Placement Fair and Career Development Day – 4th February 2009

January 30, 2009

Manchester Metropolitan University are holding a Placement Fair and Career Development Day on Wednesday 4th February 2009 from 12.30-3.30pm in John Dalton Building (opposite the BBC on Oxford Road).  Students from Manchester University are welcome to attend.

The Fair is a fantastic opportunity for students seeking placements, internships, projects, vacation work or graduate positions.  If  you go along you can network with employers and gain professional advice about the opportunities available.   To find out what it’s like to work for a particular company or in a particular sector, you can attend one of four employer led workshops – register for these on the day.

It’s open to students studying on any year of any course but may be of particular interest to those studying; Business, Marketing, Accounting, Finance, IT, Computing, Law, Media, Advertising and PR.

For a list of exhibitors and to pre-register to attend, visit the event page on the  MMU Business School website.


Jobs Seen on the Street 29.1.09

January 29, 2009

This weeks’ vacancies include:

Seen on The Jobs Mine

Seen on Job Centre Plus website
(Enter the job reference on search page and click ‘go’ for details)


Publishing opportunity – if you’re not graduating before June 2010

January 26, 2009

You might have noticed the post  ‘First year students – get your foot in the door in publishing’ in early December.  Pearson Education are looking for students to join their Student Advisory Board.  The closing date has been extended to 13th February 2009 – so if you missed it before Christmas in the rush to get coursework done, you still have time to apply!

Student Advisors will sit on the Board from September 2009 to Summer 2010.  The opportunity is open to students who will be in their second year of study and beyond during the 2009-10 academic year.  Students must not be due to graduate before June 2010.

You’ll work on research based projects for Pearson related to the creation of new educational products for undergraduates and student life.  For example, a project might involve looking at the use of technology by students in their studies at University – this might mean conducting questionnaires, group discussions etc and writing up the results.

Pearson are looking for ‘students who are passionate about the experience of learning and care about helping those in education to reach their full potential.’  If that’s you and you’d like to gain some experience in publishing, then why not apply?

More details of the Pearson opportunity including how to apply can be seen on our website.


Jobs Seen on the Street 22.1.09

January 22, 2009

This weeks edition of vacancies we have seen advertised:

Seen on Jobsmine (Manchester Evening News website)

Seen on Job Centre Plus website
(Enter the job reference on search page and click ‘go’ for details)

See the first Seen on the Street post last week for our vacancy ‘health warning’. Hope people find this series useful, let us know if they are!


Rough guide to finding an internship

January 21, 2009

Are you thinking about doing a summer internship, but haven’t started looking or secured one yet?  As the title says this is just a rough, quick guide to finding an internship.  Hopefully it will give you a few ideas of where to look and things to do to find an opportunity for summer 2009.  

Plan A- Find an internship you are interested in on the Careers Service website or on the company’s own website.  Ideally, ‘Plan A’ should be your first choice in terms of finding an internship.  You can search the vacancies on our website and application details will be included in the advert.  Depending on what you are looking to do and the sector you want to gain experience in, you may find that some of the closing dates have already passed for summer internships.  Never fear – there’s always Plan B…

Plan B – Find something from other sources.  ‘Why?’ and ‘What sources?’ I hear you cry.  Why – some companies don’t always advertise their opportunities with the Careers Service.  This might be because they get a lot of applications just from their website or that they advertise elsewhere.   Don’t just look at the big organisations but also check out smaller organisations.  What sources – there are lots of places that you can look.  A few sources to try include:

  • Online Careers Library on our website (an online directory of what we have in the Careers Resource Centre)
  • Careers Fairs pages on our website – these pages have details of fairs we have held this year as well as upcoming fairs.  Even though the fair has passed, you can look at the exhibitors who attended and the opportunities they had on offer.  Some may still have internships on offer.
  • Local Libraries (including Central Library in Manchester) – libraries carry lots of different information and may have business directories you can browse.
  • The Internet – you could try company websites, online directories, professional associations and organisations (i.e. organisations that deal with a sector/industry), to name just a few. 

