Welcome (back) to Manchester!

September 17, 2012

Whether you’ve just arrived in Manchester to start your first year, or are returning for your second, third or final year after the summer break, we can help you make the most of your time here and help you land a job for when you leave!

So how can we help you?

Exploring your options

We run a number of events throughout the year which can help you get an insight into a variety of industries and hear from people who do these jobs first hand. Search for events on CareersLink, log in using your university username and password: www.manchester.ac.uk/careerslink

Work experience

Work experience, whether it’s a part-time job, volunteering, an internship, work shadowing or getting involved in student societies, is vital to helping you get a job after you graduate! We offer a range of support and advice about work experience on our website: www.manchester.ac.uk/careers/workexperience and we advertise hundreds of part-time and work experience vacancies on CareersLink: www.manchester.ac.uk/careerslink

Applications and Interviews

We offer advice and guidance on applications and interview whether for full-time graduate jobs, part-time work, work experience or for further study.

A good application will get you noticed and get you through to the important interview stage! We offer a range of advice on our website: www.manchester.ac.uk/careers/applications or you can come in for a 15 minute quick query appointment and get your application checked by an expert: www.manchester.ac.uk/careers/students/services/quickquery

Interviews are usually the final hurdle between you and a job! Don’t let your nerves get the better of you, and make sure you’re prepared. We offer practice interviews and have a range of advice on our website: www.manchester.ac.uk/careers/students/services/practiceinterviews/

Accredited Modules

Want to boost your employability and earn credits at the same time? We offer two accredited modules, Career Management Skills which is largely delivered by employers so you can find out first hand the skills they are looking for: www.manchester.ac.uk/careers/students/employable/modules/ and the Manchester Leadership Programme, which combines volunteering with academic study around leadership www.manchester.ac.uk/mlp


Get ahead in the graduate job market – choose career management skills

August 24, 2012

It’s that time of year again when many of you are choosing your modules for the next academic year.  Decisions, decisions, decisions….What will I enjoy?  What am I interested in? What am I good at?

Have you thought about how your module choice will help your future career?  Have you thought about choosing a career management skills (cms) module?

For a number of degree programmes – single honours maths, all BA(Econ) courses and many courses in the faculty of humanities, you can opt to study for a career management skills module. An excellent opportunity to gain academic credits and help your future career at the same time!

Here are 3 good reasons why taking a cms module is a great idea:
•    CMS courses are delivered by the careers service and key graduate employers.  It’s a great opportunity to find out first-hand what recruiters look for in their graduates and how to get-ahead in their recruitment processes and the graduate job market in general.
•    Employers look for a good degree, but also for key practical skills such as leadership, communication and team working. Have you thought about how you are going to provide evidence of these skills when applying for jobs in the future?
As part of the module, you may work on a group project for an outside organisation which will provide some real evidence of these practical skills to add to your CV. Previous projects have included: event management for a local charity, researching ‘user’ satisfaction for a community group, devising marketing materials for arts and sports organisations. CMS will also help you to sell these skills effectively on your CV or in application forms and in interviews or assessment centres
•    It’s assessed by 100% coursework so no exams!  You will get extensive feedback on your graduate level CV and cover letter and attend workshops on Interviews, Assessment Centres, Career Choice plus many more.

You will need to confirm your eligibility with your course administrator. Many final year as well as second year students have been given approval to take cms modules in the past.

Find out more about the courses today:
For Humanities Students
For Maths Students

Any don’t just take my word for it.  Here are some quotes from students who took cms last year….

“Career Management Skills surpassed my expectations and has been one of my most enjoyable, though challenging modules at University.”

“I was recently offered a job and I feel CMS contributed to this.”

Short term work experience over the summer

August 7, 2012

There are still some short term vacancies for over the summer, so if you don’t yet have any work experience sorted yet, then check out what is still available and apply before it is too late! Work experience of even a few weeks can give you an opportunity to develop your skills for both continuing your degree studies and preparing you for a job after your course.

