Some Of The Slides From Pathways

pathwaysskillsworkshopsI’ve uploaded slides from some of the Pathways workshops for those who wanted copies, or those who couldn’t attend. If there are any other sessions you want to see, let me know (just comment on this post) and I’ll see if

a) we’ve still got them, and

b) the author is happy with them being shared on the web.

Bear in mind that these slides are from interactive sessions, so they won’t all make complete sense without the commentary and interaction. For example, with my presentations, the bullet points are really just placeholders for what I want to say – well, what’s the point of doing a presentation if you’re just going to read the text? That said, here they are.

Wired For Work

For this session which Alex Hardman and I ran, I also created a companion website using Netvibes, I’d strongly recommend looking at it alongside the slides, as it includes

  • clickable links to all the websites mentioned
  • examples of the types of resources we covered, such as smart starting points for your job search, and examples of some of the vacancy feeds which are out there
  • some short videos to illustrate things like “What’s an RSS feed?” and the use of Twitter
  • more details of  the “Cautionary Tale” – making sure your on-line presence works for your career, not against it

The tabs relevant to this session are clearly marked “Pathways”, although the other tabs may also be of use (I’ve been using this site as a training aid for other sessions as well).

There’s also a document created by Alex to support the session which more clearly shows you how to use RSS feeds. It’s available here on Google Docs (and linked from the Netvibes site).


Alison Hattersley from Success Factory ran 3 sessions on “Negotiating Your Salary”. The slides you see here are on negotiation in general – the salary bit came from the discussions we had, so if you wanted those specific tips, I’m afraid you had to be there…

Emotional Intelligence

Lyn Bailey, also from Success Factory, ran sessions on Emotional Intelligence. Again, the slides support the session, so may be more useful if you attended and wanted to have access to the slides for backup.


Renewable Energy & “Ethical” Companies

vestasAnother post-fair post – I was asked several times at the recruitment fair, both in the PhD Zone and in general queries, about organisations who dealt with renewable energy or energy conservation, and promised to mention it on my blog (as I have trouble keeping 3,500+ bookmarks in my head).

These are a few of the resources which I find useful for these areas:

  • Ethical Junction Directory – lists all sorts of “ethical” organisations (ie those who buy into their Ethical Policy), including a range of organisations working in the fields of renewable energy, conservation, recycling, transport and lots more. Doesn’t advertise jobs, but direct approaches to organisations where you can make a good case for buying into their values (and being able to do the job, of course) can be an effective way of accessing the job market in a recession – often better than waiting for the job ads to appear.
  • The Energy Institute – their company members’ directory has over 300 company links, subdivided into many niche areas including solar energy, wind energy consultants, biomass waste energy and more.
  • yourenergyjobs – this is the jobs site from The Energy Institute, again split into all sorts of specialisms. Currently advertising over 160 jobs.

In addition, it makes sense to investigate those companies in this field who came to the fair, such as Vestas and ENER-G – if they were keen enough to come to the fair, that’s a reasonable indication that they want graduates and postgraduates to apply. See the whole list of fair exhibitors here (but remember to also click on the list of Thursday attendees, linked from this page).

Post Fair Report

kineticaJust got time for a quick post-fair post before yet another postgrad event (it’s the Manchester Leadership For Researchers Conference this afternoon). Here are some snippets:

  • Seems like many organisations are keeping up their investment in R&D, which is great news for research postgrads or specialist masters. Specific comments I heard were that they need to be ready for the upturn, and if they don’t invest in R&D now, they’ll fall behind competitors.
  • Agencies were still reporting demand, even in areas which “everyone” says are in decline. Kinetica recruit in the chemistry and life science sectors, and were doing brisk business on their stand. They pointed out that demand varies geographically at the moment – Yorkshire and the North West were seeing demand in the chemical industry and polymers, while most of their pharmaceutical and healthcare assignments were in the South East. Having said that, Astra Zeneca and Invitrogen are both life science organisations with bases in the North West, and do expect to have demand for postgrads.
  • There seems to be increasing interest in using Web 2.0 technology in recruitment. Astra Zeneca were investigating Twitter to see if it would add to their careers information stream, Tessella (and others) already have Twitter feeds, and recruitment agency, Morson, made some interesting comments about using LinkedIn to target scientists and engineers (I’ll try and follow this up to get more info).

