New Year resolutions!

December 29, 2008

This year I will:

  • Not spend all my student loan on beer
  • Not waste money on a gym membership that I will use once
  • Find out where the library is
  • Experience the novelty of a 9am lecture
  • Find out about my assignments before the deadline
  • Actually revise for exams, not just make large and complicated revision timetables.

Forget it, why bother, you know its not going to happen.

Try this…

Next time you are on campus and trying to find an excuse not to go to the gym, pop into the Careers Service.

  • It’s opposite the aquatics centre so hardly at the ends of the earth
  • It’s warm and dry and they don’t mind if you eat your lunch there
  • Your mum and dad will be dead impressed that you are “taking control of your life”

….and maybe just maybe you’ll find out something that will save you time or even change your life!

This January and February

Many have gone before you and succeeded…. how hard can it be?


Shhhhh…. It’s oh so quiet

December 22, 2008


So you have survived the madness of the first semester! If you came into the Careers Service this term you will have noticed how crazy busy it was with people queueing outside for appointments at 8.30 am! Don’t worry, its not like that all year round!

A word to the wise….

Loads of deadlines are between September & December, everyone is madly looking for part-time jobs and on top of that loads of final years and new graduates are stressing about their career options.

Use your 2nd semester wisely and you will avoid all this!

Semester 2 is much quieter, waiting times for appointments are shorter, so get ahead of the game:

  • Book a guidance appointment to discuss your career plans.
  • Check out work experience opportunities for the summer.
  • Do some volunteering.
  • If you are going to be applying for graduate schemes next year, assess your skills against the employers criteria, if you are lacking… do something about it NOW.
  • Start tailoring your CV for the sector you are interested in – you will be ready for last minute deadlines!

So enjoy your Christmas break, but remember the Careers Service is not just for semester 1, it’s open all year round.

Summer – only 25 weeks away…

December 16, 2008

surfers-52I know it seems silly to be talking about summer now – given that it’s winter, we’ve not finished for Christmas yet, and it’s cold here in Manchester.  However, summer isn’t really as far away as you think (it’s only about 25 weeks until the end of second semester!).  So while you may be thinking of a few weeks in the sun or spending some time relaxing after the end of the academic year, you may want to think again! 

 Given the current economic situation, gaining some work experience or having a job over summer may be a real benefit to you.  Not only financially but in terms of skills and experience to help you when you are applying for graduate jobs in the future.  The Careers Service is still being sent internships and summer vacation jobs, so don’t forget to look at the vacancies section of our website. 

 Quite a few of them have closing dates over the Christmas vacation and exam period, so you may want to spend some of your time in between watching the Doctor Who Christmas special and celebrating with family and friends to complete a few applications!   Others may have longer closing dates or may only be advertised after Christmas, so don’t worry if you don’t have time to start applications now…  as long as you start to think about it before summer actually begins.

Here are a few examples of vacancies available on our website at the moment which may interest you.  If  you don’t see anything you like here, check the website or start to think about what you’d like to do:

  • Internship with UK publisher – The organisation are offering internships in a number of areas including web development, marketing and editing.  Closing date: 31st December 2008.
  • Technology summer internship – The organisation are offering 10 week summer placements to students in Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, Maths or Physics.  Closing date: 31st December 2008.
  • Manufacturing summer internship in UK – The organisation are looking for Electrical, Mechanical and Chemical Engineers.  Closing date: 1st January 2009.
  • Summer internship with large financial organistion – The organisation are looking for students in their penultimate year.  Roles are offered in a number of different areas of the business. Closing date: 4th January 2009.

With the weeks counting down, I’m off to plan my summer holiday!  Enjoy your Christmas break!

Getting a job when you haven’t had any experience (Part I)

December 12, 2008

It’s a question we get asked a lot. When you haven’t had previous experience, how do you get a job (possibly your first job) when employers are looking for skills and some relevant knowledge? This obstacle can appear not only when applying for full time jobs, but also for some placements and internships in competitive sectors, or even part-time work. This can seem an unreasonable stumbling block, but there are things you can do to bridge this gap. So where do you start?

With this post we will look at what to do if you have no previous work experience at all. In the next few weeks we will look at other kinds of situation so hopefully you will find something that applies to you.

