The lastest career news and comment from the University of Manchester. The University of Manchester Careers Service aims to improve the employability of its students and also recent graduates. This is done by enhancing their skills, organising tailored events and giving expert advice.
Getting into the environmental sector can seem like such a puzzle – what’s the difference between a sustainability consultant and an environmental consultant? How do I get an entry level ecologist role when they all ask for previous experience? Do I really need a masters? As a recent graduate interested in this sector I was feeling completely lost.
Fortunately the careers service is here to help, and on the 13th of March the service ran an Environmental Careers event with alumni at various stages of their career dropping in to answer questions on everything from further study to long-term career progression. Don’t worry if you missed it, though, I’ll be breaking down what I learned at the event.
A masters is helpful, but not essential
Previous figures suggest that ~65% of people working in the ‘Low carbon and environmental goods and services’ (LCEGS) industry have a master’s degree or higher, so if you’re interested in this sector it’s definitely worth considering further study. A masters is also a great way to segway into the sector from a less obviously-related degree.
However, several members of the panel didn’t actually have master’s degrees. A year in industry, volunteering and other work experience can also provide valuable skills for this sector.
Expand your search beyond large companies
When someone says ‘environmental consultancies’ it’s likely that you’ll think of the big ones: Atkins, Arup, Mott MacDonald, ERM and even maybe some of the medium-sized ones such as RSK, but across the EU over 90% of companies in the LCEGS sector are SMEs. It really is worth expanding your search within the environmental sector to companies of all sizes.
That being said, different sized companies come with a different atmosphere, and a similar sounding role is likely to look very different. Do you like lots of responsibility from day one, having lots of visibility and to be closer to the decision makers? Maybe a smaller company is where you would fit best. If you prefer structured training and working on big projects you may want to look at opportunities in larger companies.
Make speculative applications
Work experience opportunities in the environmental sector can be hard to come by, and it may seem like the smaller companies don’t have opportunities for internships or placements because they never seem to come up in the job search. However, it was made very clear by several members of the panel that opportunities are either not advertised widely or in some cases aren’t advertised at all. Instead, you need to make speculative applications.
Speculative applications can vary from contacting an employee on LinkedIn to ask about opportunities, to emailing a CV and cover letter to the hiring manager or even a phone call. They can feel a bit intimidating though, so if you’re unsure of speculative applications you can make an appointment with the Careers service to discuss different strategies.
Passion will take you a long way
Of course gaining experience and skills – be it through volunteering, internships or part-time work – is valuable, but every single member of the panel drove one point home more than any other: passion will take you a long way. It isn’t enough to have the qualifications and the experience, you need to show that you are driven to make a change within this area. Being passionate about your area of interest is key, and in order to get that first role you need to be able to portray this passion in your application and interviews. If you feel you need a bit of guidance with putting your passion across then please contact the Careers service to see how they can help.
So there you have it; my biggest take-aways from the Environmental Careers event. If you want to find out more about working in the environmental sector, have a look at the careers service website, the environmental sciences guide or visit the careers desk in the Atrium in University Place to find out how the careers service can help you.
Written by Hajra Tahir, First Year Law with Politics Student at UoM
The life of an average Uni student is comprised of what seems like endless studying, back to back lectures, coursework deadlines, volunteering, gruelling placement searches, CV updating, and let’s not forget, the occasional social event or night out with friends. When time is split into a million different slots, it becomes increasingly frustrating when things take more time than you can afford to allocate.
A large proportion of this time is dedicated specifically to preparing for the future. Internships, Vacation Schemes, Insight Days and Work Experience are all some of the most valuable activities you can involve yourself in – (and incidentally the most time consuming!) By establishing a foothold in prospective career options as a student, you greatly increase your chances of employment and develop essential skills that will broaden your realm of opportunity as a graduate.
