Vacancies: PhD E-Tutors, Manchester Leadership Programme

We’re recruiting more e-tutors for our undergraduate Manchester Leadership Programme. If you have an interest in

  • sustainability in its broadest sense, whether economic, environmental or social
  • the challenges which leaders face today in all kinds of organisations
  • teaching and supporting undergraduates, using online discussions and face-to-face contact
  • taking part in novel assessment and teaching methods
  • hearing leaders talk about their experiences (Dame Ellen MacArthur was the hot ticket a couple of years ago – see more guest lecturers here)

then this could be for you.

The e-tutor roles take up an average of 5 hours a week but can vary quite widely with peaks coming at assessment time. You are paid at the GTA rate (currently £14.29 per hour). We specifically recruit PhDs for these roles as you need to be trained and ready to go before the start of the autumn term and be available for the full academic year, including attending scheduled MLP lectures (so wouldn’t suit most Masters).

Some of our recent e-tutors commented:

“I learned how rewarding teaching can be. I thought that there would be aspects I enjoyed about it, but I enjoyed it more than I expected to.”

“From tutoring on the MLP online unit; I have gained a wider outlook on life, have enhanced my tutoring abilities and developed new ones, and have had a lot of fun.”

“In terms of development for postgraduate students, the interdisciplinarity of the programme, an increasingly important factor in the research community, enables eTutors to develop transferable skills in terms of communicating and sharpening positions, both through identifying gaps in student responses but also by taking on board student positions.”

“I have learnt a huge amount of practical skills and now have more confidence in this area that will be useful in the future, and is particularly in demand for academic posts.”

If you want to read more comments from some of our e-tutors, have a look at this blog post from a couple of years ago – “What has being an MLP tutor ever done for me?“.

Further details:

Full details of the posts, including application form, are on the MLP e-tutors webpage.

The closing date is 6th August at 12 noon (we will look at all applications up until the closing date). The interviews are scheduled for 20th, 21st or 22nd August, and if you get the post, you must also be available for e-tutor training on either Monday 3rd September or Monday 17th September.

I’ve also updated some FAQs from previous MLP e-tutor posts – just click below to get some inside info.

Continue reading

2013 Graduate Schemes Start To Open

If you’re not quite ready for starting a job yet, for example, if your Masters or PhD won’t finish until later on this year – don’t miss out now. Some of the big graduate employers are already starting to look for 2013 new starters.

Here’s some sound advice from our Information Manager, Holly Seager, from our Graduate Blog:

“While there are lots of graduate jobs being advertised at the moment with immediate start dates, some 2013 graduate schemes are also opening now. These opportunities are open to graduates from previous years as well as the class of 2013. If you are graduating this summer, or have been out for a while and think you might be interested there are many reasons why it is a good idea to get in early…

  1. The opening date of a job is always more important than the closing date. Often organisations will close the opportunity without warning when they get enough quality applications.
  2. Organisations may start interviewing immediately. You might be able to get a firm job offer for 2013 within the next few months leaving you free to go travelling or take some time out.
  3. Some schemes fill up really quickly and if you don’t apply early you won’t get in at all. One example is Teach First, for the last three years they have filled their places for humanities graduates by September! Even if spaces are left on the scheme you are applying for it is always better to be interviewed when they have dozens of jobs to fill than when they only have one or two left. Every year I meet students and graduates who pass the recruitment process but are told that they are not being made a job offer as the last place has just been filled.
  4. Applications take a long time to do properly. You can do a better job if you apply to one or two a week as they open, rather than trying to send 15 all at once later in the year.

Here are a few companies advertising at the moment:

  • AECOM – starting June 2013
  • Tesco procurement graduate programme
  • Factset – this one starts January 2013
  • Teach First – starting summer 2013, or you can apply for a deferred place for 2014.
  • Clarksons (global shipping)
  • Deutsche Bank
  • Accenture – limited opportunities to join from spring 2013 in Consulting

More will be opening applications soon. Ernst and Young for instance have contacted us to say they are opening applications on July 1st. Investment banks in particular tend to open applications in the summer.

If you are interested in a particular company be sure to check their website regularly/follow them on Facebook or Twitter/sign up for email notifications so you don’t miss out. You can start researching them now and deciding which opportunities to apply for so that when applications open you can be one of the first to send a well thought out, polished application.”

Graduate Fair – Who Are Employers Looking For?

List of what employers are looking for at the Graduate Fair (pdf)

Don’t you wish there was an easy way of finding out which, if any, employers need people in your subject at the Graduate Fair on 13th and 14th of June?

