What do we do?
We do whatever it takes to support the careers and employability of all our undergraduate and postgraduate students at The University of Manchester. This includes
- organising recruitment and information fairs and events, from individual employer recruitment presentations to massive bun-fights like our graduate recruitment fairs at Manchester Central (formerly the G-Mex) for hundreds of employers and thousands of students
- delivering a large number of talks, workshops and training sessions, either using employers or our own careers consultants
- providing bespoke events for individual Schools and Faculties (that’s the way we do a lot of our work with postgraduates – we’ve learnt that you’re more likely to turn up to something with your School/Faculty name on it…)
- seeing students (and alumni for up to 3 years after you graduate) for one-to-one careers advice, either during drop-in sessions run every day (we call it “Quick Query”) or for half an hour pre-booked appointments. These can cover how do you decide what you want to do, how do you find jobs in … , advice and feedback on CVs, applications and covering letters – and the dreaded (but really effective) practice interviews. If you’re a real glutton for punishment, at certain times of year, we can book you in for a one hour video interview – scary or what?! (but it really helps)
- writing loads of stuff – websites (including a postgraduate section), handouts, articles for publications you might read
- increasingly, trying things like videos, slidecasts (slides plus audio of postgrad careers talks) webchats, Twitter, forums, “Live Guidance” (speak to a careers adviser by instant messaging) – anything we think you might find useful
What don’t we do?
- We don’t treat you as an undergraduate. Postgrads do often need similar sorts of careers help to our undergrads, but you’re more mature, and generally have more life experience to draw on – and the jobs you can do are different.
- We don’t approach employers, find jobs or write applications for you. (Note : the dossier approach which is used in US Careers Services doesn’t operate in the UK.) The aim is to teach you to fish (rather than give you the fish, as the saying goes) – then you’ll be able to do this all for yourself once you’re out on your own.
- We don’t see students from other universities (sorry, that’s the agreement between universities).
Are we any good?
Come on, what do you expect me to say …? OK, I’ll let some others say it for me :
- Year after year, voted the best careers service by employers (we make sure we look after them so they’ll make the trip all the way to Manchester so you can meet them)
- In 2009, we were shortlisted for a Times Higher Award for Outstanding Support of Early Career Researchers for our Pathways events for PhDs and research staff.
- Winner of the Association of Graduate Careers Service 2007 Award for outstanding commitment and contribution to supporting international students
- Winner of The Times Higher 2006 Award for outstanding support for students with disabilities for our Disability Toolkits website
- Winner of the Association of Graduate Careers Service 2005 Employability Award for our Manchester Gold mentoring programme (open to postgrads as well as undergrads)
So, give us a try, and tell us if we don’t get it right so we can continue to improve things for all of you
What else do we do?
Couldn’t leave this page without mentioning the Manchester Leadership Programme, primarily an undergraduate programme combining an academic unit on leadership for sustainability with 60 hours of volunteer work. I’ve been heavily involved with the team setting this up over the last couple of years, and I really believe it has the potential to transform lives of students. If you don’t believe me, have a look at the students’ video.
So, what’s the postgrad angle?
- Most of the e-tutors we employ are postgraduates (watch out for our ads on this blog – see June 2009 for an example) and we’ve also employed others to develop the content of the on-line unit.
- In 2009 we piloted a Manchester Leadership Programme for Researchers programme and are planning to run this again, developing it further – again, watch out on the blog for when we’re ready to take new applications.
- The biggest innovation is that this year, the Manchester Leadership Programme has attracted funding for 3 PhD “interns” – they’ll each carry out a PhD research project, supervised by academics at the University, with research based in the local community, and they will also act as e-tutors on the undergraduate programme. This is a radical departure – can’t be many careers services who have created and funded new PhD research projects but it’s a measure of how seriously we regard our postgraduate talent.
- Unfortunately, there is currently no funding for Masters postgrads (though you could always try lobbying your School to see if they might support and fund it in future).