And so the end is nigh.. Nearly finished your degree what next?

Easter vacation is coming to an end and some of you will be handing in dissertations soon.  Does it feel like it’s all over bar the exams?

Obviously exams are uppermost in most minds but use your time well and you could still secure a graduate job or internship starting in summer or autumn.

To do listiStock_000018416955Medium Girl ticking checklist

Graduate Internships at the University are open for applications now.  They don’t all come in at once because contracts finish at different times and then managers have to get permission to recruit subject to budgets. So no, it’s not possible to give you a list of all the opportunities that will come out in future, just keep looking. (there are also some with external organisations) They are an ideal option if you want to get some experience but are not exactly sure what you want to do in the future.



Manchester Graduate Recruitment Fair 4 May 2017.  The exhibitor list is now up on CareersLink so plan your visit. (it will be on the website soon)gradfair17

  1. Look at the list and see which employers are recruiting for what posts. Don’t rule out employers you haven’t heard of if the job is what you are looking for.
  2. If there are particular employers you want to speak to and impress do some research.  What do you want to find out? If the answers are on their website that wont be that impressive, so think about more insightful questions.  Perhaps…
    • What do you think makes XXXX stand out from their competitors?
    • What do you like best about working for XXXX or in XXXX role?
    • What are the things that really makes an applicant stand out?
  3. Tailor your CV.  There is no guarantee that an employer will take your CV as part of the recruitment process as most have their own online systems. BUT at this time of year when they want to fill places fast it is more likely!  So…
    • Do as much research as you can on the role at that company and do a fully tailored CV.
    • If you are hedging your bets and will be speaking to lets say multiple companies with civil engineering or accountancy jobs then you may get away with a CV tailored for Civ Eng or accountancy. BUT if you are looking at multiple different roles that are using different skills it’s better to create a few different CVs than go for one general one.
  4. Practice your pitch.  Introducing yourself and asking a few basic questions, once you are in a conversation it will feel quite natural. See point 2.
  5. Get your ticket before you go, to avoid queueing.

3  Graduate Jobs in Manchester as well as internships MGT ( Manchester graduate Talent) advertises graduate jobs in Manchester. Some employers will be local and may not advertise nationally so make the most of this opportunity to fish in a small pond!

4 Graduate jobs nationally & internationally.  CareersLink should be your first place to look. We wont get every vacancy in the world, but we will get opportunities from recruiters who want to recruit from Manchester University and that means a lot, you are wanted!   If we haven’t got the vacancies you are looking for use our website to find out the best places to look for opportunities.

5 No clue what you want to do next?  It’s ok you are not alone. But it is time to ask for some help or get stuck in.  It will be much easier to have a chat with careers staff face to face before you leave Manchester in June.  But if you need to wait until after exams and have to dash off we do Skype & Phone appointments too.

6 Last and by no means least what about postgraduate study?  Have you considered doing a Masters course to gain specific skills and knowledge in a particular area or maybe to change direction?




Graduating soon? Here’s what to do next…

You’re mixed with the feelings of sheer joy and absolute terror at the idea of finishing university;  you are purposefully ignoring the fact that you haven’t started thinking about your career despite your jammy housemate securing a graduate scheme way back in November; you feel a little bit sick at the mere idea of job hunting… sound familiar? If so, we’ve got the perfect antidote.

The Grad Fair 2017

  • When?
    We’re holding The Grad Fair earlier than ever this year. Having previously been in June each year, we’ve brought the Fair forward as we found a lot of students were missing it as they had finished their exams, and were off gallivanting around the country celebrating their new found freedom – we don’t blame them! So, just so you don’t miss out on this great opportunity, this year it will take place on Thursday 4th May. Swing by any time between 10:30am – 4:00pm.
  • Where?
    The Armitage Centre, Moseley Road, Fallowfield, M14 6HE.
  • Who?
    From large international companies to small local businesses, there will be a whole range of employment opportunities available, spanning across many different sectors (including postgraduate study)! So far we have over 140 exhibitors confirmed so there really is something for everyone this year.
    Just to name drop a few, exhibitors will include Abercrombie, Aldi, City Year UK, Civil Service, Dyson, Explore Learning, Havas Lynx, Manchester Enterprise Centre, MediaCom, Teach First, and many more. There’ll also be a whole host of higher education institutions offering postgraduate opportunities.
  • Why?
     hall full of employers, looking to hire graduates? Sounds pretty ideal for anyone who has not yet secured a job! In addition, there may well be opportunities for summer internships, working abroad and some part-time jobs.