There will be more updates from the last couple of weeks of postgrad events (including slides from some of the Pathways workshops) once this last postgrad event is done and dusted. Normal service will be resumed from tomorrow!

Day 2 Of The Fair Today

Although the PhD and Researcher Career Zone is over, there’s still one more day of the Graduate Fair to talk to employers, whether you’re a Masters postgrad, a PhD researcher or an undergrad.

It runs from 10.30-4.00pm, and there’s a free shuttle bus from Piccadilly Station (Fairfield Street, by the taxi rank) if you’re travelling to Manchester by train, or are on our North campus. There will also be a bank of careers advisers available at the fair (no PhD zone today, but I’ll be there, speaking to anyone, at any level, from any discipline).

If anyone didn’t get chance to talk to the Civil Service Fast Stream, Invitrogen or AREVA T&D in the PhD Zone yesterday, they’re here again as part of the main fair. Again, we’ve got more than 70 exhibitors (most of whom were not here yesterday), including:

  • Abercrombie & Fitch, ASDA, Arriva, Bunzl, Cargill, Frontier, Greater Manchester Police & Merseyside Police (so we don’t expect much trouble at this fair – unless the Manchester/Liverpool rivalry kicks off…), National Offender Management Service (given the last two exibitors listed, insert your own witty comment here – or tweet me!) – all of whom (and more) are looking for any degree discipline, so those who wanted to see more non-science exhibitors yesterday, here’s your chance.
  • Brocade Communications, Schlumberger and Vestas are some of those who specifically mention that they’re looking for Masters postgrads (all the others will, I’m sure, be very happy to consider Masters postgrads for all their general vacancies).
  • Costain, Lonza Biologics, Parsons Brinckerhoff, DSTL, Environmental Resources Management are some of the exhibitors specifically looking for science, engineering or IT backgrounds

So, something for everyone, and if you need any more encouragement, here’s a good reason to talk very, very nicely to the Invitrogen exhibitor – use your newly honed negotiation skills to get your hands on your very own fluffy cell to love and cherish.


Recruitment Fair – Weds/Thurs This Week

roundaboutThe big Graduate Recruitment Fair is on tomorrow, Wednesday 17th June, and Thursday 18th June at the Armitage Centre, Fallowfield, Manchester from 10.30-4.00pm.

Some of the biggest names in employment will be there, giving the lie to the story that there are no jobs out there now. It might be a tighter recruitment market than we’ve seen for a few years, but we’re still hearing stories of employers who have too few good applications for jobs they’re trying to fill.

Here are my last minute tips for those who can’t decide whether to go or not:

  • Go and talk to employers you’re interested in, even if they don’t have someone at the fair who can talk about the specific job you want. If you’re savvy, you can ask loads of questions to help you figure out if you would fit with the organisation and help you answer the difficult question “so, why do you want to come and work for us?”. You can even do this if you find yourself talking to a very junior new grad who the employer has brought along to staff the stand – try questions like:
    • What training did they get/do they offer?
    • How do they get measured? (If you find out what the organisation values in its employees, could you realistically expect to deliver the results which will result in fast promotion or increased pay?)
    • Do they know any postgraduates working for the organisation, & what jobs are they doing?
    • What’s their boss like? (probably just for the new grads, that one!)
    • What do they think is different about their organisation compared to their competitors
  • Go on Wednesday to the “PhD and Researcher Career Zone” if you’re doing a PhD or are a researcher and want to talk to the following organisations about how they and other employers view PhDs :
    • AMEC Group Ltd
    • AREVA T&D
    • **NEW ADDITION** Astra Zeneca
    • BG Group
    • Cabinet Office (Civil Service)
    • **NEW ADDITION** Detica (“Information Intelligence” – part of BAE Systems)
    • Doosan Babcock
    • **NEW ADDITION** Invitrogen
    • National Nuclear Laboratory
    • National Physical Laboratory
    • Tessella
  • PhDs can also talk to all the other employers in the main fair, and also come along on Thursday, though there will be no PhD Zone that day. More details about the PhD Zone here.