However, often a time for BAME students, this process is considerably more frustrating. For a person of colour, every opportunity that you come across is not always a chance to extend your course-related skills or experience working in a new environment. Many BAME students feel they are hindered from breaking into predominantly white industries as a result of inherent prejudices within large companies and firms; despite ethnically diverse workforces increasing an average company’s financial returns by 35%. This discourages students of colour from seeking traditional work-related opportunities, resulting in an increase in demand for schemes tailored specifically to accommodate BAME students.
The issue at hand with such schemes, is that they are very difficult to find. When your time is as thinly spread as it is in University, spending an extortionate amount of time searching for extra-curricular opportunities inside and outside of Uni is somewhat counterproductive. This blog post aims to resolve this issue by organising the various opportunities available to BAME students – so you can make more productive use of your time.
1) MEDIA AND JOURNALISM
Arguably one of the most difficult industries to infiltrate as a person of colour is the media. With a heavy history of under-representation, traditional media outlets such as Television and Radio can be considered somewhat feudal in comparison to more modern creative channels of expression. These contemporary avenues allow aspiring BAME media professionals to flourish and gradually ease their way into conventional routes. The following schemes and websites allow BAME students to achieve this.
Creative access is one of the most helpful websites available. They provide a range of opportunities from renowned media giants such as The BBC, ITV Studios, Bloomsbury and many other firms that could potentially support your budding career in the entertainment industry. This includes summer internships, book publishing programmes and even Youtube Channel Management workshops!
The BAME Short Story contest is an exciting annual competition that allows aspiring writers to enhance their CVs as well as receive a cash prize for their efforts. The winner will be able to attend an exclusive one-day Publishing workshop hosted by the 4th Estate, as well as having their story published on the Guardian Website.
Pop-up Projects (a London based Illustrations company) in partnership with House of Illustration are set to launch a two year pilot scheme that offers a 70 day workshop/master class/business training package to a selected number of BAME illustrators. The chosen illustrators will produce 5 small pieces, the best being sold by the House of Illustrations and distributed by Pop-up. The pieces will also go on display at the London Book Fair and Bologna Children’s Book Fair.
2) CORPORATE WORLD AND BUSINESS
Another industry that is largely dominated by racially exclusive firms, is the corporate world. Jobs in Marketing, Management, Law, Banking, Accountancy and Business traditionally have limited space for graduates of colour, making it particularly difficult to grow professionally in an already cutthroat field. The following are schemes and opportunities that will enable BAME students in particular to gain a competitive edge and enhance their CVs and applications.
Uncovering Prospects in the City host an annual event for high performing Black/Afro- Caribbean students to explore internship opportunities in Investment Banking and Finance in London. Professionals working at the World’s top 7 City firms will be available to give the best interpersonal advice to the participants.
The Dil Internship Project is a scheme aimed at (but not limited to) South Asian students of Pakistani descent who wish to not only give back to their community but develop integral commercial skills along the way. The opportunities available from this project consist of London, Dubai and Karachi based businesses offering long-term and seasonal schemes predominantly revolving around marketing and management. There are also opportunities available for other professions such as engineering.
Diversity Access Schemes is another beneficial opportunity put forth by the Law Society that enables diverse young individuals undergoing extenuating circumstances to earn a scholarship that will fully fund their Legal Practise Course. The project is sponsored by a range of top firms including Hogan & Lovells and Eversheds and Sunderland – further widening the horizon of prospective employers.
The final sector that I will be talking about is technological and biological sciences. BAME students can visibly be seen to make up a large proportion of most STEM subjects at University and A-levels. Despite this only 3% of tech leadership programmes are held by ethnic minorities. The following scheme helps bridge the disparity between these figures.
For more support and skills based internship/ seasonal opportunities, visit the University of Manchester Careers Service. The Careers Service has various resources to optimise your experience as a BAME student and help you progress career wise, post-graduation.