A few things to remember…

Firstly, you are not defined by the degree that you did at university. If you studied Politics, there is no necessity for you to join the local government; if you studied Chemistry, you don’t have to go into Science. The world really is your oyster! The Grad Fair is the ideal place to get a feel for the different sectors and opportunities which are out there.

Secondly, the first full-time job you do does not determine the rest of your life. I repeat, the first full-time job you do does not determine the rest of your life. More often than not, the most successful people will have done a series of different jobs which will have equipped them with key transferable skills. Try to attend The Grad Fair with an open mind and don’t be put off by opportunities if they aren’t exactly what you are looking for – it may help you get to where you want to be in the end.

Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, it’s free! We do advise that you register in advance to obtain a ticket to attend the Fair, although you can register on the day, too. Make sure to join the Facebook event to keep up-to-date with the Fair, and get some useful hints and tips on how to make the most of it.

Once you’ve graduated, you might find that opportunities like these specifically tailored to you don’t come around all that often, so we strongly recommend you make the most of it. See you there!

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 



How to do your research for a covering letter or personal statement

Employers want to be sure that not only do you have the relevant skills for a particular job but you also understand what the organisation does, how this role fits in and what it involves.  They want people who are making informed decisions and have a genuine passion for the job.

You may always have wanted to work for Virgin, KPMG, Rolls Royce etc. But now it’s time to put that onto paper and it’s not that easy!

Lets break it down:

In any cover letter & most personal statements you need to cover 3 things:

  1. Why you are applying to this company? – What makes them stand out from other similar companies?
  2. Why you are applying for this role? – Your motivation for applying, show your understanding of the role.
  3. The skills and experience you have that match the job description.( see next blog post)

1 So why do you want to work for us?

It’s often a question that’s asked at interview so do your research at the applications stage and you are saving time.

Often it’s a gut feeling, I’d love to work there, or I love their products or they are highly successful. But what do you REALLY know about the business and the way they work?

Here are some ideas for things you can investigate.

  • What makes this company different? What are their unique selling points – what differentiates them from their competitors? E.g. Tesco vs Sainsbury’s or HSBC vs Barclays. Why would YOU chose one over the other, how would you decide?
  • What products and services do they offer, and what do their competitors do? What are the differences and why is that important?
  • Who are their clients? Perhaps they work with a particular sector, demographic or country, why does that appeal to you?
  • Where are they based and where do they do business? Find out about company size, location and business catchment area.
  • What are their values & ethos, do they fit with yours?

You can usually find all this information on their website. BUT look at the website as if you were a prospective client or wanted to purchase something from them.

If the organisation has a public presence like a shop, hotel, leisure facility or bank visit some of their branches to get a real feel for what they do. Be a mystery shopper for your career!

If the organisation makes a product that is sold in supermarkets or stores, go and look at the products, who are they competing with, what’s the branding like, who buys it?

Do they advertise? Check magazines, TV adverts and billboards who are they aiming their marketing at?

2 Why are you interested in this job?

This one is all about the actual role. Now some graduate schemes cover a number of roles so  it’s helpful to investigate them all and have an initial opinion of where you think you fit.

Have you REALLY considered what working in this job is like?

  • Read the job description – what do they say the role is all about. What are the tasks, what will you be working on, in a team or on your own etc?
  • Read between the lines – what do you think it would be like in this organisation why might it be different to other companies? You might get some hints about this from the recruitment website, graduate profiles, talking to them at events.
  • Read up about what typically this job is all about. Prospects profiles & our Which Career? pages will help.

Don’t forget if a contact is listed on the job advert and you have questions give them a ring! Most people don’t bother, so taking the initiative could be the difference between your application and everyone else’s.

Check out our cover letter, application form & CV guides

If you need help with your application – book an applications advice appointment

See also:

Applying for the NHS Scientist Training Programme, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tips for applying 

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

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

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


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

Online application form

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

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

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

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

Essay questions

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

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

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


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


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

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


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

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

Online tests

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

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

What is the next one in the sequence?

What is the next one in the sequence?

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

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

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

Being optimistic …

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

Good luck – we are rooting for you!

Paid work experience opportunities for PhDs in January – invigilation


University of Manchester Examination Invigilation opportunity for PhD students

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

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

Notification of shortlisting: Tuesday 20th December 2016

Interview: Wednesday 4th January 2017

Training: Monday 9thth January 2017

Where are all the science jobs?

whereareallthesciencejobsIf you’re a science student who loves science, it can sometimes feel like all the jobs are for business students, engineers or computer scientists. This is to reassure you that there are ways of finding science jobs – if you know where to look.

