some great LinkedIn tips on our website about how to use it effectively, and how to make new contacts.

  1. Get relevant work experience

Consulting related experience will really help you stand out and reassure potential employers you have the right stuff. If you’re in your first year, check if any firms offer ‘Spring Internships’ or ‘Spring Insights’ which help you gain some understanding of the industry. In your second year, you should be applying for summer internships. Check the advice on the internships section of our website.

You can also join the Consulting Society, a group of like-minded fellow students who organise events for students interested in a career in consulting.

Another great way to experience working in project teams is to join Enactus, a student led organisation which uses the entrepreneurial skills of students to make positive change in communities.

  1. Consider: Is it for me?

Management Consultancy can seem appealing but it’s not all glamorous – it’s really hard work. Someone once told me that in management consulting, at times you could strike lucky and for your new project be jetting off to Madrid, but equally you could find yourself working out of a portacabin along the M4 Motorway. You go where the client is, and you have to roll up your sleeves and get on with it. Hours can be very long – you’re there to deliver results and approaching project deadlines the pressure can be intense. You are likely to travel a lot and live out of a suitcase for periods of time, so consider if that suits you and the lifestyle you want. In addition, there are the academic grades – most employers will want a minimum of a 2:1 and excellent UCAS points. 

  1. Get interested in business

Management Consultants are by nature business problem solvers. You don’t have to study a business related degree, though exposure to business concepts can be helpful. A good tip is to start following business news stories and become curious about what’s happening in different industries. If a business is underperforming, what might be causing this? What has happened in the wider industry or region which might have impacted on this? What ways out of this situation can people see?

  1. Apply early

Management Consulting internships and graduate schemes open for applications early, sometimes even in late summer before the start of the academic year. Sometimes jobs are advertised in spring, but these are rarer so plan to make applications in autumn and allow time – they take a lot of effort and only a great application will make the grade. There’s lots of applications advice on the website to get you started.

The simple 3 step approach to applying for jobs

badge-686321_640Don’t worry about your CV until you have found a vacancy to apply for.
Many students are so eager that before they even know what type of job they want to do they are writing a CV and cover letter.

1 Decide what jobs you are interested in.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a part time job, internship or graduate job, it will make your life a lot simpler if you know what you are looking for. It’s like trying to guess what present someone will like when you don’t even know them.

2 Find places that advertise those vacancies and start looking at them.
Which appeal to you and do you have the skills or qualifications they are looking for?

3 Use the list of skills the employer wants to create a CV  or application that matches their needs.
Employers will expect to see evidence of your competence to evaluate how good you would be at the job. If you have done something similar before that’s great but don’t worry if you haven’t sometimes the same skill gained in a different way is fine.(transferable skills)

Repeat step 3 for every job you apply for. Check and double check that you are matching the needs of that specific role in that specific company.

Interested in Investment Banking? Seven tips on getting in

Roll of moneyInvestment banks help organisations, individuals and governments to raise capital, often by investing in the financial markets or selling shares. They also provide other services to organisations, for example performing large mergers and acquisitions. Investment banking is a very popular area with graduates looking for a challenging career and high financial rewards, however combined with that there is a great deal of competition for places

