Careers Service


Explore

Make the most of your time at Manchester. Find as many opportunities as you can to learn about yourself, to develop skills, to find out about careers and to seek out or apply for interesting opportunities - jobs, voluntary or work experience, positions of responsibility in student societies, creating your own business and more.

Explore - how are you doing?

If you're an undergraduate at the University of Manchester, try our My Future questionnaire (login to My Manchester required) to find out where you're strong and what you could do now to improve.

Want some further help?

Here are some resources and ideas to support you in:

  • Gaining skills and experience
  • Researching careers
  • Learning about careers from others
  • Looking for jobs

Gaining skills and experience

Employers (and PhD supervisors) want to see what makes you different from other students with the same degree.

Taking part in just one or two activities each year beyond your coursework can help you develop and practise your skills, and give you distinctive examples to use on applications and at interview.

  • Employability skills Our directory of skills which could help your career includes activities to develop different skills and how employers might test you on the skills you've developed.
  • Make the most of Manchester As a University of Manchester student, you're investing in your education - but university should be about more than just learning facts, getting a qualification or getting a job. Think about getting as much as you can out of all the opportunities available to you while you're still a student so you can look back on your student days as the time of your life (and incidentally - that could help you get a job).
  • Work while you study Any type of work, including part-time work, summer work, internships and placements, can improve your skills and the credibility of your applications. Not sure what you want to do? Just look for something which sounds interesting or different and try it! You never know what you really want until you've had a go at it.

Paid or unpaid experience?

  • Unpaid experience If you work for a commercial organisation, you should normally be paid (apart from short "insight" placements). Don't assume you have to do an unpaid internship to get a good job.

However, for many careers, such as charities, teaching, the media, social work and politics, most applicants will have gained some sort of voluntary experience, at least with student organisations, before they apply for a job on graduation.

Why not try out one or more possible careers by taking up roles in student or not-for-profit organisations alongside your degree? This means you could:

  • Test out possible careers before having to make a decision.
  • Gain skills and experience which you can use in your CV, whichever career you go into.

Researching careers

  • Which career? Our directory can help you seek out useful careers information for a wide range of career options
  • Don't know what you want to do? That's quite normal, but it doesn't need to hold you back in your career. Our quick start tips give you lots of different ways to figure out what to try first. Once you've got a bit of experience, it's very common to change track - often more than once.
  • Researching employers and jobs Tips on how to keep up to date with careers and employers which interest you
  • Meet employers and alumni at events In addition to Careers Service events, look out for events in your School, for professional associations (eg Royal Society of Chemistry), local professional groups (eg. Manchester Digital) and through any personal contacts you make.
  • Researching the organisation and the role Once you've found a job you want, you could use the My Learning Essentials online module on "Finding a job: Researching the organisation and the role" to get a real insight to help your applications

Learning about careers from others

If you do all your career research on employer websites, you might find yourself with a rather rosy picture of careers.

Sometimes, hearing others tell it like it is can give you a more realistic view.

  • Could you ask a mentor? The University's Manchester Gold mentoring programme could give you access to someone who has real world experience to draw from. Alternatively, you could ask any contacts or professionals you meet about their own experience - most people love talking about themselves and sharing the "warts and all" version of their story.
  • Graduate profiles and videos - your School may have profiles of recent graduates on their website, or find hundreds of career video profiles on the iCould and Career Player websites.
  • Talk to recent graduates at alumni and careers events. You could also avoid the experienced managers and target the recent graduates who attend careers fairs on behalf of their employers. Sometimes this can give you a real insight into how new graduates are recruited and are treated once they join an organisation.

Looking for jobs

  • Jobs and experience Whether you want a graduate job, a part-time job, an internship or a job with a smaller niche employer, this is a good place to start.
  • Find work overseas Guides and resources to help you look for jobs outside the UK.
  • Tailoring your CV It can be tempting to send out masses of similar applications in the hope that one of them will hit the mark, but employers say it's more effective to send fewer applications, but tailored to the job or employer. The My Learning Essentials online module on "Finding a job: Tailoring your CV" might help you.