Are you looking for work experience during the Summer or after you graduate. Are you an international student struggling to get sponsorship for employment in the UK under Tier 2 or Tier 5 visas? Are you looking ultimately to get some experience as an international student and bring this home with you? Or are you a UK/EU student looking to expand their experience on their CV and go overseas for a while?
If you answered yes to any of these questions then a J1 visa could be the answer for you.
What is the J1 visa?
Well it is the Exchange Visitor (J) non-immigrant visa category for the USA and is for individuals approved to participate in work-and study-based exchange visitor programs. Graduates from the UK whether you are a British National, EU citizen or International student you are eligible to apply for Internship programmes in the USA for up to 12 months. These internships enable university students or recent graduates to go to the USA to gain exposure to culture and to receive hands-on experience in USA business practices in your chosen occupational field. It enables graduates and students to get some great brand names on their CVs and experience abroad range of business opportunities. Equally all students no matter where you are from can apply within the UK to get their J1 visa and there is no limit to how many J1 visas you can have as long as you meet their criteria. Unlike the UK the employer is not your sponsor for a J1 visa it is an agency and a full list can be found here https://j1visa.state.gov/participants/how-to-apply/sponsor-search/?program=Intern
So what now? Well the first step to getting experience in the USA and a J1 visa is to find opportunities.
You can do this by using the websites Vault, Glassdoor.com (ensure Glassdoor is .com not .co.uk) and LinkedIn. In the USA you will be looking for opportunities titled “internships” whether it is graduate experience or summer experience. In the USA the terms “graduate scheme” or “graduate programme” does not exist and in fact the term “scheme” means something illegal in the States.
You can search the 3 websites mentioned above with your field of interest for example if you are looking at engineering then you would search “engineering internships” On the various websites there are filtering options which include location, salary etc. When using LinkedIn ensure in your Summary section you have the phrase “J1 Visa Candidate” at the start so employers who view your profile know that they are not responsible for your visa. If you use LinkedIn you can apply with your profile instead of a CV and cover letter so ensure your profile is up to date with a professional photo. Similarly if you applying using a cover letter and CV ensure “J1 Visa Candidate” is visible on both documents. A CV in the USA is 1 page only so make what you put on there count. Use Glassdoor to help find work but also to research what an intern can earn as it contains company, interview and salary reviews.
If you are applying via the company directly and are filling in an online application form then make sure when they ask “Are you authorised to work in the United States?” you answer yes as you will have a J1 visa. When the question comes up about sponsorship on the application form “will you now or in the future require sponsorship for employment visa status?” you answer no as you have an independent sponsor and you will not require the company to sponsor you.
We recommend using the cover letter from Parenthese a J1 Visa Sponsor who visits the University of Manchester twice an academic year to talk to students about J1 visas. On their website under the Student tab you will find links to really helpful information including how to get started and most important the “Pick Me” section which details application advice. You can click on the following link to access their recommended cover letter format which informs the employer in the USA of the advantages of hiring an overseas intern as well as the financial benefits http://www.parenthese-london.co.uk/students/internship/pick-me/let-us-be-your-network/ use the cover letter template keeping the sections in bold only changing the sections not in bold. There is lots of great advice and information on this website.
Paid or Unpaid Internships?
We recommend only looking at paid internships rather than unpaid. Do your research regarding the company using Glassdoor.com and LinkedIn. Make sure you know what the basic living costs are for the area of the USA you want to work in and that the job you are applying for will cover those expenses. For instance San Francisco you would require a job that paid $3500 per month and new York $2500 for basic living costs: food, rent, internet, travel etc. These salaries are not unreasonable for these areas. Avoid companies that want you to pay a fee up front to work for them to cover the cost of materials etc as these are usually not legitimate. If it sounds too good to be true the rule is it usually is too good to be true. If in doubt however contact the Careers Service at the University or your chosen J1 Visa Sponsor and they can let you know if it is a reputable organisation.
What do you need to look for when picking a sponsor?
Ensure you research your sponsor and you understand what is included with the offer of a visa.