  1. Do your homework. Understanding as much as you can about the industry can help you be seen as focused, well informed about the work, and make a better impression on applications and in interviews. A great place to start your research is the Finance careers section on our website. You can also join societies like MUTIS (Manchester University Trading and Investment Society), who a group of like-minded fellow students who organise events and training for students interested in a career in investment banking.
  2. Make contacts. Meet people working in investment banking to help you gain knowledge, and find out about opportunities. Check out the events listed in CareersLink for opportunities to meet and talk to these firms. For example, on 13th Oct (5-7pm) there’s Meet The Professionals: Finance and Consulting – where you can meet employers and alumni. The Big Careers Fair (Day 1, 18th Oct 2016) typically attracts a number of banks and other finance firms, for example Barclays, BNY Mellon, HSBC, Maven, and JLL.
    You can apply to be matched with a mentor working in investment banking, which can be a great way to gain inside knowledge and advice. Read about the Manchester Gold mentoring scheme for more details. You can also use the LinkedIn alumni search as a great tool to find where previous Manchester graduates now work – useful for finding potential contacts in niche firms you can’t meet on campus. Get some great LinkedIn tips on our website about how to use it effectively, and how to make new contacts.
  3. Be clear on the area that interests you most, and why. There are what can seem a bewildering array of roles in investment banking, and employers will expect you to understand what area interests you and why. Following the tips above will help you to do this, as the guides often point out what qualities are required for each role, and the kind of person it might suit. For example, someone who is more introverted, methodical, very good at analysis and understanding detail might be more suited to working in compliance more than trading. A great guide to help you with this is the Unofficial Guide to banking.
  4. Academic grades are very important. Most investment banks will look for a minimum 2:1 degree and approximately 320 UCAS points. If you can demonstrate that you can achieve this, you are highly unlikely to be successful. Banks receive huge numbers of applications, and can afford to select only those that meet their very high standards. Be aware that your first year grades will also be important – if you’re applying for an internship in your second year, these will be used as evidence of the grade you could achieve in your final degree result.
  5. Get work experience as early as possible. Gaining investment banking related experience is very important and will really help you get your foot in the door when competing for graduate positions. If you’re in your first year, some firms offer ‘Spring Internships’ or ‘Spring Insights’ which help you gain some understanding of the industry. In your second year, you should be applying for summer internships. Check the advice on the internships section of our website.
  6. Get interested in finance and how it works. You don’t have to study finance to work in investment banking, but gaining some knowledge of how finance works is important. You could start with following finance and investments news on the BBC website and other media, before working up the Financial Times. Websites like Investopedia have some useful guides to help you understand the terminology used in finance and banking.
  7. Apply early. Investment Banks open for applications early, and some will close before the end of October. Make your applications as early as you can and allow time – they take a lot of effort and only a great application will make the grade. There’s lots of applications advice on the website to get you started.


Get ready to return to University.

iStock_000008639225XLarge Standing on suitcaseIt may be August but sure enough that remaining time will fly by. Are you ready for the challenges of the year ahead?

Going into your second  or pre-final year?

Everyone talks about internships,  looking for one, applying, interviews & assessment centres, getting one / not getting one. The joy, the despair!

Internships are just another name for work experience. This term is often used by the big graduate recruiters and often heralds panic that if you don’t get one you won’t be able to do a graduate scheme.

NOT TRUE…. some facts

  1. Yes some companies use a summer internship to cherry pick candidates to fast track to their graduate scheme.
  2. Not all graduate recruiters even have an internship scheme.
  3. Many students will intern in one company but do a graduate scheme in a different one. It’s a great way to try things out.
  4. Not all graduates who go onto graduate schemes do a formal “internship” many do other summer work experience.
  5. It’s not all about what you do in your summer. Recruiters want well rounded individuals so there are opportunities to evidence your skills through  volunteering, societies, sports and casual jobs.

Going into your final year?

See above but insert the word graduate scheme LOL!  No really it’s true.

Most graduates don’t do “a graduate scheme” it’s only a small part of the graduate job market.

  1. There are plenty of options for graduates in what you might call non corporates.  Public sector, not for profit and small and medium size businesses of all types and  creative industries etc.
  2. The big graduate recruiters really want good candidates so they will be highly visible. But don’t let it put you off either applying for them or looking for the quieter companies who might silently and without any fuss slip a vacancy into CareersLink for you to find.
  3. You CAN get work experience after you graduate too – consider MGP.
  4. We have a range of options to help you look for whatever job you want to do next.
  5. YOU WANT TO STUDY SOME MORE.  Cool! we can help with that too 🙂

How to prepare

  1. Enjoy the rest of your summer and make the most of whatever is going on.  Make sure you make a note of activities where you have been challenged or learned a new skill, it will come in handy believe me.
  2. Start looking on CareersLink now some internships and graduate schemes are open for summer 2017.
  3. No clue what you want to do yet? That’s ok – you don’t have to make decisions for life, is there anything you would like to try our find out more about?