I’ll be in the PhD Zone on Wednesday, and the general careers advice area on Thursday – see you there.

Pathways Day 2 – 10.30am Start

pathways2009group1Thanks to the magic of Twitter, I’ve found out that it doesn’t look like we have the programme for Monday’s Pathways workshops on the web anywhere – oops!

[EDIT: Monday morning – it was there all along, but under the Resources section of the Pathways website. Double oops! Ah well, read on if you don’t want to click there.]

If you have registered, you should have had the programme e-mailed to you, but if you were just planning to turn up (just bring your university swipe card), you won’t be aware that we’re giving you the chance for a lie-in (don’t worry, we won’t tell your supervisor/PI – let them think it starts at 8am sharp).


10.00-10.30  Registration

10.30-11.00   Intro (that’s Judy and me again, with more explanatory details of the workshops)

11.00-12.00   Plenary workshop – VOX Coaching (…OK, I’ll admit it, I’ve forgotten the title – but it’ll be good, and funny, and relevant, they always are)

12.00-1.00     Choice of workshops – Evidencing Skills, Occupational Personality Questionnaires, Presenting at Job Interviews, Networking to Help Your Career, Interview Confidence, Assessment Centres (by Accenture), Negotiating Your Salary, Emotional Intelligence, Careers in Teaching: School vs University

1.00-2.00       Lunch

2.00-3.00       Choice of workshops – Critical Thinking Skills For Your Career, Occupational Personality Questionnaires, Marketing Your PhD To Employers, Evidencing Skills, Strategic Academic Career Planning, Negotiating Your Salary, Interview Confidence, Emotional Intelligence, Using The Web To Find Jobs (that’s me’n’Alex), Working With Others: MBTI Personality Questionnaires

3.00-4.00       Choice of workshops – Critical Thinking Skills For Your Career, Occupational Personality Questionnaires, Negotiating Your Salary, Interview Confidence, Emotional Intelligence, Working With Others: MBTI Personality Questionnaires, Getting & Keeping an Academic Job, Grant Funding Applications, Networking to Help Your Career

Some are running in lecture theatres, but they may still be very popular, so it’s first come first served. The only thing I would warn you about is that the Negotiating Your Salary workshops at 12noon and 2.00 are in smaller rooms (this format works better for an interactive workshop) but recognising it might be popular, the final session at 3.00 is in a lecture theatre, so if you don’t get in to the first two, you should get into the last one.

Think I’ve got that right, though as I’m at home and don’t have all the documentation to hand, apologies if I’ve got anything wrong. Look, just come along for the whole day anyway, you never know what you might learn…

Dip Into Twitter At Pathways09

twitter2OK, I’ve taken the plunge into Twitter and discovered the water’s not too bad actually. In spite of scepticism of its use for careers, within 48 hours of signing up for a Twitter account, I was able to tweet about the urgent consultancy job and refer anyone listening to the blog post with more info.

So, why not have a go yourself? It’s pretty dispiriting, tweeting into the wind when no-one’s listening, so if you grab the opportunity right now, you can use Pathways as a way of having a ready made bunch of contacts to talk to.

For the first time this year Pathways will be using twitter as a social networking tool during the conference. This is a  growing phenomenon, as more and more people are using twitter at conferences (see for a recent paper on the topic).