  1. What have you done already?
    Start building a CV from things you have done. If you have had positions of responsibility, at school or University, are involved in sports or other hobbies which you have invested considerable time and effort in, or have been involved in student societies, these are all great for showing skills. See our guide to making job applications for some advice on demonstrating your skills.
  2. Transferable skills from your degree
    Show how you have developed transferable skills from your programme of study. These skills are useful even if your degree is not relevant to the job. If you have to work in Problem Based Learning or case study groups, that means team working and problem solving. If you have to do presentations, that develops communication skills. A dissertation project could show analytical ability and possibly even project management. But if you don’t mention them, the recruiter probably won’t guess that you have these.
  3. Apply for part-time work
    Part-time jobs add experience to your CV as some part-time employers do not require previous experience. Even if the job is not related to the career you end up in, this kind of work can be great at building up transferable skills of team working, communication skills, organisation and time management, all of which are useful for nearly any job.
  4. Undertake voluntary work
    Even a couple of hours a week can start building your CV, and again you normally won’t need to show you have previous experience. As with part-time work you can develop your skills and you can support a good cause at the same time. Our Manchester Student Volunteers service can help you find voluntary work, and also try

Working and Studying Abroad

December 9, 2008

Working or studying abroad has many massive benefits (not least giving you a chance to escape the Manchester weather). It can:

  • Help you to improve your language ability.
  • Give you international experience, which is especially useful if you are looking to work for a multinational company, as well as a greater awareness of the culture of the country that you visit.
  • Enable you to show employers that you have initiative and independence.

There are currently three programmes run by the Study Abroad Unit:

  • Erasmus Work allows you to work in Europe for the industrial placement or work component of your degree and receive funding.
  • Erasmus Study Exchange Programme allows you to study in Europe as part of your degree. A competency in language is usually required although some countries will teach in English and you will receive some funding. View the list of placements available.
  • Worldwide Exchange Programme allows you to study outside of Europe as part of your degree. A competency in language is NOT usually required and there is no guaranteed funding. View the list of placements available.

If you would like more information and advice, visit the Study Abroad pages on the University website or visit the Study Abroad Library in Room 2.053, Rutherford Building. The library is open weekdays from 8.30 – 5 and you can also drop in and speak to an advisor 12 – 4.

First year students – get your foot in the door in publishing

December 5, 2008

Pearson Education, a large educational publisher, have been in touch with the Careers Service to tell us they are currently looking for “bright, motivated university students” to become part of the new Pearson Student Advisory Board from September 2009 until August 2010.

If you’re interested in getting into publishing, this is a really great opportunity to get some relevant experience on your CV, make contacts in the industry, get support and advice and maybe get your foot with a large, well-known publisher. To be eligible, you need to be in your second year of study in academic year 2009/10 (i.e. you will be in your first year now).

What’s involved?

You would:

  • Work on projects across campus and attend three, expenses paid, residential weekends.
  • Get support from a Pearson mentor throughout the year and access to additional resources to develop your understanding of the business.
  • Receive £500 plus free Pearson textbooks and travel expenses for the year.

To find out more, contact or check out the Pearson website.

How to apply
Send their CV with details of two referees (one must be a university academic who knows you), together with a covering letter that outlines details of your course and academic attainment (modules completed with grades if available). A 100-word summary outlining your interest in and suitability for becoming a Board member is also required.

Submit your application to: The closing date for applications is 19th December 2008.

Law careers

December 3, 2008

If you’ve harboured an interest in a law career, but ruled it out because you’re not a law student, think again. Non-law graduates can do a one year full-time, or two year part-time, law conversion course, called the Graduate Diploma in Law, to set them on the path to becoming a solicitor or barrister. It’s never too early to research this option. Work experience is really important, not only because it looks good on your CV, but also because it provides a valuable insight into different areas of the profession. Our Starting Point Sheet, ‘Law for Non-Law Students’, gives websites with information on work experience – a vacation scheme with a firm of solicitors or mini-pupillage with a barristers’ chambers.

Pop into the Careers Resource Centre in Crawford House on Booth Street East to pick up a law careers guide so you can check out important information including a timetable for action – i.e. what you need to do and when. For background info, why not read a recent article in the Independent giving a realistic view of what’s involved in becoming a solicitor or barrister.

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