Making the most of University (and getting a job afterwards)


Graduate unemployment is on the rise! The job market is tougher than ever! University students are all doomed! That’s what the press has been telling us for years and it’s something that I’ve been well aware of during my time as a student. After all, what’s the point in going to university if there’s no job guaranteed for you at the end of it, right?

Wrong. Going to university is about much more than just finding a job – you only have to read some of the other UMASS blog posts and speak to our student ambassadors to know that. But it’s true that some degree courses won’t lead you directly to a job, unlike others such as dentistry and engineering. I, as a languages student, was all too aware of this and became increasingly nervous when I couldn’t answer the question, “So, what are you going to do after uni?”.

The answer to this question won’t necessarily be clear, but thankfully, most universities have careers services to offer support in finding the answer! The University of Manchester is fortunate in having one of the best rated careers services in the country which provides help in CV-writing, preparing for interviews and career-planning, as well as hosting numerous talks and fairs throughout the year. One of the services which I made good use of in my final year, was interview practices – I had a couple of mock interviews before the real thing to brush up on my technique. When I was preparing to go to assessment centres, I was also able to look at tips and advice from previous students who had gone through the same process in previous years. Careers services are an invaluable resource and those who don’t use them are putting themselves at a real disadvantage when it comes to job hunting!

What struck me when I entered my final year, was that there were actually plenty of graduate opportunities available – whether they be internships, full time employment, graduate schemes or work experience placements, they are definitely out there! The tough bit is finding them, and making sure you’ve got a competitive edge. After all, universities churn out thousands of graduates every year, so getting a degree isn’t quite enough. That’s why students are encouraged to do stuff, meet people and build up their work experience while at university. Even if you have a plenty of work experience and have got involved with lots of things, it’s a good idea to make note of everything you do so that you can talk about it coherently in an interview situation! I learned this the hard way and it was only after having done several interviews that I realised I needed to fine-tune my answers and provide real examples from my experiences.

So, while it is true that there is high competition for graduate jobs, in actual fact, recent figures show that graduate recruitment is at its highest level since 2008. The University of Manchester performs particularly well in this regard too, with 91% of our graduates in full time employment or further study six months after graduation. The future’s still bright, as long as you put the work in – going through the motions of university just won’t cut it anymore.