Well, there is – here (pdf document)

You’ll see that there are lots of recruiters who will take people from any subject, as well as those who are specifically looking for eg. electrical engineers, physicists, HR, psychology.

I was also interested to spot that only a few were specifically asking for a business-related degree although there are lots of “business” employers attending. That reinforces the advice that you don’t necessarily need a business qualification to get started on a business career.

Word of caution: You need to check which day specific employers are attending – there are different employers attending on each day of the fair.

Paid P-T Jobs For PhDs: Applications Advisers

If you’re a current University of Manchester PhD who will still be here next year, do you have what it takes to be one of our Applications Advisers?

What’s an Applications Adviser?
Our Applications Advisers provide the bulk of our “Quick Query” advice for students who want help with their CVs and applications, during the Autumn rush. It’s quick fire: only 15 minutes to review a job spec and the application and give considered feedback to help the student improve – then straight on to the next one. You could be seeing CVs from any discipline, from any year – including other PhDs.

This role is part-time, initially for the first semester with the possibility of extending into the second semester, with hours varying according to levels of demand from students. Each Applications Adviser will work ideally at least two shifts of two hours per week (morning, lunchtime or afternoon) with any additional hours by agreement. The rate of pay will be £8.75 per hour.

Why do it?
It’s a much appreciated service by all those who use it, which is one of the rewards for doing the job. Another is the fact that you can help students make real improvements to their applications. Just by asking a few pertinent questions, you can help them realise that they have loads of other important information they can add to an otherwise rather “thin” CV (often it’s the best students who discount their real selling points). Frankly, I find it humbling sometimes, seeing some of the amazing things our students have already achieved (particularly you postgrads). Oh, and you get paid, of course!

Do you need experience?
You don’t have to be a careers adviser (though if there are any out there, we’d be keen to hear from you), but it would help if you had some relevant experience, such as supporting students, coaching, recruitment or HR. It also helps if you’ve already been employed, so you know what it’s like to go through the selection process. Whatever your background, you’ll go through training, observation and feedback before being let loose to advise on your own, and you’ll have ongoing support from members of the Careers Service.

Language requirements
You do need to have impeccable English communication skills, both written and spoken. However this certainly doesn’t exclude our international PhDs: many of our clients are international students and it helps to understand the challenges of writing good business English when it’s not your first language.

Why do you need a PhD – what about Masters?
It’s purely logistical. We need Advisers trained and ready to start by the first week of term, as that’s when our rush starts. We also hope to use some or all of the Advisers into the second semester. In general, this excludes both new Masters (not here for selection or training) and finishing Masters (not available after December). However, if you have the right experience and you can fit in with our logistical requirements, argue your case. (It will be a good test of writing an effective covering letter.)

I’m interested – what do I do next?

  1. Look at the vacancy on CareersLink for further information an details of how to apply. Not registered? Get registered now! You’ll need to be familiar with our services if you’re going to work for us.
  2. Talk to someone in the Careers Service about the role, ideally in person. Either call in or talk to us over lunch at Pathways, our annual careers event for PhDs on 8th June.
  3. Book time to talk to someone as part of our Quick Query service. Just tell our information staff (they’re part of the selection & training team for these roles; they also book our quick query appointments) and they’ll book you in – either call 0161 275 2829 or call in to the Careers Service in Crawford House, entrance opposite the Aquatics Centre.

Critical dates:

  • Closing date for applications: 22nd June 2012
  • Interviews: 18th & 25th July 2012
  • Training will take place: 21st & 22nd August 2012 and will be paid. You need to be available for both dates.

The Big Annual Summer Recruitment Fair

I’m thinking of renaming all our events in this WYSIWYG style – because it will be BIG.

Our summer Graduate Recruitment Fair runs for two days, with different employers on each day:

It’s in the Armitage Centre in Fallowfield, in the big sports hall, and if you thought 400+ PhDs milling around University Place for our Pathways event (on June 8th) was big, try getting 3,000 students and graduates through our fair – that’s each day.

Who can attend?
Anyone! It’s targeted at those graduating in the next few weeks or months, or who have recently graduated (postgraduates or undergraduates). Although it’s run by the University of Manchester Careers Service, it’s also open to graduates of any university. In particular, we have staff from most of our local universities on hand to give advice.

It’s free, and if you register beforehand online, you’ll save yourself some time when you get there (no filling in bits of paper to get entry).

