Getting the third degree

iStock_000013630859Small Hire meA friend of mine was recently reminiscing about her graduation 4 years ago.  She was awarded a third class degree and hated her graduation day, struggling to work out what the 3 years were all for and what exactly she had learned. She had felt pretty down about it and wasn’t looking forward to her future career prospects.

Four years on and she is happily pursuing a successful career path in PR – something she had never even thought of when she graduated, and totally unrelated to her degree. To her surprise, people simply aren’t interested in her 3rd Class degree. It seems irrelevant now.

There are many success stories from famous people with 3rd Class degrees – Hugh Laurie, David Dimbleby, er, Carol Vorderman …. what is important with all of these people, is who they are, rather than the degree they got.

Let’s get the facts in; the graduate schemes, run by larger corporations and small numbers of employers, are closed to you for now.  The same might be true of some traditional routes into the professions. Ditto employers with very clear, open, categorical ‘minimum’ degree requirements.

No point in wasting energy here – we need to look elsewhere – focusing on the huge numbers of employers across the UK and globally, that are looking for the right person, not simply the right degree.

It’s useful to think about the reasons you got a 3rd Class – were you unsuited to the subject matter; was the focus of learning unsuited to your strengths or way of learning? Was it too prescriptive when you think more creatively, or vice versa? Now is the time to think about what you enjoy, what interests you – and follow it.

Your search needs to focus on the smaller businesses, the voluntary sector and public sector – here be roles that want people with skills that fit, and have a genuine interest in the work that they do. To start you off, look at Manchester Graduate Programme

You may need to start at the junior level, but if you follow your interests and talents, you will soon progress.

Tap into your experiences so far – your team skills, communication skills, customer focus skills from your part time or volunteer roles, your organisational skills.

Most jobs do not require academic excellence, indeed in many it is a distinct disadvantage. Most jobs require curiosity, interest, willingness to learn, common sense, engagement with other people, enthusiasm and team spirit. The 3rd Class becomes less important the more you can focus on these.

Shift your thinking away from what the 3rd Class doesn’t offer, to what you, as a person, do offer. You’ll be surprised what you find, as will your future employer. Bonne chance!!!

By Bernadette Lyons
Careers Consultant




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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

is never going to make it as a headline.

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

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



I don’t want a job for life, I just want to try something out.

badge-686321_640Do you worry that you don’t know what you want to do for the rest of your life?  Do you feel you would be trapped by taking a graduate job, and panic about not making the right choices?

Don’t panic a job is not for life  (unless you want it to be)

No one really expects you to have a crystal ball and be able to map out your entire life. If you have a good idea of what you want to do for the year after you graduate that probably counts as long term planning.

Some people have goals and plans and seemingly were born wanting to be an accountant / doctor/ teacher etc. That’s great for them we hope their goals are fulfilling. The rest of us make it up as we go along!

Plan for now!

Using what you know about yourself and the jobs available what would you like to try out? Take the plunge and apply.

If you can’t muster the enthusiasm to research the job and apply, or it feels wrong at interview it’s a clue it might not be right for you. You might need a bit of help thinking about what you would enjoy. That’s ok some people need someone to bounce ideas off or help unpicking what they really want. So give us a call.

What if I start a job and hate it?

  1. Sometimes it can take a while to really bed into a new job. Give it a chance and talk to colleagues or your manager if you feel you are struggling or it’s not what you thought it would be like.  By giving it a go and persevering you may be able to show off skills that would land you another job.
  2. Any job has a notice period (a length of time after which you have to work if you resign or are fired) Notice periods for graduate level jobs are likely to be around 1 month, the more senior the position the harder you are to replace so the longer the period – but check the contract.
  3. When you are new in a job you may have a probationary period during which the notice period is even shorter often 1 week.(Check the contract)
  4. It’s easier and less stressful to look for a job when you are in a job.  So if you feel like a job is not for you don’t necessarily bail out immediately.  It will look better on your CV if there are no long gaps, plus you can truthfully say you left to pursue a new challenge.