Some companies offer up to four week placements or even part time work, which in some cases is longer term and could fit around your studies. Look through a variety of sources including local newspapers, job websites, through your own contacts or contacting employers direct, as well as firstly checking vacancies on the University’s CareersLink website.

One example of a current summer internship for undergraduates is:

Journalist Student Internship with the Red Army on CareersLink, Ref: 14089.

There are 10 part time Journalist positions available. This role needs interns who are inquisitive, excellent at writing for magazines and the web, relating with all kinds of different people, as well as having a cool head under pressure and absorbing information quickly. As the Red Army is a publication for Manchester United, it is important for this role to have an interest in the football club and football in general.

Read the rest of this entry »

Considering your module choice options? Think again…

July 30, 2012

We (your Careers Service) offer Career Management Skills (CMS) modules which give you the chance to gain academic credits, meet employers and develop skills to make you employable


CMS modules are a great way for you to improve your:

  • Job search strategy
  • CVs and applications
  • Interview technique
  • Teamwork skills
  • Presentation skills
  • Business awareness

Plus many lectures are delivered by employers so you can find out exactly what skills they look for.

Through CMS you can build on the skills you have through taking part in group projects and case studies. You can also assess and evaluate your skills helping you prepare for the recruitment process and the world of work.

Some CMS modules are compulsory, some optional and many are credit-bearing.  Look in your school handbook to find out if there is one you can attend, or visit: www.manchester.ac.uk/careers/cms

What I Did On My Summer Holidays.

July 24, 2012

Nobody wants to think about summer coming to an end (although, with the weather we’ve had so far this year, you might feel like summer never got started)  However, the weeks tick by faster than we’d like and September will be here all too soon. So, what are you doing with your summer and how can you make the most of the opportunities it offers to fill up your CV and increase your career development skills?

 Working / Volunteering Over Summer

Whether undertaking a summer internship or you found yourself a vacation job, now is the time to maximise the value of that experience. Make a list of what your responsibilities are and identify the skills you’re using or developing in order to perform those duties well. Even if you think that what you’re doing isn’t relevant to the career you want to pursue, any type of work can equip you with excellent transferable skills that are required for most jobs i.e. team-working, problem-solving and communication. You are very likely going to have to demonstrate to a future employer that you have these types of skills. Start compiling your evidence and examples now rather than having to try later to remember everything you did.  When you’re putting your next application together, this will make the process much easier. Think your volunteering / part-time job isn’t giving you ‘proper’ work experience to draw on? Think again. See Jamie’s blog on the value of all types of experience and how they can boost the skills on your CV.

Has your work experience so far given you food-for-thought with regards to your career options? Whether you’re loving or hating what you’re doing, think clearly about the experience. Write down what you feel about that type of work and what are the elements that influence those feelings. Is it the people you work with or the environment you’re in? Are you feeling motivated by the objectives of your job or the skills you get to use?  If you can articulate exactly what you do and don’t like, it can help you identify the jobs you might want to consider in future (or avoid like the plague!). If you’re not sure what types of jobs contain the elements you find attractive in a role, book an appointment to talk to a Careers Consultant and we can help you identify options to explore. If you always thought you knew what you wanted to do but are feeling lost now that your work experience has convinced you otherwise, you’ll probably find a chat about your change of career direction beneficial too.

Think about the contacts you’re making while working including your boss, colleagues or contacts in other organisations.  If appropriate, keep in touch with as many of these people as possible.  Networking is a valuable skill and you never know when an opportunity might come your way because of someone you know.  If you’re doing a good job they might be able to recommend you if they hear of another opportunity opening up. They might welcome you back for more work in the future or provide a glowing reference for your next application.  Use sites like Twitter and LinkedIn to keep them updated on what you’re up to and what opportunities you’re looking for. Remember to keep it professional though, they don’t need to see your tweets about the great party on Saturday night or the accompanying photographs!