What kind of jobs will be on offer?
This fair has a different flavour to the autumn fairs. In the autumn, it tends to be the very large employers who are recruiting on to special “graduate programmes”, a year in advance. In the summer, there’s more of a mixture.

Some of the biggest names are still there recruiting (eg. Deloitte, Google, Aldi, IBM, Schlumberger, Civil Service, Dyson, HSBC, Qinetiq) but they’re more likely to be looking for people to start in the next few months (ideal for Masters finishing in early autumn) – or immediately (for anyone already looking for jobs).

There are also lots of other large to medium sized organisations who need graduate level employees in the immediate to short term. You may not have heard of some of them. They’re more likely to be specialists, working with other businesses rather than selling to consumers, or be fast-growing industries (future Googles?) who need keen, smart graduates to help build their future.

Most importantly, do check who’s going to be there before you go. If you’re dead set on one type of employer who isn’t going to be there, don’t waste your time. For example, don’t expect to see any investment banks at this time of year. On the other hand, if you’re more open minded, especially in a tight employment market, go and see what some of the people you’ve never heard of have to offer – you may be pleasantly surprised (or even get a job).

Is there any point in postgraduates going to a graduate fair?
I’m asked this question repeatedly, so last autumn, I recorded my views in this short video. As usual, the answer is “it all depends” – but if you are going, do listen to how you can get the most out of meeting employers at the fair. Too many postgrads wander aimlessly around a fair and leave, having lost a great opportunity to get the information they need to make themselves stand out.

Right, I’ve got my fingers in my ears and closed my eyes so I don’t have to watch:


What’s this PhD Zone?
As part of our Pathways programme, on Wednesday only, we have a special room set aside just for doctoral researchers. It’s a bit different to the main fair, as the recruiters aren’t all actively recruiting at the moment. It’s meant for PhDs at any stage in their degree to be able to talk to real employers (and postgraduate careers and training staff) about:

  • how their PhD might be seen by employers
  • what employers value in PhDs
  • what PhDs might do outside academia
  • how best to promote their PhD to employers

You’re also welcome (or rather encouraged) to talk to the employers in the main fair – who knows, you might find the ideal job as well as getting PhD career advice?

Around 700 researchers came along last year, so you’ll be in good company (even if you just want to share experience with other PhDs). Have a look at our PhD Zone information on our Graduate Recruitment Fair website for our official info.
Update: The PhD and Researcher Career Zone catalogue (pdf) is now available online. You can also pick up a hard copy on the day.

One important caveat though – most of the PhD Zone employers are targeting science and engineering PhDs. There are very few large employers who recruit multiple humanities PhDs each year and are prepared to staff a stand at a fair. Humanities PhDs are more likely to work for niche / specialist employers or a university. However, if you want some on the spot advice, come and talk to our careers advisers and exhibitors like jobs.ac.uk … oops, strike them off – they’ve just cancelled, the day before the event (sorry)!

Who’s coming to the PhD Zone?
Currently signed up are – AMEC, Chemtura, GVI, IBM, Instrument Design Technology, Jaguar Landrover, National Nuclear Laboratory, Pentest, Rolls Royce, Romax Technology, Schlumberger, SRG and Tessella.
Just added: Unilever and Adelphi Communicatons (local medical communications company)

Just cancelled: Paterson Institute Christie Hospital (oops, turns out they wanted to publicise their PhD studentships & didn’t realise the PhD Zone was aimed at people already completing a PhD!)

Just cancelled (2): Jobs.ac.uk (the third year running they’ve pulled out just before the event – pity, I was hoping to find out about their CV database …)

Want To Be A Business School Academic?

If you’re a management or business PhD, looking for an academic job in a Business School, you might be interested in Akadeus, an agency which focuses on advertising jobs in Business Schools across the world.

There are only a limited number of jobs on there, but they do include jobs in Europe, North and South America, the Middle and Far East. You can sign up for regular e-mail alerts, as well as registering online so you’re searchable by potential recruiters. Don’t know how successful people have been with this approach (see the recent post on uploading your CV online) but given the international nature of academic recruitment, at least it’s somewhere which focuses on one discipline, but not one location.

There are more general academic recruitment websites on An Academic Career, under “How to find job ads“, but I haven’t included discipline specific sources there. If you know of other sources of academic jobs which are specific to your discipline, let me know and I’ll start to build up a list to include in future.

Many thanks to Prof Julie Froud for sharing the Akadeus resource with me, when I talked to her PhDs yesterday in Manchester Business School.

Uploading Your CV Online – Is It Worth It?

