Oops … Vacation Work for Postgrads??!

 Postgrads on vacation?

Sorry about the e-mail that was sent out last night (if you’re a current Manchester University postgrad, I mean the monthly postgrad careers e-mail which reminded you to look at the blog – or another one of those e-mails from careers which you just ignore as spam).

A changeover of responsibilities in the careers service meant that no-one checked the text of the e-mail with me (or any other Careers Consultant) before if went out – any of us would have spotted the “deliberate mistake”. We could try and pass it off as an “April Fool” – but it would be a pretty sick joke to let you think you’re suddenly entitled to long vacations like the undergrads. I know, because I’ve had to break it gently to a few new Masters students at the start of their course that, no, they don’t get next summer off…

Having said that, occasionally postgrads do manage to get far enough ahead with their dissertations, or persuade their supervisors to give them some time away from their research to organise an internship or voluntary work. It would really set you apart from other postgrads if you could do this.

Often the best chance is if you use your contacts – either your own, your friends or family, academics in your own school, or it’s definitely worth trying to tap into any sponsoring organisations (yours or others in your school). Even if you don’t want to work in your field of research or the topic of your Masters, you could start by asking to spend the day at any sponsoring organisation, finding out about how it works, or ask for a day’s work shadowing in a department in which you’re interested. If the day goes well, you might be able to follow it up with a request for longer work experience.

Most of these types of opportunities won’t be advertised, but if you’re prepared to do the legwork yourself, you could find yourself with some experience which no-one else will have. If you’re lucky, you could end up with 3 months paid consultancy experience – as I once saw on an enterprising chemistry PhD’s CV, when they persuaded their sponsor to let them work on a project separate to their PhD topic, and get paid extra for it.

Or if you were just looking forward to long days lazing in the sun, here’s another picture to cheer you up/rub it in.

we can but dream…

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