If you do decide to leave a job because you don’t like it try to stay on good terms with people. It may be tempting to vent your anger or disappointment but stay professional. You may be asking for a reference from these people in the future. It’s also a very small world out there, you never know who may know whom in the next job you apply to.

Won’t it look bad on my CV if I’ve had lots of jobs?

It depends what they are, what you learned from them and how you sell it!

  • It wouldn’t be considered unusual for a new graduate to take several short term jobs to get experience.
  • Even starting a graduate scheme and leaving to do something else need not look terrible on your CV.
  • Be positive: talk about the skills & experience you gained.
  • Reflect on at you learned about what you like and dislike and use that intelligence to make better more informed choices next time. Learning from our mistakes and trying again is also a skill!







Using recruitment agencies to find work.

Find JobRecruitment agencies can be a really useful way of finding work, both full-time graduate positions and temporary positions. There are lots of different types of recruitment agencies, covering a range of different industries and the level of support they offer varies.

Jobs board websites

Many popular jobs websites (or ones that you may have heard of) such as Milkround and Target Jobs act as jobs boards advertising lots of different vacancies in a whole range of sectors. These companies do not necessarily act as an agency they may simply advertise the jobs on behalf of companies and agencies.

  • CareersLink is the University’s very own vacancy site. We advertise hundreds of vacancies every month – graduate roles, vacation work and part-time work.  Only University of Manchester students can use it – you just need to have your University username and password to hand.
  • Agencies such as Milkround, Target Jobs and Prospects are worth using as they can make the job search simple. On these websites you can set up personalised job searches so you get jobs that you’re interested in sent directly to your inbox.
  • They also often have Careers advice on how to write CVs, how to write applications as well as different information on industry sectors.

Recruitment Agencies

Many recruitment agencies are specialised and only work in specific industries. For example they will specialise in recruiting to the finance, IT, HR or engineering sector. They will also be more involved in the recruitment process as companies are paying them a fee for finding the right staff.

You will need to identify which agencies recruit for the type of work you are looking for. Check industry journals or jobs sites to see which agencies are advertising jobs or ask companies which agencies they use. e.g. List of agencies used by The University of Manchester

Some agencies may also headhunt by using LinkedIn or other networks. So you may be approached by an agency even if you have not signed up with them.

Why use an agency?

  • Many recruitment agencies will have excellent networks and longstanding relationships with employers, so are well placed to secure interviews for candidates.
  • An agency will know the needs of the employer and what they are looking for (it’s their job to know) so they can give you some insight into the company and what they are looking for.
  • They can also get you good feedback, what the employer liked, what could be improved etc.

Note – in the UK it is illegal for agencies to charge you for help finding a job, so you shouldn’t be paying anyone to do this. They can however charge you for services like helping you with your CV or interview practice – or you could get this help for free from the Careers Service.

You can find out more about using recruitment agencies to find work on the Careers website. If you would like to meet some recruiters in person come along to the Graduate Recruitment Fair where there will be a range of recruitment agencies. Many of these specialise in recruiting for a specific sector such as Allegis Group and Multilingual Vacancies.

And something to look out for…

Recruitment Agencies as the employer

In some industries such as Pharmaceutical sciences and aerospace engineering, recruitment agencies are the actual employer. This is known as “insourced resourcing.” This is common within the US but is becoming increasing popular over here. For example Eurofins Lancaster Labs employ scientists who are then based on big pharmaceutical sites such as Pfizer in Sandwich. Other companies such as CK Sciences supply staff to MSD and Kelly to Eli Lilly. This is something to keep in mind when looking at different industries.

What careers information can you trust – is Google your friend?

The truth is out there, but where should you look for information and how can you be sure it’s accurate?

Looking for a job vacancy with a specific company?

Fairly obviously you would start with the company website. But what if what you are looking for isn’t there?

If they simply don’t have a jobs website – they may use third parties to advertise their jobs. Why not ring them and ask where they advertise vacancies.

Looking for a job vacancy using job websites?

There are lots of different job websites so you need to work out which one is best for you to use. Your CareersLink account – is a good place to start.