If all this worries you just come and see us or chat to us online 

What have you learnt this summer?

It’s the middle of summer – your last day at university, school or college feels like a long time ago and yet you’ve still got a month to go. Not bad, eh?

We know that you’ll be busy over the summer, whether you’re doing some voluntary work, working a temporary job to get some cash in your pocket or even spending some time travelling and experiencing new cultures. But how many of you have stopped to think about what you’re actually gaining from your summer experiences?

Sabrina Tan

Sabrina Tan: Project Support Intern at the University enjoys a team outing at Chester Zoo.

Come September, there will be so much going on that you might start to forget some of the valuable things you learnt over the summer. So why not take a minute to reflect on what you’ve done so far, and what you want to achieve with the rest of your time away from university? You’ll thank yourself for it when it comes to applying for jobs, internships or placements.

When considering your achievements, it’s useful to ask yourself a few questions and note down the answers. We asked our current batch of students taking part in a Summer Experience Internship (SEI) a few questions to help them reflect on their experience. You can use these questions to put your own experiences into words, too.

What is the biggest achievement of your summer work so far?

Madeleine: Being able to talk on the spot, talking in front of people, and using my design skills (which I don’t get to use in my social sciences degree) have all been achievements.

Lucy: So far I would say being able to produce and conduct a full research process. This has given me confidence before going in to my final year and completing my dissertation.

Harry: My biggest achievement is learning the editing software needed to create promotional videos from scratch and managing to complete some videos in the eight weeks given.

Victoria: I was in charge of a department’s social media pages. Seeing the number of page likes going up on a daily basis and seeing people comment that they like my blog were big achievements.


 What is the strangest thing you’ve done, or what has surprised you the most?

Lucy: Having full control of a project and total responsibility was a surprise (but a nice one).

Madeleine: Getting used to the 9-5 routine was probably the most difficult thing – it makes you realise how luxurious student life really is!

Anthea: It’s surprising how much the work you do contributes to the work of the whole team. You’re not left to make tea all the time or to do odd jobs but given meaningful tasks that make your work seem worthwhile.

Anna: I did a presentation to the whole team and really enjoyed it. I was quite nervous, so I was surprised that it went so well!


 What have you learnt so far this summer? This could be new or improved skills, greater confidence, or just learning what you enjoy doing most.

Adele: I’m learning so much about the voluntary sector. It’s been really interesting to learn more about the ‘behind the scenes’ parts of charities, including how to use the organisation’s database, which is incredibly useful. This list is definitely limited – I know that I’ve still got a lot more to learn in my role!

Catherine: I’ve learnt how to network, how to be assertive in managerial roles, and how to engage effectively with people from all walks of life.

Madeleine: My internship is helping me figure out what I want to do when I graduate. I’m gaining more skills, and figuring out what’s important to me.

Anthea: I’ve learnt how to organise time better and prioritise different tasks as well as becoming more independent in completing objectives. I’ve also become more confident in my own abilities.

Annie: My internship gives me a chance to be creative again, which has boosted my confidence about my creative skills in general (it’s easy to forget about that kind of thing when you do a science degree). I feel more confident in my presentation skills which I’m really happy about as this is a skill I’m definitely going to need in my career.

Harry: My communication skills have improved (ie emailing loads of different people, understanding how to have a professional phone call, taking part in meetings). I’ve also learnt how to be adaptable and change my style for each video I made for a variety of services.

Anna: I have learnt how to network when contacting external companies, how to manage my time efficiently and prioritise tasks, and developed resilience when I have had knock backs.

Other skills that our SEIs say that they have developed are presentation skills, independence, and communication and analytical skills.

So I’d encourage you to take 15 minutes out of your busy summer schedule and ask yourself similar questions about your summer, no matter what you’ve been doing! When it comes to putting this experience down in words on your CV, it will be incredibly useful to remember exactly what skills you developed. If the answers our SEIs gave don’t inspire you, read up on employability skills and see if any apply to you. And don’t forget – even if your summer experience doesn’t feel particularly relevant to your future plans, you ARE gaining transferable skills.