Some of these ideas may seem really obvious to you – but searching through different publications and resources may give you ideas of additional companies you are interested in applying to.  You can then see if they have internships or opportunities advertised on their own website and apply.  If not, there’s always Plan C…

Plan C – If you can’t find anything advertised by the companies you are interested in working for, you could always make a speculative application.  This is when you send a CV and covering letter to an organisation, even though they may not have specifically advertised an opportunity.  It could be something you send by email or in the post.  It might seem scary but if you are comfortable in making such an application, it may be a great way to secure an internship for this summer.  

If you can, it’s always best to send your application to a named individual at the organisation rather than just to a generic email address or office address.  You could call a company’s general phone number to request a name or specific email address.   

Visit our website for advice about applications and tips on making speculative applications.  Keep an eye on this blog in the coming weeks for more about speculative applications.

Good luck in your search!


Jobs Seen on the Street 15.1.09

January 15, 2009

This is the first of a weekly series on Manchester based part time jobs which we have recently seen advertised ‘on the street’. Well, OK perhaps ‘digitally’ too. These are not jobs which have been sent in to the Careers Service but are openly advertised elsewhere, so we will tell you where you need to go to get more information and  apply. You get the idea…

Disclaimer: Because we don’t have direct discussions with these employers and can’t check their opportunities in any detail, they do not represent an ‘approved list’ of jobs. Also, to help avoid being taken advantage of by any jobs out there, read our guide on spotting scam jobs. Health warning over! Here are the jobs for this week…

Seen in the Manchester Evening News:

Seen on Jobs Mine (Manchester Evening News jobsite):

Seen on the Job Centre Plus website:
(enter the job reference on search page and click ‘go’ for details)

Seen on the Trafford Centre website:


Assessment centres for internships – what, why and how to do well!

January 14, 2009

Groupwork at assessment centreIf you’ve been applying for internships with big companies for the summer, and you’re lucky enough to pass the first hurdle – the application stage – you may well be asked to attend an assessment centre (or ‘selection day’) at some point. You might wonder why employers would go to so much trouble (and expense!) just for an internship, but internships can often lead to offers of graduate jobs so companies are often thinking long-term when they recruit an intern and want to invest carefully.

So what are they about?

Assessment centres generally involve a series of activities which aim to give the recruiters more of a picture of what kind of person you are and how you might perform in the workplace. In addition to the ‘social’ bits (e.g. meals and drinks), as well as presentations from the company, assessment days may include some or all of the following:

  • Group tasks - you might be asked to work in a team to solve a hypothetical problem, e.g. choosing between different bid proposals, or to do something practical, e.g. build a bridge which meets certain requirements.
  • In-Tray (or E-Tray) exercises – here you have to work through a set of admin-type tasks (usually in the form of e-mails, memos etc) and prioritise each one, saying what action you would take. Get more info and tips for in-tray exercises in our ‘In-Tray Exercise’ guide.
  • Psychometric tests – more on these in a later blog post, but you can find out more about them and take practice tests in the Psychometric Testing section of our website.
  • Presentations - this can vary from an initial self-introduction to the rest of the group and assessors to a formal presentation on a topic of your choice (or one given to you in advance). Sometimes you’re asked to do a presentation to report back on a case study. Download our guide to Presentation Skills.
  • Interviews – see our earlier blog post about interviews.
  • Case studies – this could be an individual or a group exercise. You’ll be asked to analyse a lot of information relating to a particular case in a limited amount of time and recommend a course of action.
  • Role plays – these will generally relate to the area of work you’ve applied for, e.g. if the department is client-facing, you might be asked to role play dealing with a difficult customer (played by the assessor).
  • Written exercises – you might be asked to write a business letter (e.g. in response to a complaint) or a short essay on a given topic.

Recruiters use these to test how you tackle different tasks and they generally have a list of ‘competencies’ that they’re assessing against, so the key to doing well at assessment centres is to think about what skills and qualities the employer is look for and to perform the tasks in such a way that demonstrates these skills. However, be careful though not to try too hard – the assessors will often spot a candidate who is behaving unnaturally or ‘out of character’!