  • The vacancies are vetted as far as we are able to make sure they are suitable and are real vacancies not scams.
  • Some vacancies are only advertised with us, so the only people viewing them are University of Manchester students & graduates. Less competition – great.

Unfortunately not every organisation out there will think of advertising with us so where to try next…?

What about generic job sites like Monster, Gum Tree and sites where you upload your CV? They certainly offer a wide variety of jobs. BUT the jobs may not be aimed at students or graduates and you will need to investigate carefully their policies on advertising.

What about recruitment agencies?
In some sectors they are used heavily to scout for talent and advertise specific jobs. Try to find one that is a good match for the job or sector you want to work in.  Check to see who is advertising the most relevant jobs and try them first.

What if I’m just looking for some careers information?

If it’s information relating to a specific job role or career area

  • Use our Which Career pages – we evaluate many information sources before linking to them so that you get the most relevant and easy to use sites. (though I’ll admit some sectors are pretty poor!)
  • We also like Prospects website & Target Jobs websites They cover a good range of graduate entry level roles and have careers information as well as vacancies.
  • Books and journals, yes you know those papery things! Turns out they can be pretty good for research and we have quite a few here for you to nose through.

Ask people for advice

  • Careers staff – we will tell you how it is and we are not affiliated to any company so our advice is unbiased. Our staff are updated regularly and are often involved in research, so they know what they are talking about.
  • Talk to professionals or employers at fairs or networking events. They can give you their opinion and the benefit of their experience. However, they cannot be experts in everything.
  • Friends and family can be a great source of information. They want the best for you but that can mean they filter what they tell you. If Auntie Beryl worked in HR 20 years ago her information may not be the most up to date or accurate!

Scouting around for a piece of information and not sure where to look?

Well Google or other search engines can be a good place to start BUT, and it’s a big BUT, you need to be aware of how they work and evaluate the information sources carefully.

The top 3 things on a search results screen may have little to do with what you actually looked for, there are other things in play here like advertising.

  • Look at the summary and the link before clicking through – is it even a site in the country you would expect?
  • Is the site one where you would expect them to know what they are talking about?
  • Can you verify who owns the site and when the information was written?
  • What might their bias be?

Not sure where to start – you can always ask us

Do you need to plan your career or can you just let it happen?

Choices Some people plan everything – I’m sure you know someone who lives their life by lists and makes a revision time table and sticks to it. We all behave in different ways,  so if you are the type of person who lets life unfold why would you suddenly change your behaviour because you are planning the next stage in your life?

Do you really need to have a plan for your life post University?

Economists, geographers & psychologists will know about models to explain behaviour, there are careers models too that explain how people make choices. Many of these career models talk about planning (a lot) and the steps you go through….Yes and then there is the real world!

I won’t deny that not having a plan (AKA any ideas) can sometimes make things more confusing and it could take a little longer to get your post University life off the ground. BUT it doesn’t stop it happening and it can be a great way to try different things and work out what you want along the way.

Advice for non planners

You may or may not have some ideas what you want to do with your life after university, but you don’t yet have a clear strategy for getting what you want.


  • Be open minded – be prepared to try something out even if you can’t see yourself doing it for ever. Take a chance!
  • Be ready to take advantage of opportunities when they come along. Keep your CV up to date.
  • Think about what you want out of life, what has meaning to you? Money, travel, making a difference, etc.
  • Reflect on the experiences you have already had and think about what makes you excited, happy, challenged.


  • Because you don’t have a fixed plan it can be easy to let opportunities pass you by because you don’t recognise them as something for you. Seize them!
  • If you live in the moment, looking to the future can seem daunting or just not for you. Don’t let it stop you talking to people or exploring options that COULD  be part of your life in the future. You don’t need to decide immediately!
  • Don’t reject options that sound like they need a bit of planning, it may not be your preferred way to work but if the end justifies the means, just do it!

 Advice for planners

You may have some ideas of specific careers you are interested in or have  a goal in sight, don’t let it blind you to other opportunities though.


