Want to get into teaching?

November 27, 2008

If you are thinking of teaching as a career there are several routes in – from doing a PGCE (one of the most common routes) to Teach First, plus a few others in between. Whichever option you choose you are going to need to get some experience.

If you leave getting teaching work experience until your final year (or the year you are making your applications) the timing gets a bit tricky. In many cases applications for teaching need to be made early in the year and this could mean that you are applying before you have had any experience!

So get it sorted now!

Chat to our education adviser on our live Web chat on 1st Dec at 12-1pm.

Find out:

  • If you have the right qualifications to get on the course
  • How to get work experience
  • More about Teach First and other schemes
  • About how to apply for teacher training

To find out more about getting into teaching check out the information on our website and in our Resource centres.

Don’t forget we are open all year round so if you need help with applications or need to have a longer chat why not come in in the Christmas vacation or next semester.


What type of job would suit me? – career matching

November 24, 2008

Lots of students ask me and the other careers consultants here how they can figure out what sorts of job might suit them. To work out what jobs would be a good fit for you, you basically need to know about 2 things: yourself and the job market or career options. Check out our downloadable Self Awareness handout for help with identifying your general strengths and weaknesses, interests and preferences etc. A good tool to help you match your profile to different types of job is Prospects Planner, developed by careers professionals.


Prospects Planner “is a job exploration tool which aims to help you identify your skills, motivations and interests and then to match yourself to relevant job types”. Working through the exercises on Planner can help you get started and give you some pointers as to possible career options that might suit you. Be prepared though – it might throw up some unexpected suggestions too! (Everyone seems to have a story of some career matching software they used at school which apparently told them they should be a tight-rope walker because of their excellent concentration skills or something similar!)

So you might also want to talk to a real person about your options too. Think about booking an appointment to see a careers consultant at the Careers Service to explore different career options and discuss what might suit you. Some people are worried about seeing a careers adviser when they haven’t got a clue what they want to do jobwise, as they think we won’t be able to help them (I get lots of apologies from students for not being more focussed!), but rest assured, you’re in very good company – we see lots of students at all stages in their course who are just getting started with their career planning.

So don’t leave thinking about your options until your final year (when you’ll be concentrating on your academic work and maybe applying for jobs!), come in and see us!

(Also check out our “I don’t know what I want to do” guide to exploring career options from scratch for more ideas!)

Media and Marketing careers – why you need digital skills!

November 18, 2008

Two of the most popular career choices for Manchester students are Marketing and Media. However, as a careers consultant, I see a lot of final year students or graduates who are keen to get into these areas of work, but all too often they just don’t have the relevant skills or experience that will make potential employers sit up and take notice. While you’re still in your first and second year there’s a lot you can be doing to build up your portfolio – read on!

New MediaLast week I went along to a careers fair for the digital industries for students hosted by Manchester Metropolitan University and Manchester Digital and got talking to some local employers who were recruiting at the fair. These companies are involved in some really cutting edge stuff.

The MD for the northern region of a large publishing company told me that they desperately need people with digital skills. They are in the process of taking all of their paper publications online, embedding multimedia and developing exciting Flash-based content, and they need people who are well versed in web media with the vision and skills to make that happen. He said they have a lot of people who can “do paper” but they don’t understand the web medium.

I spoke to 2 representatives from a digital marketing agency who also talked about their need for digital marketing specialists who really understood and were passionate about online marketing and media. One of them told me that there were “huge opportunities” for people who had the necessary passion and set themselves the goal of developing a bit of a portfolio.

Someone from another digital agency told me he gets hundreds of dull indistinguishable CVs, but what really gets him excited is when someone sends him a link to a dynamic, interactive website or a blog or a DVD with some multimedia they have created – something that shows him what they’re capable of.

So the message is really this:

  • The future of marketing and media sectors is digital. Currently, there just aren’t enough people with the necessary skills, so for those who are motivated enough to go out and get them, the world is their oyster. You don’t need to be a techie wizard (although if you are that’s great too!), but you need to understand what kind of things you can don on the web, be passionate about it and be prepared to keep updating your skills!
  • Get focussed now! It’s difficult to build up the skills and experience you need for marketing/media careers overnight so don’t leave it until your final year… If you’re interested in careers in marketing or the media, start researching job opportunities in those sectors now. Browse graduate job ads and make a note of what knowledge, skills or experience they require, and set about building up your toolkit. Step-by-step blog post on how to do this to follow… In the meantime, here are a couple of good websites for jobs in marketing/new media – www.brandrepublic.com and www.nma.co.uk/jobs.