Is work experience worth it? Anthropology student Marisa tells her story.

By Marisa Bell
Final year Anthropology student

chalkboardNine months slogging through one year of your degree can feel more like nine years at times. One bad week slips past and before you know it you’re neck deep in readings – most of which barely feel as though they are written in your native language. As you sift through the inaccessible writings and abstract theories, scribbling notes, highlighting this, highlighting that – constantly measuring yourself between this grade and that grade; pulling your hair out over the difference between a 61 and a 69 graded essay (they’re both 2:1 people, get over it!) – you start to wonder what the hell this is all for anyway? What really is the point of all this?  The purpose in doing this starts to get lost.

In Defence of Social Sciences

I’d say I can at least speak for the social scientists and humanities students out there. We are the people who are left defending our degrees all the time “What are you going to do with a degree in Sociology? Psychology? Literature? History? Isn’t Philosophy pointless?” “Unless you want be an academic, I don’t see the point.” Most people I meet still think Anthropology is what Ross from Friends does (No guys, that’s dead dinosaurs, not living people!) Ugh. The list goes on. And each one pains me every time.

I’m now 32 – it’s not particularly old I know, but it’s not particularly young either. And much like my peer group at university I’m astutely aware of competitiveness ‘out there’ – you know, in the real-world. Which I why I took it upon myself to pursue the opportunity of work experience. Tip number one: perseverance and pursuit.

What’s the Point?

Have I worked a day in my life before now? Yes. Yes, I have. I have not however worked a day in the industry I am trying to move into. And when you’re new to an industry it’s a challenge in itself to pinpoint exactly what it is you are looking for. You like the idea of something – but you don’t yet know the reality. My industry of interest (Marketing and Advertising) is a broad one indeed, and each segment of the field varies widely from another. Just because you’ve studied a non-business related degree it does not mean your skills can not be applied to business. And gaining that hands-on experience is truly valuable.

Fact-finding Analysis

I came to the placement with the earnest eagerness of any other student – I just wanted to learn about stuff – how does it all work? So, when faced with the question “What area of Advertising interests you most?” I was all “…Um, I just wanna learn all of it…see what bits I like, then decide”. Not ideal.

My second tip is research, research, research! It took me a while to pinpoint my segments of interest. And some conversations with those in-the-know can go a really long way. A few coffees later (read: wine) and I had a much deeper understanding of how things worked and which bits made me more enthused than others. If you don’t know people in the field you are looking to get into, you can still do online research – LinkedIn is a great place to start, with lots of industry based networks and blogs offering any eager business novice invaluable insights. Get creative! I messaged a few industry blog groups and asked for advice from veterans and moguls of the field. You’d be surprised, there are some really great folk out there, old Alumni etc, who are more than happy to help.

Relinquish Excuses!

“I can’t afford the time out!” Yes, yes you can. Have you heard the saying “Short-term pain for long-term gain”?  – Well, this is just that. Many companies nowadays offer payment for travel and lunch expenses. And if you’re a self-supporting oldie like me, this can still feel off-putting. But don’t let it be. My advice is to start saving a little bit here and there to cover your costs. Or ask the business you have applied to if they’d consider subsidising your travel costs as a one-off, if it’s done in the right way it’s professional and perfectly okay. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. When these options really aren’t possible (and trust me, I know this!)  – Then sacrifices you must make! My placement was short and sweet for this exact reason. Can I work 3 months? No. Have I got two or three weeks spare? Yes. This kind of rationale is much more realistic and perfectly doable.  I framed it as though it were the annual holiday I would normally make. Tip number 3: budget and be prepared to make sacrifices!

“I found out about things I never knew before. Interesting and inspiring nuggets of wisdom in a welcoming environment.”