  • Know yourself – understand what you want in the future so that you can plan a route to get there.
  • Explore different jobs and careers – research the entry routes so that you know what skills or qualifications are needed.
  • Plan to get experience that will help you gain relevant skills or gain insight into a career area.
  • Schedule time to do applications for jobs or courses.


  • Don’t narrow your choices too much, have a plan B.
  • Be prepared to take advantage of opportunities that may not be on your masterplan.
  • Be prepared for the unexpected, sometimes companies don’t give you much notice for interviews. Factor this in!
  • Things don’t always go the way we want them to, don’t give up, be flexible and resilient and try again.

 In conclusion…

Don’t get freaked out by friends who have their life mapped out, that’s just the way they work. You can do things a different way and we are here to support you however you choose to plan (or not plan) your next steps.



International student job search FAQ UK

I was asked recently by a colleague to answer some frequently asked questions that all careers advisers/consultants who work with international students get. Here are my answers to these questions.

1. How easy is it to get a job in the UK?

It is not easy getting a job in the UK but it can be done.  If you are looking to stay on and work in the UK, you can find out more about work visa regulations for the UK and how they affect international student hiring on the Careers Service website at: UKCISA and UK Government site – are excellent sources of visa information

The students that succeed in getting jobs in the UK work just as hard on their job search strategy as they do their degree. The do the following:

  • Attend employer events, networking sessions, skills sessions and open evenings
  • Join relevant industry clubs
  • Attend fairs and prepare for the fairs through researching the employers attending
  • Engage with their careers service to ensure their CV and applications are good enough and portray the right information
  • Attend careers events on campus
  • Attend alumni events on campus
  • Research thoroughly their sector and the companies they want to work with
  • Reach out to alumni working in those organisations of interest
  • Engage with employers at events and on campus and ask for business cards

2. How likely is it that I will get sponsored?

It depends on your job hunting strategy? No employer wants to hear the question “do you sponsor visas?” this makes them nervous and they feel that is all you are interested in, not a career with them but to stay in the UK. Your approach to employers is key but you need to be education yourself. Know the visa regulations by referring to the UKCISA website for the latest updates and how they may affect you and in turn you may be able to educate employers who show interest in hiring you. It is more likely that you would get sponsored by a large multinational than by a small to medium sized company but there are many different firms who sponsor. For the latest list of Tier 2 and Tier 5 sponsors see here: Register of Licensed Sponsors 

3. At what stage do I tell companies that I need to be sponsored for a visa?

This will depend on you and how risk averse you are. It also depends on what information you have researched on the company. For instance if they are not on the sponsor register then they are unlikely to sponsor you but if they are on the sponsor register they are more likely but not guaranteed. Some organisations are only on the sponsor register to hire experienced professionals but you won’t know this until you apply. If the organisation states on the job description that you “must be eligible to work in the UK “or “have the right to work in the UK” then again it is unlikely they will sponsor.  Some companies are put off by becoming sponsors as they feel it will be too much work this is where your knowledge of the visa system can work in your favour. A conversation and a referral to an immigration lawyer can put them at ease.

Most students will be upfront on their application and cover letter. If the company asks your eligibility you must be truthful. The rest of the students will go through the process of recruitment and take the risk at the end when the question is asked at interview or offer stage. Both approaches have their own advantages and disadvantages. To see an example of a cover letter that includes discussing your visa requirements see our Starting points guide area and look for Covering Letter Guide.

4. Who sponsors international students?

To see who sponsors refer to the sponsor register. This is continually updated and has over 29,750 employers listed. It is a PDF so can be navigated holding down the “ctrl” button and “F” key together to give you a search bar at the top right of the document. To see the latest document follow the link Register of Licensed Sponsors 

5. Which career sector is more likely to sponsor me?

I have put together a list of some of the sectors I believe are happy to sponsor international student applicants for graduate roles. This is provided in good faith, but do check with the organisations themselves to confirm their position and that they are on the Sponsor Register.