Make sure the medical cover is high enough although $1million may sound like a lot health cover for a broken finger can be very expensive.
Does the sponsor do checks on your potential employer to ensure your safety at work and that you will receive proper training and supervision!
Do they offer support while you are in the USA in case you need help or get into trouble?
I have my job offer and a sponsor what next?
Well after you have been approved by the sponsor and the company you are working for is checked and confirmed you can then apply for the visa which includes a trip to the US Embassy for your fingerprints, fee and short interview. This is standard and very straight forward as long as you do not have a criminal record. Your sponsor should give you all the information you need to know regarding fees for your sponsor as well as your SERVIS fee and what steps need to be taken. It can take as little as 3 weeks to turn around an application for a J1 Visa.
Good luck and remember to make the most of your experience.
Written by Zofia Rozalska, Student Engagement Consultant at the Careers Service
In your final year of study and wondering ‘What next?’
It’s totally fine to feel overwhelmed with the amount of important decisions you have to make in your final year. So. we’ve come up with a handy checklist that will hopefully help you take things one step at a time.
Get started with LinkedIn
Add a LinkedIn profile, keep it updated and join professional groups. It’s a great way to make yourself visible to potential employers and make connections with people you already know. Plus you cans use the search to connect with alumni around the globe for insight and guidance. More tips on LinkedIn here.
Browse through CareersLink
Use the service to search for job vacancies and set-up email alerts for new opportunities. You can find anything from part time jobs, internships, work experience, graduate jobs and voluntary opportunities. Some vacancies are even exclusive for Manchester graduates!
Talk to the Careers Service
Whether you are just getting started thinking about your future or have some clear ideas, we can help. Come visit us for a one to one appointment to discuss your career ideas and plans. Can’t come in person? Phone or Skype guidance appointments are available as well.
Prepare for interviews
Got an interview coming up? We can help! From 1-1 help with preparation and practice to interview simulations, there’s a wealth of resources available to help you prepare.
Attend an event
Looking for jobs or just want to browse? There are plenty of events held every week to cater to your needs. They are a great opportunity to meet people from the organisation and ask any questions you have. There are also workshops and interactive training sessions where you can practice skills for assessment centres or find out about a job from the people who do them.
Most importantly, don’t stress. Take one action at a time and make small changes to set yourself up for success. And remember, it’s not too late to start now.
Written by Kareem Belfon, Student Communications and Marketing Assistant at the Careers Service.
I have many regrets in my life. I regret not using a screen protector on my phone before bringing it on a night out and, inevitably, smashing it to pieces. I regret not learning another language as a child. I regret not finding out about the existence of halloumi fries earlier in my life.
I also regret the way I organised my time when I was a student, especially when it came to preparing for life after graduation. Here’s a list of things I would tell myself this time last year about managing my time.
You should put aside an hour or two a week and dedicate it to careers related research and preparation. Think of it as the ‘Invisible Module.’ Spend as much time working on this module as you would any other.
You’re an English Literature and Linguistics student – you have about 6 contact hours a week. There’s DEFINITELY time to pencil in some ‘Invisible Module’ sessions into your timetable. An hour of writing applications here, an hour of volunteering there. Easy.
You shouldn’t feel guilty about taking time out of the library to do some careers related research. It’s just as important as acing your exams and making sure all of your coursework is complete.
Planning life after graduation shouldn’t just be something you do in your final year. Put in the ground work in first and second year and you’ll be in a much better position come semester two of your final year.
Please, PLEASE do some interview preparation as early as you can. You’re going to apply for a job and have the interview from hell, which could have easily been avoided if you did a bit of research into how to handle job interviews. You’ll also have nightmares about this interview every so often. Yes, it was that bad.
Make the most out of quieter periods in the semester and use that time to get work experience, apply for jobs, do some research into job roles and improve your LinkedIn presence.
You can’t be productive while watching Netflix on another tab. It literally can’t be done. I’ve tried many, many times. But trust me, it cannot be done. Just turn it off and get on with it. You’ll thank me later.