I’ve normally been a bit dubious about the merits of uploading your CV to general jobs sites and expecting employers to do all the hard work of looking for you, particularly in a tough job market. I still think it’s a real long shot if you don’t already have experience or specialist skills which might be in demand. However, it may not be employers who are rummaging through those CVs – it’s probably more likely to be a recruitment agency, looking for the right candidates for jobs they’ve been asked to fill.

I recently met two consultants, Phillipa Kenyon (who covers Cambridge) and Sadia Razzaq (for the West Midlands) from specialist science recruitment agency, SRG, who gave me some interesting insights into how they sourced candidates.

Getting their attention
When they have a job to fill, obviously they trawl their own databases and contacts, but I was interested to learn that they did also use online databases, the ones where you can upload your CV. It does make sense when an agency is trying to source candidates with “hard to find” skills and experience – some good starting points are all those candidates who have at least gone to the trouble of writing a CV and putting it out there.

Where did they look?
Surprisingly (to me), they raved about CV Library, a site which, I’ll admit, I’d previously dismissed (I do like it when my preconceptions are challenged – that’s when you start to learn). They liked the range of candidates with specialist scientific skills on the site, but they also got crucial information, such as expected salary, how far candidates would travel and whether they were willing to relocate. None of these would normally appear on a CV, so the site collects this information when you register – now you can see why it’s so important to get this right when you’re looking for work.

The SRG consultants also looked on LinkedIn and at the Totaljobs database, but were less enthusiastic about other sites such as Monster and Jobsite. Obviously this is only one agency and other organisations will have different preferred sources. Talking to Matthew Rollinson from Search (scientific), he would use both Monster and Jobsite as well as Totaljobs – but his first call would be the candidates he already knows and works with. It just shows that it can pay to cover several bases.

Keep it current
Their strong advice was also to review your CV regularly and keep it updated with any changes. It’s particularly annoying for agencies (and potentially employers) if they contact you with a job in your salary range, only to find out that you’ve now got more experience and are only prepared to move for a much higher salary (plus you’ve also missed out on jobs outside your original preferred range).

What format should you use?
Again I was surprised when the SRG consultants said they preferred plain old Word format, rather than .pdf (which is what I would have suggested). However, they were happy to receive either, but the biggest no-no was telling them to pick up your CV from your Skydrive or other cloud storage account.

Security online
Make sure that any site where you upload potentially valuable personal information is going to take good care of it. If you have any doubts about the security or legitimacy of an online CV database, I’d just try some other sources.

Sometimes websites are just technologically naive. Some years ago, I came across a fairly amateurish environmental jobs site which would let me register as an employer, for no fee and with no checks, and search the CVs which had been uploaded – it’s a good check to do yourself if you have any doubts.

In other cases, professional looking sites may be created purely for the aim of harvesting personal information for identity fraud. These sites may look legitimate, but probably don’t have many web pages or much detail behind the “send us your CV/personal information”

Genuine professional office or someone’s back bedroom?
Dodgy sites may also be cagey about their physical location. At the Careers Service, we do some standard checks on vacancies we’ve been sent before advertising them, and we have been known to use Google Street View where addresses look rather dubious! However, we can’t guarantee that dodgy sites won’t slip through, so if you feel uncomfortable filling in your details online, trust your instincts and keep safe.

Pakistan Job Fair – Today (Wednesday 22 Feb)

This is a last minute call:

If you’re a Manchester student from any year from Pakistan, or a final year student from Sri Lanka, Bangladesh or China, looking to work in Pakistan, we’re holding our first

  • Pakistan Graduate Job Fair, today, Wednesday 22nd February, 1.30-4pm, Alan Turing Building.

There are 17 recruiters coming over from Pakistan, from big multinationals to major homegrown industries. Types of employment covered include:

  • Oil and gas exploration and production
  • Motor manufacture
  • Management consultancy & technology services
  • HR consultancy
  • Retailers in textiles and in a range of fast moving consumer goods
  • Law
  • Engineering
  • Property development
  • Banking
  • Chemical manufacture
  • Beauty products (Hint: Because you’re worth it…)

This is a rare opportunity to talk directly to international employers who want to target University of Manchester students – don’t miss it. More information on CareersLink

NHS Scientist Training Programme – Apply This Week.

 I go on holiday for a week and what happens? They finally launch the NHS Scientist Training Programme recruitment for 2012, for England (hopefully you spotted my tweet about it just before I left).