Two alternatives are:

a) Look for science jobs which are being advertised

  • The pros – you know there is a job to be filled
  • The cons – so do lot of other people, so the competition will be high

b) Look for scientific employers and see if they have any jobs

  • The pros – they may have jobs to be filled, but if a job isn’t available now, they may keep you on file; this means that when a vacancy does occur, they may contact you before even considering advertising, so there is less competition
  • The cons – they may not be recruiting when you need a job

Where to look for science job adverts – some starting points

How to look for potential scientific employers

If you want to do cutting edge science, don’t just think of the big household names – think small!

Why? Because science which emerges from fundamental academic research is often based in start-up and spin-out companies, often located around universities, in “incubation centres” (ie. very small emerging companies – may not be too many roles for new scientists here) and science parks (companies which are starting to grow might be a better bet for science jobs for recent graduates).

How can you find these companies which you’ve never heard of? Try these approaches:

  • University of Manchester Careers Service – CareersLink
    • Look under “Organisation Directory” – this is our employer database of organisations who want to target University of Manchester students. Using “Advanced search”, you can filter by “Organisation Sector” – which lists over 400 science employers.
    • Our Which Career – Scientific Work web pages include sources of scientific employers
  • Look in science and innovation parks
  • Research institutes, centres and companies interested in researchers
    • – browse employers by type, including those outside academia
    • UK Research Councils – UK government funded research centres and institutes. Check each Research Council for lists of its funded institutes
    • AIRTO – a membership organisation for a number of commercial and government funded research organisations and institutes
  • scienceNetworks of scientists
    • Trade associations often have lists of members, for example:
      • Pharma/bioscience: ABPI (national), BioNow (North West/North East), OneNucleus (Cambridge/London), OBN (Oxford/South)
    • Professional bodies – get involved with a relevant scientific professional body to meet scientists in your field (you might get to know your future interviewer!)
    • LinkedIn – join groups for your field to link to other scientists; search companies, groups or people by keyword, including technical terms.
  • Your contacts
    • Tell everyone you know what you’re looking for, social and online contacts included. You never know who a friend or a distant cousin might know …

What to do once you’ve found a suitable scientific employer

  • The most obvious approach – simply type “Employer-name jobs” into a search engine!
  • Check the employer’s website regularly to see if they are advertising any suitable jobs.
  • See if the employer is attending a recruitment event in the near future.
  • Send a targeted speculative application. If they say they will “keep you on file”, don’t give up hope. When a vacancy arises, that file of recent applications is the first place many employers look before advertising, particularly for specialist posts (I know it’s what I did when I was recruiting in the polymer industry).
  • chemistTry to talk to someone from the employer you want to target.
    • If they’re a recruiting manager, ask how they recruit new scientists, are there any plans for expansion, where would they advertise?
    • If they don’t recruit personally, you can still get a feel for the type of scientific work they do the sort of employer they are, and whether this would suit you.
    • Either way, you get inside information, you should now know whether to look out for job ads and how to target your applications.
  • See if someone from the employer you want to target is going to be on campus – and not necessarily at a recruitment event.
    • If they target researchers, they may be part of university collaborations. Are they giving a seminar or talk on campus? Could you ask the academics involved in the collaboration to introduce you?

Further information for scientists

See our recent post:

10 things you need to know about starting a career in Human Resources

  1. iStock_000013296501Small Network of peopleWhat is HR?
    Human Resources (HR) is the name given to the area of a company,
    whether a team or individual, who has responsibility for recruiting new employees and managing work / employment conditions of current employees on behalf of that organisation. They are also responsible for ensuring an organisation’s staff (their human resources) are being used effectively to meet the objectives of the company.
  2. What does in involve?
    HR professionals are involved in a range of areas, these include recruitment and selection of new employees, induction and ongoing training, reward and remuneration (paying salaries, pensions, rewarding exceptional performance, bonuses) creating policy and procedures to ensure employment laws are complied with,  managing performance and dealing with disciplinary and grievance issues, employment terminations and redundancies.  
    In some organisations HR will be involved in negotiations with Trade Unions over issues related to working conditions and pay.
    Careers in HR can be very varied depending on the sector and organisation, the size of the team and whether HR staff are generalists or specialists (see question 3)  In some organisations there may be certain functions that the company chooses to outsource e.g. payroll may be handled by an external company or specialist trainers brought in, therefore HR staff would not be responsible for these activities.
  3. What jobs are there in HR for a graduate?
    It’s common for graduates to start in a more generalist role or on a graduate scheme with rotating placements. This allows exposure to a wide range of the HR functions carried out within the organisation.  This is particularly useful in allowing new HR staff to explore if there are certain areas/functions of HR they feel drawn to or prefer to work in.  This can help with making later career decisions as to whether or not to remain in a generalist role or to pursue opportunities to specialise in a particular area.  There is opportunity for career progression whether generalist or specialist.It’s important to consider that, as HR functions can vary from company to company, choosing to specialise may mean limiting the choice of possible employers to organisations who have those specialist roles.The most common job title is HR Assistant but, again due to the variety of duties which a HR professional may cover and whether certain functions are carried out within the business or outsourced, the actual content of jobs with this title may vary.  You may also wish to look at HR Trainee, HR Officer, and HR Coordinator but make sure to explore what the role responsibilities and required skills/experience are. Not all jobs with these titles will be suitable first HR roles for a graduate. Specialist roles will have titles that reflect this such as Payroll Officer, Pensions Co-coordinator  etc.
  4. Do I need a specific qualification?
    For most entry-level roles in HR an undergraduate degree will be a requirement (and obviously a degree will be essential to gain entry to a graduate scheme) While a degree in HR may be an advantage, Business Studies, Psychology, Sociology and Law are degree subjects that are regularly accepted as being relevant and many roles are open to graduates from a much wider range of disciplines.If your first degree is not in HR, postgraduate qualifications in Human Resource Management are available.  While these are not essential to gain entry to the role they are increasingly essential in order to progress your career.  Some graduates choose to take a postgrad qualification in HR directly after completion of their first degree (especially if they feel their first degree is not strongly relevant).  Others prefer to obtain their first HR role and then consider undertaking additional qualifications at a later date. One possible advantage of taking the qualification whilst working is that employers may sometimes help with the costs.  Willingness to undertake study for a professional HR qualification while working is a requirement for some roles.For working in the UK any HR qualification should be accredited by Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD)
  5. Main routes into HR
    Graduate schemes Many ask for a 2:1 – HR is increasingly popular and competitive as a career option.  They provide a structured approach to learning about HR functions and are a good opportunity to learn more about HR if your degree is not directly relevant.  Prior HR work experience is not always essential, emphasis is on transferable skills and potential to be good at HR.  They will be strongly interested in your motivation and reasons for applying. There may be a permanent job at the end of the scheme.
    Graduate job – This is not a structured programme like a graduate scheme but a specific role to be filled. You would have responsibility from day one and it may require more HR relevant work experience and be less open to such a broad range of degrees, therefore it’s important to stress transferable skills. Not all companies offer graduate schemes so this may be best way into the sector/organisation of interest. On the job training and development is usually included, your employer may pay for CIPD qualifications.
    Direct VacancyA specific role to be filled, open to but not solely targeted at graduates and open to non-graduates with relevant experience.  Likely to require prior HR relevant work experience.  Sometimes (but not always) more likely to require already having a CIPD accredited qualification or be working towards them.In addition to the roles mentioned above, HR Administrator is often an accessible role to get a good foot in the door to learn about HR on the job and build a career path. It’s a good route into organisations that don’t target graduates.
  6. What key skills are needed?
    Transferable skills such as teamwork and excellent communication (written, verbal and including listening!) will be needed. The ability to work with personal / sensitive information and maintain confidentially at all times is essential. You may support staff who are dealing with difficult issues that could be work, personal or health related.  It’s vital you can display empathy and give staff the support or solutions they need but do so in a professional manner that adheres to all relevant laws and policies.You will often need to explain complicated information related to policy and procedures to people who aren’t experts in that topic.  As you’ll be working with personal and payroll information, accuracy, attention to detail and the ability to hit deadlines are essential.
  7. Advantages of a career in HR
    Variety of workload and wide range of duties/responsibilities (especially for a generalist)
    – Opportunity to use a wide range of own skills and strengths.  If you find there’s an area you like better than others i.e. training, can choose to specialise in that area or, within reason, look for HR jobs that contain lots of opportunities to undertake that kind of work.
    – Conversely, if there’s a function you don’t enjoy you may be able to seek out HR roles that don’t have responsibility for that work i.e. where payroll is outsourced or training delivered by a specialist.
    – Opportunity to impact at a personal level by helping an individual  and also all the way up to organisational level by contributing to HR strategy.HR is present in some form wherever people are employed so there is a wide choice of sector, size and type of employer. You can, within reason,  look for HR roles that more strongly meet your preferences.
  8. Challenges of a Career in HR
    There can be lots of administration and paperwork, especially when getting started in the role e.g. taking notes at meetings, drawing up adverts, contracts etc., it’s not all hiring and firing! However, seeing the creation of these documents and what goes into them is a great learning experience to help understand how and why things are done a certain way.
    It can be emotionally draining, as may be dealing with people who are going through particularly challenging personal circumstances, you will need to develop the resilience to deal with professionally and not let it impact on you too much personally.  This is likely to be highly confidential so you won’t be able to discuss it outside of role.   HR is the ‘face’ of many actions of the organisation, even though they may not be responsible for making those decisions they have to enact them. If people are unhappy with these actions  their dissatisfaction will often be directed at HR and you will need to understand this isn’t personal and learn to manage these situations.
  9. Is it for me?
    It’s important to understand what HR does in order to explain your motivation for wanting to pursue it as a career. ‘I want to work with people’ is a common but not very accurate reason that is given.  As an HR professional you may work with the other people in your team but you won’t necessarily work with the people you’re providing an HR service to.  They are likely to be in other departments and even work in other sites or countries. You may only interact with them when they need some specific HR support from you.If you’re more interested in how people and organisations work, how people contribute to a company’s objectives and how you can contribute to creating an effective working environment it’s more likely that HR could be of interest to you.
    While you may not be working with the people your providing an HR service to it’s important to remember that as a HR professional everything you do has an impact on them.  This can be at an organisational level with the implementation of policies and procedures or at an individual level when helping with a specific issue or query. When you impact on an individual’s job you impact on their life.  A seemingly minor mistake in a salary calculation may mean that person can’t pay rent that month, a change to working conditions may cause stress or impact on work/life balance.  This is why accuracy and attention to detail are so important. It’s important to be prepared to take on this responsibility and understand that small actions may have a big impact on a person, their health and family life.
  10. HR and Recruitment Consultancy what’s the difference?
    HR and recruitment consultancy are not the same thing although there are obvious overlaps.
    HR covers the whole range of the employment period for a job starting to it ending and everything required to manage staff while they’re employed.
    Recruitment consultancy focuses on helping organisations to advertise and fill specific vacancies.  Recruitment consultancy often contains a sales driven element and generally requires consultants to not just recruit people but also contact organisations and convince them use the consultancy in order to fill their vacancies.  Consultants usually have targets as to how many new business clients they need to bring in over a period of time.In terms of relevance to HR, Recruitment Consultancy can be good for learning about recruitment methods and procedures but not the wider role of an HR professional.