  • Banks/Finance
  • Consulting
  • Law firms
  • IT
  • Engineering/Manufacturing
  • Scientific

6. Can I get some UK experience and then go home?

All work experience is important to employers and if your intention is to go home but get a little experience first then Tier 5 could be a valid option for you.  Tier 5 visas are available through particular agencies who act as the visa sponsors so that your employer does not have to sponsor your visa or be on the sponsor register which gives you far more options in terms of potential employers.

Tier 5 Temporary Worker (Government Authorised Exchange) is intended to give university students the chance to gain work experience related to their course before they return home. You can find more details on the UKCISA website and the university careers webpages

Each agency has different criteria for sponsoring under Tier 5 so read their conditions thoroughly before applying but most follow these rules:

  • The role must not be for longer than 12 months (BUNAC this is 6 months)
  • The work must be related to the graduate’s course of study
  • The role must be supernumerary (outside regular staffing requirements)
  • The internship must be paid at least National Minimum Wage and be in line with all applicable employment legislation
  • The work must be at a skill level of NVQ Level 3 or above

When your tier 5 is up you must leave the country and apply for a new visa from outside the UK, so this is only for graduates looking for a short period of work in the UK. Remember you must consult with an immigration lawyer when applying for a visa the Right to Appeal no longer exists so you only get one chance to get your application right!

7. Where can I find Tier 5 schemes and sponsors?

There are over 70 schemes under Tier 5 Temporary Worker. Tier 5 sponsors are listed alongside Tier 2 sponsors in the Sponsor Register or you can find a list of all the current Tier 5 schemes and sponsors on the UK Visa and Immigration website.

8. Can I work during the summer?

Gaining work experience whilst you study through a part-time job, vacation placement or internship will help you develop skills to add to your CV. UK and international employers value the range of transferable skills and commercial awareness which you can gain through work experience in addition to academic qualifications.

If you are an undergraduate student the Summer Vacation is part of your vacation period and under your Tier 4 visa you can work full time. You can also work full time during Christmas and Easter.

If you are a Postgraduate student the Summer Vacation is considered your term time and therefore you can’t work full time. You can however still volunteer and work part-time for up to 20 hours per week during this period. Your vacation time for full time work only includes Christmas and Easter vacation periods.

9. Can I get part-time work in the UK which is related to my future career?

Part-time work can include work experience, volunteering and a part-time job. Employers are increasingly looking for students who have diversified their CV’s. They aren’t interested in hiring academics even though your final degree result is important. They want you to develop soft skills such as leadership, team work, communication, interpersonal skills and many more which can be done in the workplace.

Your work experience can be in your field of interest but you have to be diligent to find this and ensure there are opportunities in this field where you are studying as commuting long distances for a part-time job may affect your studies. All work experience is held in high regard by employers.

It is down to you to communicate effectively to employers what it is you want them to know about you. If you are applying for a job don’t list what you did during your part-time job in a hotel as a list of tasks be more creative and think of this as an opportunity to market your skills effectively to employers through quantifiable key achievements rather than “answered email, answered phone, cash handling” these tell me nothing about you, but if you said “worked as part of a diverse team of 15 people across 2 departments” then I would be more impressed.

Working in management and or business. Love it, hate it, what is it?

notlisteningBusiness and management, 2 words that either appeal to you or strike fear into your heart!  There seems to be a great deal of confusion over what these mysterious business and management job things are though. So how can you know if you would love or hate something if you don’t know what it looks like?

So what is management? Google defines it as the process of dealing with or controlling things or people.

So what is business? Google defines it as commercial activity. Trade considered in terms of its volume or profitability.

And what isn’t a business?  well a not for profit organisation could be said not to be a “business” as it does not make profit for shareholders however it does have managers of – retail, finance, marketing, fundraising, volunteers etc depending on the size of the organisation.

At the end of the day most work places are businesses or are run in a business like fashion. From PWC and The University to your hairdresser and the local charity shop they all require management of things, processes, people and finances to make sure that everyone knows that they are doing and the goals of the organisation are reached.