Employers won’t value time spent travelling, right? Wrong.  It all comes down to how you articulate what you’ve gained from the experience.  If you’re working while travelling, the above advice applies.  Even if you didn’t work and simply soaked up the culture, you’re probably gaining or developing more skills than you realise. First and foremost, language skills.  Languages are valued in a variety of roles. See Prospects for an overview of such roles. It takes self-confidence to pack up and immerse yourself in an unknown country for weeks at a time.  You’re getting experience of meeting and communicating with a variety of people and developing an appreciation of different lifestyles and cultures. Travelling alone means being independent and making friends quickly.  The key is to demonstrate to an employer that you came back from your travels with more than a tan and some great memories.

Do you know what you want to do in Summer 2013 It’s never too early to think about this, honestly

Whether you’ll be graduating or making plans for the next summer vacation, do you know what’s next for you? Maybe getting a job or summer internship, starting a Graduate Scheme or further study? If you know what you want to do, do you know how to get there? Firstly, identify the requirements to get what you want and make sure you can meet them. Maybe you don’t know the exact opportunity you’re going to apply for but start researching now (rather than at the end of the academic year when exams and studying will be your priority)  Get an understanding of what the jobs/schemes/courses in your chosen sector are asking for. You’ve got time now to start filling any gaps in your skills or experience. It’s also vital to find out the application dates and deadlines, especially for Graduate schemes and internships. Do you know some of the Graduate schemes will already be open? Do you appreciate that the opening date can be more important than the closing date? See Sarah’s recent post for more info on Grad schemes.  If further study is your choice, have you looked into the application process, which institutions offer your preferred subjects, funding requirements and what financial support may be available to you?

Whatever you choose to do, I can guarantee you will get asked “Why do you want to do this?”. It is vital you can answer this for two reasons.  Firstly, any employer /institution wants to know your motivation for applying for a job or course. Can you articulate what interests you and why, what you think you’ll get from the opportunity and how it fits into your career aspirations? From the employer’s perspective, if they’re going to invest time and money in developing you, are you going to be committed, keen and motivated to make the most of the role?

The second reason to be able to answer “Why do you want to do this?” is to be sure it’s the right choice for you.  Is a Graduate scheme the best way in to your chosen career sector?  Is Postgraduate study vital for the job you want and, if not vital, does it give you a competitive edge?  Picture yourself at the end of the scheme or course; what will you do now you’ve completed it?  If you don’t know what benefits you’ll get from whatever you plan to do next, is it right for you? If you’re undertaking Postgraduate study just because you don’t know what else to do, or applying for Graduate Schemes because it’s what all your friends are doing, it might not be the most useful next step for you.

No idea yet what Summer 2013 might look like for you? You’re far from being alone, trust me.  At the Careers Service we see plenty of students who are still figuring out what’s next for them and there’s lots we can do to help. Try Career KickStart to help you identify where you’re at now and what are the key areas you can take action in. Come into the Careers Resource Centre to look at the range of resources we have available and have a chat about the ways we can support you.

Well, as I finish writing this, the elusive sun has decided to put in an appearance. The theme of this blog was to encourage you to think about how what you’re doing now can help you in the future. There’s no reason you can’t do that thinking in the park with an ice-cream.

Looking for work – how selective can you afford to be?

July 18, 2012

Here’s a dilemma for you

  • Unemployment rates are high, some students fear they might not get a job when they graduate.
  • Yet employers tell us they can’t find graduates to fill the jobs.
  • Students and new graduates tell us they aren’t interested in the jobs available.
  • Yet some graduates are content to stay on in casual jobs in bars and fast foot outlets, rather than finding graduate level roles.

Here at Careers Service we hear from students every day that “there are no jobs” and yet we have employers desperate to find students and graduates to apply for vacancies.

We have seen that some vacancies get few hits on our database, and some get few applicants.

Whats going on?