Aiswarya Kishor an Indian student who studied MEng (Hons) Biomaterials Science and Tissue Engineering and graduated in 2018 tells us of her career journey so far. Aiswarya is now a Graduate Information Developer at Arm in the UK.
I have always admired people who knew what they wanted to do with their careers, especially because I was never one of them. When I first arrived in Manchester in September 2014, I was clueless about what I wanted to do after graduating and so, every summer during university, I worked as an intern to discern which path suited me most.
By third year, I had narrowed the options down to working in research. To the ears of a tissue engineering student, a career on the brink of medical breakthroughs sounded exhilarating! To test it out, I worked as a research intern at Oxford University. It was during that internship that I had the epiphany that working in a lab simply wasn’t the right fit for me. By then, my final year at university was about to begin and most of my limited work experience was geared towards a career in academia.
The natural alternative to pursuing a PhD and going down the research path was to find a graduate job. I soon decided this would be my goal and started actively job-hunting. During that time, several well-meaning friends warned me that finding a job in the UK as an international student was difficult, to say the least, but I was certain of my goal and determined not to give up. The very day I began applying, the rejections started pouring in and I began to experience firsthand the challenge of finding a company willing to sponsor a non-UK/EU citizen.
Throughout the process, the one thing that worked in my favour was the emphasis most companies place on ‘transferrable skills’. As a proactive person who likes to get involved and try new things, I had unwittingly picked up many of those exact skills while volunteering on campus, juggling part-time jobs, participating in student societies and writing for the Mancunion.
In May 2018, these skills and the loving support of some close friends and family helped me bag a graduate job! I now work at Arm — a vibrant company filled with smart, friendly people — doing a job that combines several of my interests and skills. I’ve now been here for about 6 months and I can honestly say that I wake up every morning looking forward to going to work. Looking to the future, I may not know where I’ll be in 5 years’ time, but I am confident that I can handle whatever life throws my way. After all, completing job applications, attending interviews, writing a final year dissertation and facing rejections all at once? Been there, done that.
Some of my top tips for international students hoping to secure a graduate job:
There’s no better time to start than now. Keep toxic people a mile away and ignore their words of discouragement. If you really want that job, just work hard and be resilient.
Grab every opportunity to gain experience while you are still a student. It is surprisingly common for summer internships and placements to lead to graduate offers.
Don’t underestimate the power of networking — it helps you build essential contacts and discover new jobs. Employee referrals will only boost your chances of getting that dream job!
Many companies use algorithms to sieve through applications so make sure your CV includes the keywords they are looking for.
Manchester has a terrific careers service! Make the most of it. Arrange one-to-one sessions with experienced career consultants, network at Meet the Professionals events, find vacancies on CareersLink and speak to a solicitor if you have any concerns regarding the visa application process.
Basically an internship (in the UK) is a period of paid work experience usually full time. Often it is in summer so that you have several months to get a decent period of experience but some are shorter.
Lets look at what an internship is in more detail..
Lots of large recruiters offer an “internship” in the summer of your prefinal year so that they can attract talent to their organisation. They may select good interns to go onto their graduate scheme, or it may be a separate recruitment process.
Students do “internships” to help them choose which company they want to work for and what type of work they like. You can intern in one company but get a graduate job in a different company the experience is still valid.
BUT NO you don’t have to have something called an internship on your CV to get a graduate job.
Not all work experience is called an internship. Working in a company for 3 months over the summer is just as valid no matter what it is called. It’s about the nature of the work and the skills you gain not what it’s called.
Working as a volunteer for a charity is also a great source of work experience especially if you need to show evidence of working in the not for profit sector for a future career.
Student societies and extracurricular activities are actually one of the few ways to develop leadership or management experience. You can often show real tangible outcomes too as it’s all your own work.