As a student you may have a part time job or volunteer so you probably see the front end of a business, either making something or serving a community or the public directly.  Most of you will have someone who tells you what to do, they, like it or not they are your manager. Depending on the size of the organisation there may be someone who manages the finances (and pays you), people who manage IT, marketing, recruitment and producing whatever the organisation makes, sells or provides.  When you graduate you are deemed to have the potential to do these jobs and yes they are management level jobs and yes they are in a business environment.

But I’m not ready for management

Don’t worry unless you have direct experience of the relevant area it’s pretty unlikely you will start managing something on day one.  In time you may start managing a small team or a small project or process and work up to bigger things.  You may never get manager in your title but you’ll know when you are one!

Still not convinced?

Business and management jobs don’t have to be in big corporates nor do you have to be an accountant or a management consultant.

So what might business or management jobs look like?

  • It might not have business or management in the title.  Yet you will be working within an organisation and could end up managing a process or a team.
  • It could look like a graduate scheme which is a way for a large organisation to take on lots of staff  to cover a wide range of business areas, marketing, HR, finance areas, IT, engineering, sales etc. You may specialise in one area or rotate through them all to work out where you fit best. At the end of your time you will be trained to do a role and that may involve managing a process or people. So if you don’t know what you want to do – pick a graduate scheme that rotates through lots of different areas.
  • It could be in a smaller organisation, or you may be the only new graduate taken on at that time so it’s more likely you will be in a particular role. This makes it easier to see when you are applying what the job will involve.  You will get more on the job style training but will get to see more about how the whole organisation works and may end up managing a smaller team or a small business area.
  • You could set up and run your own business – then you will manage EVERYTHING! Plenty of UoM graduates do!

You could work on or in:

  • IT project management or systems development, software engineering, web development etc
  • Event planning and management for a venue or an organisation
  • Sports or hospitality management for a venue, a team, a professional body.
  • You could manage fundraising, bid writing, or volunteers.
  • You could manage information or knowledge.
  • You could look at data, market research, trends and statistics and use this to forecast future business growth. A business development manager or analyst or management consultant!
  • Science, engineering or healthcare.
  • Educational establishments, schools, colleges and universities
  • Production for TV or radio or in music.

Really the list is endless, managing people or stuff in or working in a business environment covers just about everything.

BUT there are a few exceptions we could think of for graduates…

  • Actors, musicians, performers, artists. May be employed or freelance so may only have to manage their own career and finances! On becoming successful they may have a manager or employ people do help with this!
  • Writers – but really that’s running your own business too.
  • Many junior roles may not involve managing much, but you would probably be aiming to move up after some experience.

A friend pointed out that a job involving managing nothing makes you a minion, but I say minion is often a good place to start!

So what’s in a word ? Management or business don’t let them scare you off, look under the cover to see what’s really going on before you write them off as no go areas.


Myth #4: There aren’t any jobs out there for graduates in this economic climate.

We’ve all heard this statement before, be it from disgruntled friends or the media, and despite the frequency with which it’s uttered, it just isn’t true. There are currently (at the time of writing) 1,020 full-time roles being advertised on CareersLink, and that’s just one vacancy database – and, as the graph below shows, employers are looking to recruit graduates throughout the year.


As we addressed in Myth #1, don’t fall into the trap of thinking that the only jobs available to graduates are graduate schemes. Although for some students these are an ideal destination, many more find fulfilling graduate roles with large companies and SMEs that aren’t part of an official scheme.

And as was addressed in Myth #2, don’t restrict yourself by only applying to roles directly related to your degree discipline. Many companies, big and small, will recruit students from any degree discipline, placing more emphasis on your work experience and extracurricular activities than your subject of study.

It also pays to think globally rather than just locally when you’re looking for vacancies. You will find great job opportunities all over the UK, not just in London or Manchester, and around the world. Being open to relocating and taking risks could mean you end up in a brilliant job after you graduate.

Every year, many jobs go unfilled simply because students don’t always sell themselves effectively in their applications and are therefore presumed to be lacking the skills employers are looking for. However, if you make use of Careers Services resources (whether that’s our online advice or a guidance appointment), you shouldn’t have any problems with making a good application.