Enterprise Week for budding entrepreneurs

November 14, 2008

Next week (from Monday 17th November) is Enterprise Week across the UK, and it’s all about helping you become more enterprising, finding opportunities to help you develop your skills and widen your experiences. This is vital if you are considering starting your own business now or in the future – or just want to make yourself more employable and attractive to recruiters.

There are a lot of activities going on in Manchester, from an essential “How to Start Your Own Business” workshop in the Careers Service through to the Business North West fair and conference, where you can hear talks from professionals such as Max Clifford, the PR Guru and Stephen Haines, Facebook Sales Director.

Find out more about what is happening in Enterprise Week.

What is an Internship?

November 7, 2008

‘Internship’ is an American term which is becoming more widely used in the UK to describe placements or periods of work experience at a company.  Generally, you’ll see adverts for summer internships as most companies still call longer opportunities (9 or 12 months) ‘placements’ or a ‘year in industry’.  Some firms will offer internships during the Christmas and Easter vacations as well.

Internships are offered from a wide variety of employers in different sectors.  Generally, internships in financial related organisations have closing dates of before Christmas or very early in the new year.  Vacation placements at law firms will have early closing dates as well – so have a look now if you want to find something for Christmas or next Easter! Other sectors may have closing dates which are a bit further off.  You’ll find most will close by April or early May so that the company has time to interview and recruit people ready to start in summer.

You can search for internships in the vacancies section of the Careers Service website.  You can also find additional information about where to look for internships and placements in the Work Experience section of the Careers Service website.  If you don’t see anything from companies in the sector you hope to work in,  why not try looking on the websites of companies and organisations directly as they may not always send details in to the Careers Service?

Should I still apply for finance placements and internships?

November 5, 2008

With all the credit crunch news in recent weeks you might be forgiven for thinking that the entire world had collapsed and there were no more jobs to be had in banks and the finance sector.

However, before you wail in anguish and turn your back on this career path, lets take a look at some of the facts:

  • The world hasn’t ended
  • There are still banks and finance companies around
  • These companies need people
  • When times get better (as they always do), they will need even more people with skills and ideally experience to help them do business. If you managed to get a placement or internship in the meantime, that puts you in a great position.
  • Finance departments of organisations also need people (e.g. Management Accountants)

Some more facts…

  • At our recent Finance, Business & Management Fair 58 exhibitors were recruiting for finance roles, and of those 38 were offering internships and placements!
  • We have advertised over 80 internships, placements and placement schemes so far this year.
  • Finance recruiters have been telling us that they really want to carry on recruiting students and graduates, as your skills can help them drive forward the company in future years. They may stop recruiting experienced hires for a while, may even shed a few jobs, but the message is that if they stop recruiting graduates that can harm their competitiveness a few years down the line, so they don’t want to do that.

Now, its also true that at the moment, getting a job in this sector is going to be even more tough than it was before. But it was always a competitive career path to go into, so whilst the number of applicants per job might have increased, what’s really changed?

If you are genuinely interested in finance, take this as a realistic eye opener on what working in the city can be like. Whilst we have had a sustained boom period, the markets are not plain sailing and there will no doubt be other gloom times in the future (as well as good times), so if you are keen on investment banking for example, you will need a healthy risk tolerance.

If you haven’t stopped reading by now and are still interested, you might be asking ‘so what do I do to navigate these uncertain times?’. Well, we could learn a lot from the very ideas finance professionals use. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket, for one. Diversify your portfolio. Hedge your bets. Assess your own risk. Basically, think of a back up career option, what happens if you don’t get the placement or job that you want. Or even, what happens if a few years down the line something happens and your career path becomes a rocky road? The Careers Service can help you here. If you haven’t already visited us, we have information ressources you can pick up, and loads more we can point you to. Talk your ideas over with a Careers Consultant.

How do you stand out from the deluge of other candidates? Do your research… I mean really do it. Understand the companies, what areas they work in. Speak to them at presentations, fairs. Read the FT regularly from now on. Make yourself stand out, get involved with student societies, take on responsibilities. All these things can give you skills they will want to see.

Oh, and don’t wait too long to apply! Some of the investment banks and other finance firms have closing dates in Nov. Others will be before Christmas, and whilst other companies may have open closing dates, the longer you leave it the more applicants you will be trying to outshine.

Some good places to start researching:

Good luck!

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