So, what skills and qualities are employers looking for? Companies often list these on their website or at on-campus presentations, and you will usually find clues in the questions they asked on their application form! But in general, the types of characteristics they tend to look for are: excellent communication skills (including listening, good questioning, summarising etc), teamwork, problem-solving and analytical skills, organisation and time-management, and creative thinking. Leadership may also be sought, depending on the organisation and type of role applied for.

More help and resources from us…

We know assessment centres can seem pretty daunting to a lot of students, so we have various resources to help you at the Careers Service:


12-month placements in Manchester at Co-operative Group

January 7, 2009

If you need to find an industrial placement for next academic year and you’re interested in roles HR, environmental project management or business analysis and want to stay in Manchester, read on.

The Co-operative Group is offering 12-month placements for undergraduates or graduates starting in September, and so far they’ve told us they’ve had surprisingly few applications from University of Manchester students for the 3 placements in the above areas.  So why not apply? The Co-op offers a salary of £14k as well as training opportunities and other benefits. Check out the following placements on the Co-op website:

  • Location Analysis Support Officer, Food Retail Location Analysis
  • Energy and Environment Project Co-ordinator, Group Property Division
  • Employee Engagement Assistant, Corporate Communications

Application deadline for these is 31 January so be quick!


Interview tips!

January 5, 2009

Welcome back. It’s 2009 and you have exams to look forward to!

If you are really lucky some of you may have already been contacted over the Christmas break by employers inviting you for interview in January.

Yes it’s exam period, so you are going to have to do some serious multi-tasking to make sure you are prepared for both your interviews and your exams.

  • Most employers are understanding if you have an exam on the day they invite you for interview and will offer you an alternative date.
  • However, this is the real world, so an employer may not be THAT flexible about when they can interview you. After all if you can’t make it, I’m sure they will find someone else who can!

Preparation tips!

You may only get 1 or 2 days notice so prepare ahead of time.

Watch the interview videos & clips on our website

Etiquette - don’t make a fool of yourself before you even speak!

  • It’s all about respect and behaving in a professional manner at all times with all staff you encounter.
  • Don’t arrive late – it just shouts incompetent!  If circumstances conspire against you, make sure you ring to give your apologies in good time.
  • Practise shaking hands – no-one likes a limp wet handshake.
  • Don’t chew gum, turn your phone off and pack your iPod away!

Research the company – you probably will get asked why you have applied to them.  So why did you? A nice fat pay packet is not necessarily the best answer!

  • What makes them stand out from their competitors?
  • Who are their clients – show that you understand their needs

Research the role you applied for, if it’s an internship and you are not sure what exactly you will be doing, you still need to prepare.

  • Show that you understand the nature of the business and the different roles involved.  If you have a clear interest in say… marketing  or audit, make sure you know what they involve in that company.
  • Show commercial awareness – what issues might the company face as a result of changes in the economy or legislation?

Competencies - yep they’re going to come up. Think about the job what do YOU think would be important skills to have to do that job?

  • You can usually find more information and hints on the company website
  • There are some good standard competencies – teamwork, verbal communication, written communication, negotiation, problem solving, numeracy or analytical ability, organisation, leadership etc
  • Really examine your past experiences for good examples of the above.  Examples can come from: education, employment, society work, volunteering or even your personal life and hobbies.

Weird & wacky questions

  • Not so common as you might think but not an urban myth either.
  • What kind of biscuit are you? Who is your favourite historical figure? You can’t second guess these, there is no right or wrong – just have a good reason and be prepared to argue your case.

There is loads more advice on our website to get you up to speed.

It may be possible to practise your interview technique – we have limited availability, but if we can’t fit you in we can suggest alternatives.

Above all don’t panic, an interview is a two way process –  they need to make a good impression on you too!

Coming soon… tips for Assessment Centres & Psychometic Tests.


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