So, so how do I get started?

To take part, you need to create a (free) account at, to be able to make a remark or comment – a “tweet”. Once registered with a username, just type in the box, “What are you doing now?” and anyone who views your profile will see what you’ve “tweeted”.

You can also use a mobile phone to send tweets – click on Settings -> Devices to set this up on your Twitter account.

How do people read my comments / “tweets”?

  • They can go directly to your Twitter web page – (whatever username you’ve chosen).
  • If they have a Twitter account themselves, they can “follow” you – this brings your tweets on to their own Twitter homepage, automatically.
  • In Twitter they can search on a keyword or topic ( This will find any tweets where you have used this keyword.

    For an event like this, it is common to use a “#” in front of a keyword which everyone who tweets about the event can use. We’ve chosen the keyword #pathways09 – if we all put this keyword somewhere in our tweets, then if you search for #pathways09 in Twitter, you will find all the tweets about the event in one place (go on, try it – we’ve got a few on there already).

How do I read other people’s comments / “tweets”?

  • As above, you can go directly to their Twitter page, “follow” them (to bring their tweets on to your Twitter homepage) or search for people or keywords.

As a great way to start, if you use the event keyword #pathways09 in your tweets and search for #pathways09 in Twitter, you can straight away be part of a larger conversation without having to look for people individually who have Twitter accounts. If you like what someone says, you can click a link on their profile to “follow” them, to allow you to see future tweets – and also see who they follow to find yet more people.

And just to get you started quickly, here are some of the organisers of the Pathways event  – come and meet us on Twitter:

ManPGCareers (me), TrainingTeam (MHS), SkillsTraining (Humanities) and epsgrads (EPS).

Find Out More

Alex and I will be running a session at 2.00pm at Pathways Day 2 (Monday 15th June) called “Wired for Work”, which will talk about using some of the web technologies to make your job searching easier, and we’ll include a short intro to Twitter as part of that.

To Tweet Or Not To Tweet?

twitterI’ve resisted Twitter so far, but in the interests of investigating all avenues of using technology to help your career, I’ve succumbed at last – ManPGCareers is now tweeting, no doubt sporadically, and a little forlornly into the Twitterverse, but at least it’s there now.

“Instant response” and “short and pithy” aren’t my natural default settings (you’ve seen the length of some of my blog posts) but I wasn’t convinced about blogging until I got started, and look where that led (5 careers blogs, over 40,000 hits on this blog in less than 2 years, hundreds more subscribers by RSS and e-mail) so it’s worth a punt.

The immediate prompt was a session I’m running at Pathways next week, with Alex Hardman who is an ardent twitterer (twit? – haven’t got with the jargon yet), on using technology for careers. Twitter is only one part of the session, and I’m not convinced yet of its value, but I’m open to persuasion. We’ll also cover more basic stuff like using smart starting points for job searches, using feeds, and professional networking sites like LinkedIn.

I’m also looking into setting up a Pathways twitter account (anyone want to tweet the conference?), but more on that if it happens.

Pathways 2009 FAQs

confusedWith the Pathways programme of careers events for PhDs and research staff almost upon us, I thought I’d answer some of the questions we get asked (plus some I’ve made up, but you should probably be asking):