  • Some students are just not ready to think about employment after their final year: High flyers survey tells us that nationally –   13% have no plans after graduation,  12% plan to go travelling or take a gap year, 8% intend to volunteer or get work experience.
  • Are we blinded by high profile companies and won’t look at other organisations no matter what the job is?
  • Are smaller or less high profile companies just not very good at making their opportunities sound interesting?
  • Are some locations not appealing enough?
  • Are the salaries not high enough?
  • Some students tell us they are put off by the time it takes to make an application.
  • Is it low priority to think about careers and graduate jobs if you could continue in your student casual job after you graduate?

If you can’t get your ideal job are you going to give up or look at other options?

The simple facts are:

  • A job is not for life! If you don’t like it or find a better one you can leave.
  • Taking a job in a smaller company may give you more responsibility earlier – a great start to your career.
  • It’s easier to get a job when you are in a job. You are gaining skills and experience and therefore look attractive to other employers.
  • All jobs can’t be exciting all the time. Everyone has things they would prefer not to have to do in a job, be realistic about what jobs really involve.
  • Taking a gap year can be useful, but if you don’t plan ahead it can easily turn into 2 years off with no income.
  • Jobseekers allowance isn’t much, your friends will be out at work so it can get pretty dull especially if you end up having to move home.
  • Casual jobs like bar and fast food jobs are fine to earn money, but if there is no hope of progression and you are still doing it 2 years after graduation it’s not ideal.  Aim to be looking for roles that will give you more experience and skills while you earn money to pay the bills – you could consider a graduate internship.

You can’t afford not to be looking for work.

You only have so much time, so which jobs SHOULD you apply for and which ones should you ignore?

Apply for:

  • Jobs you have the relevant skills and experience for.
  • Jobs you have some of the relevant skills and experience for. Don’t be put off by a long list of requirements you may still be better than other applicants.
  • Jobs where you may not know much about the company but the role sounds interesting. You can easily research the company to find out more.
  • Jobs in places you may not have heard of.  It may not be as far away as you think – research bus and train fares. You don’t necessarily have to live there, if you can commute less than an hour each way you are doing well!
  • Jobs that are less than the average salary.  The average graduate salary is due to hit £26K this year but that takes into account big city firms, most starting salaries will be well below this. 
  • Jobs that are low paid but give you great experience to progress your career – e.g. admin work or teaching assistants.
  • Think strategically – if the location or some element of the job is a little offputting to you, others will probably feel the same. Low application numbers = more chance of success for you!


  •  Jobs you can’t be bothered to properly research.
  • Jobs you would turn down if you got an interview or an offer.

If you are simply not interested you are wasting your time and the recruiter’s.

There are simply thousands of immediate start jobs available right now, but you need to have a positive attitude and be prepared to put in the time to make a good application.  Employers would rather be short staffed than take on  staff with bad attitudes. So what are you waiting for? Get applying…


What is an internship and how can it benefit me?

July 13, 2012

The word ‘internship’ is used for a variety of work experience, placements and summer jobs.

Originally this was an American term used to describe a period of professional experience, which is possibly career related. Nowadays it can also be used to describe a variety of professional work opportunities. You could also find a number of other words used in job adverts describing ‘professional work experience’. This can include:

  • Placements
  • Placement Year
  • Work experience
  • Undergraduate/ Graduate opportunity
  • Vacation work
  • Trainee

Look beyond the job title and company name to find out the real value of the opportunity on offer. Always check out the vacancy details to get a better impression of the role. Do you have the skills they want? Does it give you work experience that develops your skills and knowledge for your degree or future career? Do you want to apply to the role?

So what are the benefits of doing an internship or some professional work experience?

  • Gives you an insight into a professional role, type of career or work environment/culture
  • Opportunities to acquire new skills and knowledge in a specific area of interest
  • Develop further the skills gained from your degree
  • Develop skills and experience like team working, taking initiative, good communication, organisation, working to deadlines, leadership, negotiation, attention to detail and the list can go on…all of which are called transferable skills and highly sought after by employers
  • Possible contacts and referees for when you are applying for future jobs

For more information and links to useful websites including Prospects and TARGETjobs see the work experience page on the Careers Service website.

For more information on the range of jobs for work experience over the summer including internships log on to CareersLink

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