Hard Work Pays Off

During my placement I not only gained fantastic insight into industry practices but found inspiration through seeing my university work and practices applied literally.  I found out about things I never knew before. Interesting and inspiring nuggets of wisdom in a welcoming environment. The business I worked in applied lateral thinking to business, drawing on the critical and analytical skills I pick up sifting through all the endless readings night after night. Making a laborious practice which often feels meaningless and nonsensical, seem perfectly logical! Eureka!

Had I not completed the work experience I would not have realised how interesting I find Market Research as a day-to-day job. It appeals to my curious and analytical nature and is always evolving over time, from project to project – with the added bonus of working with brands I am interested in or a least familiar with. Previously, if I’d looked at ‘Researcher’ as a job title I’d likely think it was either too dull or not the kind of thing I could do. Now, I know otherwise.

My final tip is BE PROACTIVE. From the start of your research to your time in the business. Don’t just hang around waiting for things to come your way. Get stuck in! People have busy lives. If they don’t reply – send a follow-up email. In the job, ask people if they need help with anything. Be curious. Show off your talent and get to know theirs. This is your time and well as theirs so the most valuable thing you can do is to take away a whole heap of knew knowledge. Knowledge is king. And if you’re really lucky, you may even gain a few more new friends from the experience!


Avoid common mistakes when applying for a job.

It’s the time of year when new graduates and returning students alike are all looking ahead to graduate jobs or internships. Make sure you avoid some of the top application mistakes. iStock_000018416955Medium Girl ticking checklist

What does the employer want?

The employer has a job to fill, they know what makes a good employee and will have a list of skills, experience and attributes they are looking for. Your job is to correctly identify these and provide evidence that you have them AND information about why you are right for the job. How many boxes on my checklist can you fill?

Most job applications will use a CV, cover letter, application form or some combination of these.

Lets start with the CV

  1. A good clear layout, tabulated nicely.  Dates easy to find, clear chronology and headings. Bullet points usually help. I’m not fussy about the order of the headings or what you call them so much, as long as it makes sense.
  2. Don’t get too creative with boxes, fonts, underlining etc. It’s just distracting.
  3. TAILOR TAILOR TAILOR.  This is the biggest mistake and the most common.  You see a perfectly nice CV and when you read it, there is nothing relating to what you asked for. It’s not because the applicant has no experience, it’s they just haven’t bothered to match it to the skills you are looking for.
  4. Don’t waffle on about responsibilities and duties of the role you were in, tell me about the actions you took and what skills you used.

Cover letters

  1. …and in at number 1 the most common mistake is not telling the employer why you want THAT job.  It’s all very well banging on about the company and the wonderful work they do, but why does that interest you. More importantly why does that particular role interest you.  It’s called motivation and it shows that you have correctly identified what is important and that it matters to you too.
  2. What skill do you have that are relevant?  Entice me to read your CV.
  3. Please don’t just cut and paste from your CV , I’m going to look at that too and who wants to read it twice.
  4. Dont be negative about yourself, I don’t want to know what you haven’t done and skills you don’t have, I can work that out for myself. Tell me what you have done successfully so that I see you in a positive light.

Application forms with competency questions or personal statements


This will help you identify the breadth of what they are looking for and what sections you can use to highlight which evidence.

  1. If there are strength or competency questions – try to understand why they are asking them. They relate to the role somehow,  this will give you some context and help you think about how to frame your answers.  Perhaps one of your skills examples is better than others?  For example if they are asking about communication skills and it is a job where you have to be able to communicate to different stakeholders or to a particular group, have you got an example of where you have done something similar?
  2. If the bulk of the application after basic details about your education and previous employment is given over to the why do you want this job section then aim to write 1-2 page A4 UNLESS they state otherwise. It can be useful to write down all the elements of the person specification as headings and then write a short paragraph for each one. You can decide if you remove the headings later.
  3. Don’t leave any questions blank
  4. Don’t say  – see my CV

Some applications will involve all 3 elements CV, cover letter and application form. It may be a judgement call how you split the information in a personal statement out from the cover letter.  Be led by the phrasing of the questions and don’t leave any information out.