  • Where can I find out what this is all about?
    Start here for the overview, and follow the links. Updates will be posted on the main page of this blog.
  • Do I have to attend all three days?
    No, you can attend Friday 12th June, Monday 15th, Wednesday 17th or any combination, whatever suits your needs. Have a look at what’s on each day and decide. Last year we expected most people who turned up on Monday to have been on Friday – but that wasn’t the case. There were loads of people who specifically came just to the workshops (but the Monday session does follow on logically from the Friday career options panels).
  • Who’s coming and what are the workshops you’re running?
    The latest information on panellists for Friday 12th, workshops for Monday 15th and employers for Wednesday 17th are now available on the weblinks indicated (details of panellists will probably require university login). The proviso is always that there will be last minute changes (cancellations and additions) and some details will still be sketchy eg where panellists haven’t yet had chance to return their CV to us.
  • Can’t I just wait for the next lot of careers workshops, they’re always advertising them?
    Of course you can – but you probably won’t get these workshops. Instead of running our standard careers sessions (I’ll run more of those at other times of the year), we’ve arranged for some special one-off sessions from a range of external providers, many of whom you may never get the chance to see again – or if you do, you’ll have to wait until next year’s Pathways event.
  • What if there’s no-one coming from the company I want to work for or the career I want to go into – is it worth it attending?
    If you just want information about a specific employer or job, you may not get that here. However, if you want to find out about other jobs you never knew existed, how to convince employers to take you, how real people have found jobs through non-standard methods and a whole load more, this will really help. Also, you may find out that one of the panellists has actually done the job/worked for the employer you want to know about in a previous role – then you can get inside info (and maybe even a contact) to help you.
  • Why is there no-one from my discipline coming?
    We’ve found the panellists and other guest speakers and trainers from personal contacts, alumni, employer contacts, friends – frankly, we’d take pretty well anyone we could persuade, the only proviso being that all (or most) of them had to have a PhD.

    We have no way of finding, for example, a source of textiles specialists who did a PhD within the last 10 years who have gone into other careers – but if you know any, we’d love to talk to them for next year.

    Also, don’t assume that just because we don’t, for example, have someone in a job called “Archaeologist” that we don’t have any Archaeology PhDs attending – we’ve got at least three that I know of, including a manager at American Express!

  • I haven’t registered – can I still attend?
    Yes (though see eligibility below). For Days 1 and 2, we need to know numbers beforehand to judge room sizes and numbers of lunches, but if you didn’t manage to click here and register (go on, it’s quick, easy, helps us and if you register before 10th June, you get entered into the prize draw) you can still attend. We’ll be registering people on Day 1 and 2 by their swipe card, so remember to bring yours. If you don’t have it with you, we’ll still be able to register you, but it will take a bit longer.

    For Day 3, no registration or swipe cards are required, just turn up (from any university).

  • How do I make sure I get to the session/speak to the employer I want?
    This is a tricky one. For Days 1 & 2, with such large numbers of attendees and such a choice of sessions, it’s impossible to book in advance for specific sessions (we know from bitter experience that bookings bear little relation to who turns up on the day). To get the session you want, you’ll need to get there in good time.

    On Friday, this shouldn’t be too much of a problem, as rooms for the popular areas are large, and we’ve tried to run most sessions more than once during the day to accommodate clashes. Also, you may be able to have an informal one-to-one chat with a particular panellist when they’re not sitting on a panel.

    On Monday, some of the workshop sessions are only for smaller numbers, so you’ll have to get in early. However, we’ve tried either to run popular sessions in larger rooms, or more than once to give as many people as possible the chance to take part. For example, with “Negotiating Your Salary” (one that brings a glint to the eye of most people when I mention it) we’re running two smaller workshops, plus one larger lecture theatre session at the end of the afternoon so no-one should miss out. We’ll just have to see how it goes, but apologies if you don’t get the sessions you want on the day. Do let us know if there are any you wanted to get into but couldn’t, and that will give us our priorities for organising future training, hopefully before next year’s Pathways.

    On Wednesday, there are no sessions to attend, but if you want to get “quality time” with employers, especially those exhibiting in the main fair, I’d strongly recommend getting there close to the start (10.30am), while their minds are still fresh and their throats are intact (from personal experience of staffing this sort of stand). Please don’t leave it until the last minute as exhibitors are always desperate to pack up and if you turn up at 3.50pm, you are more likely to find that they’re sneakily dismantling their stands than to get extra time to talk to them. Good luck – it’s gonna be busy this year…

  • I’m not a PhD or member of research staff at Manchester University – can I still come?
    Yes and no.

