Whether you are in your first, second, third or later years of study it is never too early to start thinking about your future beyond your course. Here we offer help in planning your career and making decisions about your next steps. We provide information on options open to you including employment and further study.
Researching employment opportunities
How and where to find jobs
Small Business Start Up Route Map
Researching employment opportunities
Before starting your job search it is worthwhile taking the time to not only consider what you have to offer an employer in terms of skills, qualities and experience but also the options available to you: in other words industry sectors/organisations/roles which are of interest and to which your skills and experience can easily transfer.
Use the TargetJobs Career Planner to help you get started.
There are a number of resources which you can use to assist you to make informed decisions about your future career path.
Labour Market Information
At a national level, Prospects provides information on various job sectors which may provide you with further ideas as to possible Options with Your Subject .
AGCAS Scotland provides similar information from a Scottish perspective as well as links to other sources of relevant information.
Industry Sector Information
Whether you already know in which sector you wish to pursue a career or not, Industry Insights provides general information on a range of industry sectors which will give you an insight into some of the options available, including examples of typical employers and links to additional contacts and resources. So too do TargetJobs and Allaboutcareers.
The Times provides information on the top 100 graduate employers whilst GradPlus provides detailed company profiles and application criteria for student and graduate jobs, work placements, gap years, and post-graduate study. Graduate Jobs is a useful source of information on the latest graduate recruitment schemes with The Job Crowd providing the employee perspective. Don't forget to look at TargetJobs for tips on how to get hired by leading employers.
There are a number of useful tools available which provide a brief job overview. You can explore different types of jobs which will enable you to become familiar with the key responsibilities and skills associated with a particular role by browsing the relevant job profiles.
How and where to find jobs
When it comes to finding a job, you need to keep your options open to maximise your chances of securing employment. There are basically 3 routes into employment:
- responding to jobs which are being advertised
- using recruitment agencies
- adopting a networking or speculative approach
All require you to be proactive and it is recommended that you pursue all 3 simultaneously to improve the odds of making a successful transition into the world of work.
Iit is also worth bearing in mind that there are 3 main industry sectors ie public, private and voluntary, all of which offer a range of opportunities.
Graduate Management Programmes
Having a degree makes you eligible for a Graduate Management Programme or Scheme. These programmes are offered by well-known employers and are highly structured, introducing you to various aspects of the business on a rotational basis.
Some programmes have various streams eg HR, PR, Retail - you will need to check each programme individually for details and for the relevant entry requirements. The majority are looking for a 2:1 Honours degree, some in any discipline whilst others are more specific. Many now ask in addition for a minimum number of UCAS points.
They usually last 18 - 24 months and on completion you should have a good understanding of the organisation and how it operates and be ready for your first management role.
The programmes usually recruit annually between September and January for an August or September intake the following summer and as they are open to graduates throughout the UK, the competition for places is fierce.
Useful websites include:
Graduate Co UK
Graduate Recruitment Company
Advertised Job Vacancies
All potential sources of advertised vacancies are too numerous to mention but the majority appear in the national/regional press or online.
It is helpful to be aware of and note the days of the week when newspapers advertise vacancies in general or those in your chosen field in particular.
When searching vacancies online you usually need to register with the site and state your preferences with regard to e.g. geographical location and/or industry sector/role. However, it is advisable to review your profile on a regular basis to ensure that you continue to be notified only of vacancies which are of interest to you and match your requirements.
Make sure you register with ProspectsNet via the JobShop, which provides information on a range of employment opportunities both locally and nationally.
Some other useful websites you may be familiar with include Fish4, Monster and S1jobs. Remember, however, that there are many more.
Not all recruitment agencies are the same. Some will conduct an informal interview and preselect candidates to present to the employer whilst others will simply request you to upload your CV and you will be ‘tagged’ when a vacancy matches your specified requirements. Others specialise in head-hunting. Some have offices nationally and/or internationally whilst others are much more local. Some concentrate on a limited number of industry sectors whereas others will cater for all.
However, in general they are all working with large numbers of candidates all like you seeking their ‘ideal’ job. It is advisable therefore to be proactive and remain in contact with them, keeping them up to speed with any changes in your circumstances and/or requirements.
These represent only a small sample of some of the organisations specialising in selection and recruitment. There are many others who provide the same service but are too numerous to mention here.
Recruitment Agencies are one method of securing a 'taster' of employment on a temporary, fixed contract or permanent basis. A personal recommendation is usually a good place to start but the Recruitment and Employment Confederation has some really useful pointers. Gradplus has some very useful tips on what to expect from an agency and how to make them work for you.
Probably more time consuming but often more productive, this approach enables you to tap into the ‘hidden’ job market – it may surprise you to know that not all jobs are advertised. The fact that you have taken the time and trouble to research the organisation and the role before making an approach not only shows initiative but often means that there is often a better ‘fit’ with your skills, interests and values.
In essence anyone and everyone you know could potentially assist you to find suitable work experience or employment opportunities. Once you have narrowed down your options to a few industry sectors/specific roles, use your ‘contacts’, which may be personal or professional, to find out information and seek advice on what you can do to gain that all-important first foot on the career ladder: they have done it before you so are often best placed to offer advice. Remember, it is not necessarily ‘what you know’ but ‘who you know’ that counts and that is especially true in today’s extremely competitive marketplace.
Starting completely from scratch is a bit more difficult but there are a number of useful websites which can assist you to conduct your organisational research: business/professional directories and Chambers of Commerce are often a good place to start.
In both cases send your tailored CV to a named individual wherever possible and remember to follow-up with a telephone call in order to secure an informal chat. You will need to consider in advance the message you wish to convey, what your ultimate objective is and how to overcome any potential barriers you may come across.
The Higher Education Careers Service Unit (HECSU) provides a useful insight and some interesting data on graduate networking whilst Quintessential Careers has some really useful top tips which may help.
For graduates who are still seeking graduate level work experience
The TalentScotland Graduate Placement Programme offers an opportunity to work on a short-term project with an established business or social enterprise. Projects last from three months to one year and must be quantifiable and measureable.
Organisations of all sizes participate and you receive a minimum salary of £14,000 (pro rata) whilst on your placement. A supplement of £1,500 will be included to placements based in the Highlands and Islands. Participating businesses are dynamic, growth-oriented and located across Scotland, within the private and voluntary sectors.
You can search for these roles and make applications by looking at the TalentScotland site, www.talentscotland.com/gppgraduates.
The programme is open to all graduates who
- Have graduated at degree or postgraduate level from a higher education institution within the past two years — international graduates from non EU countries must have graduated from a Scottish higher education institution within the past two years
- Have up-to-date visa documentation if required — international graduates only
- Have good English language skills appropriate to a business environment
- Have no more than one year’s relevant (graduate level) work experience.
Many of us dream of being our own boss but few of us actually make it a reality. Whilst at first glance it may seem an attractive option there are many factors to consider:
- Is it right for me?
- What or who is my target market?
- Who are my main competitors?
- What might be a suitable location?
- Where would I find suitable premises?
- How do I write a business plan?
- Who can provide assistance with funding?
For answers to these questions and many more as well as information on other aspects of self employment, you may find the following websites useful:
Alternatively, the comprehensive route map attached may provide the answers to your questions and help you on your way.
^ to top