Recruiters are not stupid, we know it’s time-consuming to write a great application and we appreciate it when it is done well.  It makes our job easier and gives you more chance of getting an interview.


Fancy a job working in Careers helping students? Intern Hannah tells all.

Want to apply for my job?atrium sign

As my 12 month MGP role is coming to an end in September, maybe you’d be interested in filling the position?

I don’t know what I want to do

Smiling for my photos I had just graduated after completing a 3 year Psychology degree at Manchester. I still didn’t know what I wanted to do with my future. Having just come home from backpacking around Thailand and now being named a graduate, I realised it really was time to make a plan of action. I needed to take the next steps towards my exciting (and yes a bit scary) future.

I felt clueless about so many things. What sector did I want to work in? Did I want to work for a private or public company? What skills would I like to use in my day to day work? Did I want to find a graduate scheme or an entry-level position? There were so many unanswered questions.

So I focussed on what I did know. I knew I wanted to stay in the wonderful city of Manchester to be around friends. It would be great to find a position that lasted around 12 months where I could develop skills and get experience in a working environment. Then hopefully I’d be able to work out what I enjoyed and have experience on my CV that employers would love too.

Finding the job

On the hunt for something that ticked my criteria I looked on CareersLink. The Manchester Graduate Programme (MGP) advertised lots of full-time, paid 6-12 month roles available at the University and in businesses in Manchester. After looking through the roles I found a position in the Careers Service at the University of Manchester called ‘Information and Guidance Assistant’. It sounded really interesting so I sent off my CV and cover letter.

The Application Process

I got an interview!!! I prepared in advance using the Careers Service ‘Preparing for Interviews’ Guide and In-tray exercise practice. A few days later I received that all important phone call offering me the job. Needless to say it felt like a great achievement to have secured my first graduate position – so of course I celebrated with a trip to the shops for new work clothes.

What is the job like?

A week later in mid-September I started my new job. It felt really exciting to still be at the University but now as a staff member working in the Atrium. In my first week as part of my induction package I was welcomed with lots of friendly faces from the Careers Service team. As a student I never realised how big the team was! I observed appointments, went to meetings and was trained on the key parts of my job. Everyone was so welcoming; I instantly felt part of the team.

On a daily basis I talk to students and graduates about work experience, internships, graduate jobs, part-time jobs, interviews and most things careers related. Over the phone, on Live Chat or at the Careers desk I give general careers advice and information and book appointments with our specialist Careers Consultants. Via email I help students access their CareersLink and give feedback on CV’s. I write exciting posts on our Facebook, Twitter and blog to help students, advertise job vacancies and promote our services. I’m responsible for ordering stock and creating exciting visual displays in our library and iZone. I also write careers information on the website and in our starting point guides.

Outside of the job description I’ve had the chance to get involved in extra things too. I’ve been the leader of the walking challenge, written blog posts for the EatGreen2016 blog we created, organised events for consultants, designed webinars, delivered presentations, been a member of the environmental staff team, spoken at talks, attended interesting training courses and lots more. When I mentioned my interest in marketing my managers helped me try it out! I was asked to produce posters, conduct market research and was even given my own marketing projects. It’s a great job to try out new things to see what you enjoy.

Oh and I can’t forget the social outings with the team and other MGP’s and lots of cake!

What does it help you do next? What happens after?

The Careers Consultants, who I now call friends and colleagues, have been more than happy to give me guidance on choosing my next step and preparing for interviews. Over the 12 months I’ve developed lots of transferrable skills that employers love to see. From giving advice to students I’ve developed communication and customer service skills. I’ve used time management skills when completing multiple tasks in a busy environment to meet deadlines. Posting on blogs and social media has enhanced my IT skills. I’ve also got that all-important ‘one year of work experience’ that a lot of employers look for.

So with support from the Careers Service and a developing variety of skills in a work environment the next step really is open for you to choose.

If this MGP role sounds like it would suit you, why not apply now? MGIP/16/360. CareersLink ID is 56436 . www.manchester.ac.uk/careerslink

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