It’s likely some of your classmates will be talking about internships, but actually not all the opportunities for 1st year students are called internships at all. They are usually shorter, may happen in summer or Easter, or if it’s just a visit day, pretty much at any time.
Want to do an internship or get experience overseas?
Just be aware that the meaning of an internship differs in different countries. It may be considered to be something you do as a graduate, it may not fit into a summer vacation, it will often be unpaid and you will also find opportunities you have to pay to do. Do your research and talk to us about your plans.
Written by Kim Bailey, Careers Consultant at the Careers Service
What are the main routes into working for the Civil Service?
The Fast Stream is described as the ‘fastest route to real leadership,’ and is typically a three year programme where you move round departments, working on varied projects.
Sadie graduated from the University of Manchester in 2017 with BSc (Hons) Management and is now on the Project Delivery Fast Stream
“The best thing about the Fast Stream is the wide variety of roles, teams and departments that you will be involved in, whilst being given responsibility to work on projects that make a real difference in society. My first placement was in HMRC working on the EU-EXIT Contingency Programme within Customs and Borders. Following this, I went on secondment to a women’s charity and became responsible for progressing their regional development strategy and opening a centre in a new city. The scheme is challenging due to the diversity of roles, but it is always rewarding and ensures I am continually developing new skills and capabilities.”
Some of you may have applied for the Fast Stream last semester, but try not to be too downhearted if you didn’t get in this time, as the Fast Stream had 40,570 applications last year for 1,330 vacancies. It is very common for students to try again in subsequent years and have more chance of success with more work experience under their belts. If you want to apply in 2019, for a Sep/Oct 2020 start you can pre-register your details here https://www.faststream.gov.uk/ for a notification when the application window opens, which is highly recommended so you don’t miss out
However, a less frequently known route is to enter the Civil Service by applying directly for a job here https://www.civilservicejobs.service.gov.uk. You may choose this route for many different reasons. Perhaps you want to ‘try before you buy’ and get some exposure to the Civil Service before you apply for the Fast Stream, or you want to gain more experience before applying for the Fast Stream a second time, which you can do as an internal candidate.
Or perhaps the Fast Stream isn’t of interest to you and you want to know about alternatives. A little known fact is that once you get your foot in the door and get your first job at the Civil Service, all the internal vacancies will be open for you, meaning you can create your own path in the Civil Service, and move onto new jobs at a pace you are comfortable with.
Ben is currently studying his MSc in International Disaster Management at the University of Manchester on a career break from the Civil Service, where he works in the Crown Commercial Service
“For me, direct entry has worked perfectly. I wanted to develop a career in my own vision rather than on a set programme. Direct entry has allowed me to develop skills that will be crucial as I progress in my career, in commercial and project management, but also soft skills such as building relationships with your managers and colleagues, public speaking, and networking. Also, holding a permanent role has allowed me to become a specialist in my area of work and make great contacts in the sector. Importantly, building these strong relationships allowed me to take a year off to study for my Masters here at Manchester – if I was on the Fast Stream this may have been less certain. Direct entry is great if you are driven and want flexibility in your future options – if you put the work in, you can go to the very top – and the first step is to get your foot in the door!”
Want some exposure to the Civil Service this semester? These two opportunities are open to all students!
Foreign and Commonwealth Office Roadshow, 19 February 13:00-15:00
Would you like the opportunity to live and work overseas? Would you like to work at the cutting edge of Government policy? Are you looking for a challenging and rewarding career? Then the FCO could be for you…!
Panel Session with diplomats and FCO staff: 13.00-14.00
Informal networking opportunity and skills workshop: 14.00-15.00
Confirm your attendance here and use the following password: FCO@manchester2019
Behind the Black Door: Win a trip to Westminster, competition takes place on campus 06 March 13:00-17:00 but you need to APPLY by 22nd February
Now into its fifth successive year, enter this competition to win a day in Westminster, exploring Britain’s corridors of power and meeting Senior Civil Service professionals. You’ll even get the chance to stand in front of the famous No.10 Downing Street door! Trip to be held during Easter break (date TBC)
Working in teams, students will be given a real life government problem to solve and suggest a solution for. Apply as an individual or as a team of 5 people (no more, no less) by sending a written statement stating why you want to take part to email@example.com by midnight on Friday 22nd February (max 250 words for individuals, max 500 words for teams)
Search CareersLink events, event ID 5126 for more information
One of our former winners said:
“I would sincerely recommend applying to this competition because it offers a great opportunity to understand what a career in the civil service entails and the variety of roles available. The trip to Downing Street is a great experience (particularly standing outside of No. 10). And the competition itself is interesting, thought-provoking, and fun”.
By Jannine Thomas, Employability Consultant (Placements), Careers Service
Searching for a placement is a very personal journey but, don’t fall into the annual trap of thinking you’re the only one returning from Christmas break without a placement. You are not the only person still waiting hear back from the opportunities you applied for months ago and nor are you the only one wondering if doing a placement is still for you.
Whether you’re nearing the end of your search or only just starting, the effort you put in will pay off. I’d also like to assure you that it’s not too late to find something of interest!
How long should it take to find a placement?
The time it takes to find a placement can vary depending on who you apply to and when you apply. In previous years, it has not been unusual for students to take an average of 3 months to secure a placement (time from making the application to gaining a job offer) however; this time does vary from sector to sector and year on year. There is nothing wrong if your journey is shorter or longer!
Why should I still look for a placement, all the opportunities have now gone?
Every year, rumours circulate that if you haven’t got a placement by Christmas, you won’t get one at all. This however, is total nonsense, as the below graph shows.
Placements are logged onto Careerslink throughout the year and whilst high numbers of opportunities are logged in the autumn, principally by very large companies, we get a new wave of placements starting to appear in the New Year and beyond. The key is to keep looking.
Setting up email alerts can aid your search, as it removes the need for you to keep remembering to check for new opportunities. You’ll get a notification when something of interest appears and you can then log in and read further details at your leisure. Further information about how to search Careerslink for vacancies (and save the searches you make to create e-alerts) is available on the Careers Service website.
I’ve applied to all the companies I want to work for, I’m not interested in anyone else.
Though it’s perfectly natural to have a list of ‘companies of interest’, it’s important to remember that any big name/well-known brand opportunities are liable to be highly competitive and thus the chance of success can be vastly reduced. Whilst we don’t expect you to work for someone you don’t want to, it is usually better to look at the competitors, customers and clients of the names you know (as well as applying to them). Looking into this will not only increase the number of opportunities available for you to apply to, it’ll help you better understand the sector/market you’ll hopefully be joining on placement, aiding your performance in the recruitment process. It may also open the door to more interesting opportunities that you wouldn’t have found otherwise.
All my friends have got placement offers, is there something wrong with me that I haven’t had one?
Absolutely not! The first wave of placement opportunities are usually offered by very large companies who, whilst having lots of opportunities, also receive enough applications to fill their placement positions four or five times over. Placement offers arrive at different times and it’s not unusual for those receiving offers to be kept waiting for news of their application for months. Sometimes, you just have to keep your nerve!
“I only received my offer in February after months of applying. Luckily it was at my first choice. But I have friends that were looking until summer. And whilst they aren’t always doing what they set out to are loving the experience anyway”. Daniel Lythgo, BSc Management (Marketing) with Industrial/Professional Experience.
Equally, if you’ve applied to companies and received rejections, don’t let that put you off your search. To quote Daniel again, “don’t stress if you receive rejections as you only need one yes!”
If you are rejected for a role, it’s always useful to ask if it’s possible to receive feedback, so that you can learn what not to do next time. Please be aware though that providing feedback isn’t compulsory, and many employers only offer it to those who’ve reached the final stages of their process.
I can’t find a placement in the field or organisation I want to work in.
Whilst Careerslink can be a great resource during your placement search, you may also find it helpful to look elsewhere for example; websites of companies of interest, careers pages on linkedin, facebook and other third party sites including; ratemyplacement, totaljobs etc.
For some roles however, you will probably never see the placement you’re looking for, instead you’ll have to play a part in creating it with the organisation concerned. If your placement interests are quite niche or you really want to work for a company who just doesn’t seem to be advertising an opportunity right for you, our Finding Hidden Opportunities for jobs and experience guide is well worth a read.
You don’t need to be alone.
Everyone’s placement search is different but no matter how easy or hard yours may be, remember that help is always available from the Careers Service. Check out the help and advice available on the Careers Service website, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, pop into the Atrium (first floor of University Place) or call 0161 275 2829.
Written by Johnny Dixon, Employability Assistant at The Careers Service .
Applications for Spring 2019 are NOW open! Register your place on the programme before Monday, 18 February.
As a recent graduate from The University of Manchester, I know how hard it can be to find a job after studying. Not knowing any proper adults with jobs and being told “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”. The prospect of getting an insight into the field I’m interested in seemed impossible. When I was introduced to the Manchester Gold programme, I realised that there was a way to get advice and form a professional relationship with someone doing my dream job.
Manchester Gold Mentoring gives you the opportunity to connect with a mentor for continued careers advice. These mentors can help you with a variety of careers skills, from learning how to make it in their field, to industry specific CV and application advice. The programme is widely renowned amongst students and alumni, but here’s 10 things you might not know about it:
1.Your future in your hands – In the dark days before widely accessible computers (yes, the programme’s been running for that long!) we would match all of our successful applicants to their mentor by hand. However, Manchester Gold is unique in that we now grant our students the ability to select their own mentor as to find the best partner for them and to give you control over your mentoring.
2. Mentoring is for everyone, even those without a career plan – Although mentoring works best for those with a career in mind, you don’t need to know what you want to do to apply and get a lot out of the programme. You can find a mentor that studied on your course or shares your interests; they can show you how to get from your position to a successful career.
3. Already know what you want? Gold is perfect for you! From accountancy to zoology, Manchester Gold lets you find a mentor in your preferred industry that can give specialised advice to help get ahead in your industry. If things go well, you will have a relevant contact for years to come.
4. All of our mentors are volunteering their time! Most of our Manchester Gold Mentors are former students of The University of Manchester. These are people that want to give something back to the University’s students. (So remember to keep things professional and be grateful for their time!)
5. Only 2 hours a month! – Although the programme runs for 6 months, which seems like a huge time commitment, we only expect you to dedicate around 2 hours a month to your mentoring. This could consist of writing emails to your mentor, working on your CV or working on tasks set by your mentor. Of course, you could put more time than that in: you can really get a lot out of this programme if you’re willing to put in the time.
6. Filter your search to find someone from your background. Filter for mentors particularly willing to support LGBT+, BAME and disabled students. If you’re the first generation of your family to go to university or are a doctoral researcher, there are also mentors particularly willing to support you.
7. Face-to-face, phone, skype email… – The partnership nature of the programme means that you can tailor it to suit the needs of you and your mentor. This means that you can meet face-to-face if you both would like to, but that you can also stay in touch through whichever professional medium suits you both best.
8. We’ll walk you through the programme – It might all seem confusing and scary, but don’t worry! Once you are accepted onto the program, you’ll be invited to attend one of our compulsory information sessions where we take you through how the programme will operate and also introduce ourselves to you.
9. Unlimited networking – Although we advise that our mentoring partnerships take place for 6 months, Manchester Gold is housed on The Manchester Network. You can use the Network for the rest of your life! All students, staff and alumni are welcome to use the Network and can connect to alumni for quick careers based advice – you can become a mentor one day too!
10. We have a dedicated team ready and willing to help you make your mentoring a success! Just email email@example.com at any time of your mentoring journey and we’ll be more than happy to help.