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…



There’s something for everyone at the Graduate Fair

June 4, 2012

The University of Manchester Graduate Fair takes place at the Armitage Centre in Fallowfield on the 13 and 14 June 2012. It’s your chance to meet with over 160 employers (different ones on each day), who all have immediate vacancies. Find out more and register here: www.manchester.ac.uk/graduatefair

A number of recruiters are looking for graduates of any discipline: Abercrombie and Fitch, Arcadia Group, The Co-operative Group, Deloitte LLP, Google, Matalan, Royal Air Force, Teach First, adidas Group, Asda, Civil Service, Emerald Group Publishing Limited, HSBC, Rolls Royce plc, TEFL Express and Warner Music to name but a few.

A number of others have more specific requirements and are looking for language, business or law students, engineers, scientists and mathematicians.

View the full list of recruiters by subject here: http://www.careers.manchester.ac.uk/media/services/careersandemployabilitydivision/careersservice/talkshandouts/calendarofevents/Summer-Fair-Rec-by-Subject-2012.pdf

Want to know how to make the most of the fair? Come along to one of our ‘Prepare for the Fair’ seminars, more details here: www.manchester.ac.uk/careers/summercareersevents/?src=blog

Power of Positivity

January 9, 2012

Worrying about finding a job? Did you know Recruitment Company REED surveyed over 1,000 businesses and found that 97% of employers would employ an applicant with a positive mind-set even if they were not as strong as other candidates in terms of skills and achievements. So when attending a job interview or event always ensure you convey positivity above all else.

Clearly we don’t always feel positive, especially in this socioeconomic climate. Global recession, inflation, increased tuition fees, public sector job cuts, soaring petrol prices all beg the question ‘What is there to be positive about?’ However the question you should be asking is ‘Why should I be positive?’ because the answer is a much more satisfying one.

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From shark cage diving in South Africa… to serving coffee in Fallowfield.

November 21, 2011

In today’s economy job seeking is getting harder … CareersLink is an amazing resource open to all students at the University of Manchester offering an impossibly wide range of jobs from around the world. I found out about it through a career management module I’m doing this year and have never looked back.

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The upside of the downturn

November 2, 2011

I’ve been thinking a lot about the recession and how it is inevitably going to affect most final year students. I was given the opportunity to volunteer at Refugee Action because they were in strong need of people within a department that was heavily cut in staff, following Home Office funding cuts. In the same way there was inter-departmental competition for jobs, there is equally stronger competition for graduate jobs within certain sectors. So whilst I’m stepping into a career in international development at a time when many are becoming redundant following Home Office cuts, it comes as no surprise why people are grasping as many opportunities as they can. Read the rest of this entry »

Final year at university, and then what?

October 1, 2010

12/30 - 4/365 by Kendra Infinity

Student blogger, Helen McGuire

I’m now officially in my final year at university, from now on every day is part of the inevitable countdown to my introduction into the adult world and all the delights of commuting, wearing suits and paying council tax. What worries me the most about this year is that I still cannot decide what I’d like to do after I graduate.

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New Year, Old Worries

January 24, 2010

Student blogger, Angela Wipperman

So, now what? The graduate programmes don’t want me, the job market is still pretty closed and I have no money to travel. I need a plan. It’s pretty easy to get caught up in exams, dissertations, uni work in general, but somewhere along the way plans have to be made, and thoughts have to be thought. That is, unless I want to spend my summer doing my dad’s filing desperately filing out job applications for positions rivalling for first place in the most uninspiring ranks.

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