3 reasons to get down to the Autumn Fairs

Fairs 3Alright, heading over to Manchester Central Convention Centre may seem like a bit of a trek. But there’s plenty to gain from coming along to one of our upcoming fairs, whatever your degree subject and whether you’ve given your future some thought or not. So why should you make time to attend a fair?

  1. To explore what’s out there!

    It’s not unusual to be a bit unsure about what you’re going to do after you graduate – but you could get a clearer idea of what you might like to do by chatting to employers and recent graduates at the fairs. You can find out from ‘big’ recruiters like Deloitte, Jaguar Land Rover, PwC, Shell and Unilever what their graduate jobs and schemes are really like, or discover the opportunities available with organisations like Coca Cola, the Civil Service, Frontline, Warburtons and Sky.

    There’ll be positions available to students of any degree discipline in a wide variety of sectors, from business, finance and the public sector to IT, marketing, engineering and HR, so the fairs are an ideal opportunity to find out what kinds of jobs are out there for graduates of your degree.

  2. To bag yourself an internship or some work experience

    Even if you’re not in your final year, popping down to the fairs can still be really beneficial. Many of the exhibitors at the fair will also be looking to recruit students for spring and summer internships, whilst there’ll be plenty of placement opportunities up for grabs at the Engineering, Science and Technology Fair. Speaking to employers about what you’re interested in could also help you secure some work experience to boost your CV.

  1. To make useful connections and get tips on tackling application processes

    Make contact with the companies you’re interested in and get your face (and email address!) known. Build up a network of people doing the sort of work you might like to do – you’ll be able to ask them for advice on what you can do to increase your chances of getting the job you want, and they might be able to let you know about any opportunities in that line of work.

    Talking to recruiters can really help with applying for graduate roles. When writing a cover letter, saying that you’ve spoken to representatives of a company about the sort of work you could be doing with them is a great way of demonstrating your enthusiasm for the position on offer. Recruiters and recent graduates can also give you insight into what application processes are like and what you need to do to make a good impression.

There’ll be talks throughout the day offering advice on job applications and best practice in interviews and assessment centres, too.

And oh alright, here’s one more…

We’ve got free buses running to take you to the fairs and back! They’ll be departing every 30 minutes from Brunswick St. Your ticket for the fair is your ticket for the bus. So not being able to get to Manchester Central is no excuse not to go!

So which fair is for me?

The Business, Finance and Management Fair – Tuesday 20 October, 10.30am-4.00pm

Contrary to its name, this fair is not just for Business, Finance or Management students. Exhibitors are happy to recruit students from any degree discipline, offering positions in a huge variety of sectors, such as retail, HR and marketing. There’ll be representatives from both international companies like Bloomberg, Coca Cola, Unilever and PwC, and public sector organisations like the Civil Service, Frontline and HM Treasury. Check out the full list of exhibitors here and register to attend here.

The Engineering, Science and Technology Fair – Wednesday 21 October, 10.30am-4.00pm

Bringing together over 80 companies such as Ford, Fujitsu, IBM, L’Oréal, Siemens and Shell, you’re sure to find something inspiring at this fair. Discover a huge range of opportunities in a wide range of sectors, from research and IT to energy and manufacturing. We’ve got a full list of the companies attending here and register to attend here.

The Postgraduate Study – Monday 16 November, 10.30am-4.00pm

Not quite ready to put your student days behind you? Discover thousands of postgraduate courses available to study both in the UK and overseas at the Postgraduate Study Fair, get advice on financing your course and find out what postgrad study is really like from current Masters and PhD students. Register to attend here.

The Law Fair – Tuesday 17 November, 12.30pm-4.00pm

Wondering what a Law career would be like? This fair is a mine of insider insight into the legal sector – and it’s open to students of any degree discipline, not just Law. Find out about vacation placements and training contracts, meeting graduates in the midst of their professional training, and get advice from industry leaders and professional bodies, as well as members of The Bar. Register to attend here.

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