5 Top Tips for Getting into International Development

globe-showing-the-middle-east-africa-and-asia-cartesiaphotodiscI wish I had kept a count of the number of times I have been asked how best to get my first job in international development. Unfortunately there isn’t a simple answer. It’s great that so many students want to pursue a career in this sector but it does mean that is becoming increasingly competitive and there is no one right way to succeed.

  1. Getting practical work experience is so valuable to demonstrate that you have the skills required for the role. Don’t think this experience has to be based overseas. You can work on inner city projects or in deprived rural communities in the UK covering many of the same issues you would be tackling on an international front, like health, poverty, regeneration and education. The amount and relevance of your work experience will demonstrate your commitment and passion and help to give you the competitive edge. The International Citizen Service is an excellent way to get experience overseas: but if you can build your experience at home, you can evidence a longstanding commitment, visit:
  2. Understand the sector and who you can work for. International NGO’s are the largest subsector, but organisations like the Red Cross, Medicins sans Frontier, Oxfam, Amnesty International receive high numbers of applications and so are more fiercely competitive. Working for the Government such as DFID or international public institutions, such as the UN and the World Bank is another option, but often requires a masters qualification and several years’ work experience. Some large professional service companies take on development projects, and this maybe an area you wish to consider. There are opportunities to work in academia and think tanks, but this is the smallest of the sub sectors, however you will need a masters or a PhD to be successful in this area.
  3. A masters qualification is very helpful, as it gives you an understanding of some the broad issues and current debate, but it also helps you to develop critical thinking skills, research and project management abilities as well as higher level communication capabilities. It will help in the application process as many other applicants will hold masters qualifications and it will certainly help you to progress your career. It is also worth considering a postgraduate qualification in an area of expertise for many development roles based in the field, such as teaching, finance, engineering, planning, nursing etc.
  4. There are very few graduate schemes in this sector so consider entry level roles in small NGO’s or organisations that you are interested in working with. Once inside an organisation you will be able to access the internal job vacancies, many of which never get advertised externally, so don’t overlook administrative and reception roles as a starting point. Many roles within the international development field will be office based, so these skills will be useful longer term.
  5. Learn a world language, such a French, Arabic, Spanish or Chinese and try to get experience of using the language through teaching or voluntary positions. For some ideas visit:

This is just the first set of steps to consider and if you want more detailed and personal advice, don’t hesitate to book an appointment to speak to us at The Careers Service.

Emma Al-Hakim, Careers Consultant.

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 

%d bloggers like this: