Essential actions: Summer-November

Most popular graduate schemes and postgraduate courses start to fill up very early - some as early as September. This is the ideal time to apply for the most competitive jobs, and also the time when big employers visit Manchester to let you find out more about their jobs.

Three actions now will really help you get ahead.

  • Explore: Find out who's recruiting
  • Prepare: Get ready to apply
  • Apply: Apply in good time


Find out who's recruiting - what are they looking for?

Hundreds of recruiters who want to target University of Manchester students advertise their vacancies and events on CareersLink. Our short video tutorials show you how to search for jobs, employers and events, and how to get vacancies sent to you by email.

Want even more job ads, suitable for graduates?

  • Graduate JobSearch Try our mobile-friendly site - over 200 job searches and vacancy sites suitable for graduates, targeted by different types of jobs

Confused by all these "graduate schemes", "internships" and "graduate jobs"? Want to know where else to look for jobs? How do you know what recruiters are looking for?

Postgraduate study is a popular but competitive option, particularly if you are looking for funding. Get started early to give yourself the best chance.


Get ready to apply

Watch the Career Options playlist on YouTube

Get advice on different aspects of career planning by watching back some Careers Service events and workshops.

  • Career Options playlistGet advice on finding hidden jobs, building skills and resilience, and explore different careers.

Get your CV up to scratch

Some employers only accept online application forms, but it's useful to have an up-to-date CV which you can quickly tailor for any one-off jobs which you spot.

  • Our guide to CVsIncludes example CVs and shows you how to tailor the information for a specific job.

Psychometric tests

For most graduate schemes and many other graduate jobs, you are likely to have to sit psychometric tests. These are most commonly online multiple choice verbal, numerical and sometimes logical reasoning tests.

If you're applying for any jobs which use these tests, do some practice tests beforehand. Why? Because you can often improve your scores if you are familiar with the format and process of sitting one of these tests.

  • Psychometric testsDifferent types of test, and how to access free practice tests, available through the University of Manchester and elsewhere online

Assessment Centres

Another stage that is common for graduate schemes and other graduate jobs is an assessment centre. This can last from half a day to a couple of days, and will involve a series of activities. You will be put with other people and should work as a team. It is easy to feel competitive, but the other people there might not be applying for the same role.

Elements of an assessment centre might include interviews, presentations, groups tasks, case studies and social events. Practise the different elements, so you feel more comfortable with the different kinds of tasks you may be asked to do.

  • Assessment centresInformation about different types of tasks, and resources to help you prepare and practice for each one


Most people find interviews tough, but like any other practical skill, you can get better with preparation and practice.

  • Look out for interviews talks or workshops, run by the Careers Service or by employers on campus.
  • Get some individual interview advice from the Careers Service - or when you have an interview coming up, book an interview simulation (limited availability).
  • InterviewsDifferent types of interview, what employers look for and videos of real students being interviewed, with feedback from employers


Apply in good time - know when application deadlines are

Graduate schemes

The most popular graduate schemes run by large employers often recruit in early autumn, or even in early summer, for jobs which start in the autumn after you graduate. Apply as soon as possible once these schemes are advertised - many will fill all their places well before any advertised deadline.

Other graduate jobs or internships

Specialist, one-off jobs, or graduate jobs with smaller employers can be advertised at any time of year, and probably won't be advertised a year in advance. Keep an eye on CareersLink all year round, including May/June when many smaller recruiters advertise, shortly before you graduate.

Postgraduate study

Postgraduate programmes are often advertised in the autumn. If you hope to find funding, you should definitely start your search in the autumn as funded programmes and opportunities are often the first to fill up.

Even before PhDs are formally advertised (normally November-January), you should be looking at possible research topics, and making informal enquiries to potential supervisors.

How many applications should you make?

It all depends on how competitive the job (or postgraduate) market is for the kind of jobs (or programmes) you want, and how competitive you are!

However, it will often take 2 or 3 applications to learn how to do them well, so 5 or 6 might be a reasonable starting point - more, if you limit yourself to very competitive jobs with well-known employers, or funded postgraduate programmes with top universities.