    Day 1 and Day 2 of Pathways are open to any University of Manchester PhD or member of research staff, plus “invited members only” from other North West universities (invitations have already been allocated).

    For Day 3 (the PhD Zone at the Graduate Recruitment Fair), anyone can attend from any university, without pre-registering, free of charge.

    If you’re a Masters student, the main Graduate Recruitment Fair is definitely for you. However, I’m afraid the PhD & Researcher events (including the PhD Zone in the Fair) aren’t designed for you – they focus specifically on careers for PhDs. However, if you decide to do a PhD at Manchester, you’ll be able to attend the events once you’re started.

New PhD Recruitment Event – 17th June 2009

fairI’ve kept this under wraps for a while in case it didn’t come off, but we’re now ready to launch the first

PhD and Researcher Career Zone

as part of our annual Graduate Recruitment Fair, and all researchers are invited.

On Wednesday 17th June, at the Armitage Centre (the University of Manchester sports centre in Fallowfield) we will have a small select band of employers who specifically want to promote themselves to PhDs and researchers. The aim is to allow you to talk directly to recruiters to find out:

  • how they view PhDs and researchers
  • examples of some of the jobs carried out by PhDs and researchers outside academia
  • the skills which PhDs and researchers can offer to the workplace
  • any current or potential future demand for PhDs and researchers in their organisation.

We’ll also have careers advice and information from “careers consultants with specialist knowledge of the PhD and researcher employment market” (OK, so far that’s me and Fiona Christie from Salford, though I’ve got feelers out for a couple more to join us).

Vitae, the national organisation which supports skills development for researchers will be there, and we’ll have information on how you can further increase your employability to make you even more attractive to potential employers.

This is the third day of our Pathways programme of careers events for researchers. However, whereas the other two days are only open to Manchester University researchers (and invited guests from other universities), this event is open to all.

Who will be there? So far we’ve had confirmations from:

  • AMEC Group Ltd
  • BG Group
  • Cabinet Office
  • Doosan Babcock
  • National Nuclear Laboratory
  • National Physical Laboratory
  • Tessella
  • EDIT: Astra Zeneca, Invitrogen, Detica added since this blog post originally written

… and now some of you have rolled your eyes, saying “But I’m not interested in any of them”. However, before you click away, here are some reasons to consider attending:

  • Recruiters often have experience of more than one employer, and should be able to give you an insight into the recruiter’s mindset and views of PhDs, irrespective of their current employerFor example, one of our careers consultants was a recruiter for PwC, but her knowledge doesn’t stop at finance, as she previously worked in HR in the aerospace/engineering sector – HR is a very transferable occupation, and many of us have worked in a range of sectors
  • There are over 70 other recruiters exhibiting in the main area of the Graduate Fair on Wednesday, including Accenture, Bloomberg, Deloitte, Qinetiq, Rolls Royce, Shell and a whole range of Government employers such as the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, HM Treasury, and lots more – nothing to stop you going and talking to them as well.You might also be interested in the other day of the Graduate Recruitment Fair. On Thursday 18th June, we have a second day of the main fair with different exhibitors, but there won’t be any PhD Zone.

One very important caveat though is that not all employers in the PhD Zone will have immediate PhD vacancies, but then you’re not all looking for a job to start immediately. However, they all have sufficient interest in PhD recruits to come to Manchester and talk to you directly – and why would they do that if they weren’t genuinely keen to recruit PhDs?

To be honest, when we first dreamed this up, we must have been foolhardy/brave/ludicrously optimistic to launch a new recruitment event in the midst of a recession, particularly aimed at a market where it’s notoriously difficult to get employers interested in sufficient numbers to make it worthwhile.

However, luckily we decided to laugh in the face of recession, and with the support of the Vitae North West Hub, we’re up and running – come and support us.

If you’re got any questions about the event, just add a comment to this post and I’ll reply.