This is the main recruitment round for scientists with a relevant degree who want to work in the NHS. It happens once a year, with a very tight deadline – it launched last week, and ends next week.

Deadline is 27th February (I’d get in earlier if possible).

UPDATE (27/2/12):
The deadline is noon today for getting your application in (or rather, it’s “12pm” – I’m assuming they mean noon as there’s no official UK definition of when “12pm” is!).
However, you also have to complete online aptitude tests by 5pm, Wednesday 29th Feb. See the FAQ doc
for more details of practice tests.

The jobs are grouped into “themes” of similar sciences – the largest demand is once again, Medical Physics – and involve both hands-on training within the NHS and completion of an accredited Masters degree. Even if you’ve got a PhD, you’ll normally still have to complete this Masters degree (I ran a workshop as part of a Masters on a previous version of the programme – 6 out of about 30 students already had a PhD). It’s a three year programme, with no guarantee of an NHS job at the end – but they’re unlikely to invest in all that training for you if they don’t expect to need you at the end of the programme.

If you’re at the point of filling in the online application, I’ve had a go at it myself to find out what they expect, so here are a few pointers:

  • The online form won’t let you advance a page until you’ve filled in any “mandatory” questions (and most of the questions are mandatory).
  • You only get to see the “essay questions” once you’ve filled in 12 previous pages, including all the mandatory sections. Want to know what they are in advance?

1.    Your motivation and commitment to the Training Programme

In no more than 300 words, please state why you have applied for the NHS Healthcare Scientist Training Programme outlining your motivation for the programme and what you plan to gain in terms of career development.

2.    Your passion for science and/or technology

In no more than 300 words, please demonstrate your passion for science and/or technology and provide evidence about how you seek to implement constant improvement and innovation in your work/studies.

3.    Patients

In no more than 300 words, please explain how you would hope to apply your skills and knowledge for the benefit of patients and the public.

4.    Team working and leadership

In no more than 300 words demonstrate how you have worked as part of a team and outline the skills you used to influence the outputs of that team. Please summarise your achievements in order to demonstrate you are a high achieving individual.

  • The site recommends cutting and pasting your essay answers from a word processing package into the online application, to avoid timeouts (I left it for an hour or so, and sure enough, it did sign me out, losing any text I’d added to the essay questions without pressing “Save & Continue”). There seems to be a slight discrepancy between the characters as measured in Word 2010 and those measured in the online application. I’d avoid going right up to the character or word limit in Word, just in case some of your answer gets cut off. It’s ambiguous whether they’re limiting the number of characters or number of words. In practice, I was able to add over 300 words as long as it was under the 3000 character limit – but there is no telling what the software does when it’s submitted. I’d keep under both limits, just to be safe!
  • One of the mandatory sections is your mobile phone number. If you don’t want to give them your mobile number (I’m fussy about who gets my mobile number), it doesn’t have to be a real one – you could give them a landline instead. Even if you do give them your mobile number, you don’t have to give them permission to SMS you, though they keep asking you for that on every page…
  • When a page looks nice and short – don’t be fooled! Once you’ve answered the first mandatory question, new ones often appear, as if by magic, on the same page (and they’re often mandatory too).
  • As you’re completing the various pages, you can go back to previous pages and change your answers – but can’t advance again unless all the mandatory sections are complete.
  • Once you’ve completed the essay questions, if you “save and continue”, it doesn’t immediately give you an option of going back to previous pages. Don’t panic – you can “preview” your answers and it does then give you the chance to “amend” them, which means (phew) that you can go back and change things before you press Submit.

This is an extraordinarily competitive programme (around 10,000 applications last year, and there are only around 200 jobs this year) but someone is going to get the chance – just make the most of those essay questions.

If you want to consider alternatives, there are separate recruitment processes for the NHS in Scotland (deadline is 24th Feb though), Northern Ireland (process not clear but at least some are being advertised here) and Wales (should have been an ad in New Scientist yesterday but no sign yet – try NHS Jobs site).

UPDATE (22nd Feb), from NHS Careers Consultant, Alan Simmons:

Good luck!

IBM India – Postgraduate Internships, Apply Today

Another last minute post – but in fairness, we only got this today!

If you’re interested in a paid summer internship with IBM Research Labs in India, you’ve got until the 31st January to apply (given the time difference, that means today).

Full details are on the IBM Research – India website or there’s a pdf with further info here.

If you want to take up one of the 10-12 week internships, which start from around mid-May, you’ll have to negotiate taking any time out with your supervisor or course tutors if you’re still a student.