Despite all the warnings over the difficulties of finding graduate employment, there are genuine opportunities waiting to be snapped up. Our panel of post-graduates explain how they found fulfilling jobs by thinking creatively:
Emily Black - Teacher
Having considered almost everything, I concluded I wanted something requiring my energy and talents and that could deliver a successful, rewarding career.
So I applied for the Teach First Leadership Development Programme, a scheme dedicated to addressing educational disadvantage by training top graduates to become teachers and raising standards and aspirations in disadvantaged schools.
I underwent six weeks of intensive training and in September started work in a west London school as a full time maths teacher, while simultaneously training for a post graduate certificate of education.
I receive weekly mentoring and am frequently observed to help me develop professionally. I attend regular university sessions, completing coursework during school holidays.
The scheme is about throwing you in at the deep end; but I am thoroughly enjoying the challenge. It feels amazing to have the opportunity to be a leader and influence young people.
To students currently looking for a job, I say apply for something that is challenging but that you think you will enjoy. It is hard to succeed in an interview unless you are passionate about the opportunity.
I am privileged to be part of the Teach First movement and am proud that I can call myself a teacher.
Reuben Sagar - Marketing manager
I work as a marketing manager at the Hire Space website, set up by the team behind restaurant booking site Top Table. I found my job at an alternative job fair called Silicon Milk Roundabout.
At the time I was in Aberdeen and couldn’t go to the actual fair, so instead I researched all the companies that made presentations and sent emails to about 20 asking if they had any jobs. About 10 replied.
The best advice I can give is to get as rounded a university experience as possible.
Employers were just as interested in my experience hosting a weekly radio show as they were in my summer internships.
Also, if you’re studying north of the border I recommend applying for the Saltire Foundation, a highly competitive but brilliant organisation that organises internships for students in Scotland — I went to San Diego with them.
When applying for jobs look beyond the big players which are all over-applied, whereas smaller companies often struggle to find really good candidates.
Alex Green - UJS President
My role as Union of Jewish Students president is to voice the views of Jewish students to our community and beyond.
I am responsible for appointing my own team for the year which works with JSocs around the country.
We are aware of the difficulties in finding a job when you leave university and hold a range of career networking events throughout the year.
My advice would be to make the most of these opportunities — many people who have attended in the past have secured internships and jobs.
Rachel Wenstone - NUS Vice-President
I am the NUS vice-president responsible for higher education.
There is no typical day, week or even year for officers at NUS. There are obviously some constants — national conference, reporting to the national executive, policy formation — but the job is eclectic.
It requires a lot of travelling and time away from home, but is endlessly rewarding. I absolutely love visiting students’ unions. Student leaders work so hard for their members.
It’s not an ordinary job and winning elections takes hard work, determination and incredibly supportive friends.
But to those students who care about the future of tertiary education in the UK and who love their students’ union my advice is get involved.
The third-sector is a brilliant place to work with colleagues to achieve the things you believe in and value, not simply to earn a living.
Carly Minsky - Post-graduate masters student
I’m in the second year of a two-year philosophy postgraduate programme at Oxford University. I am funded by a governmental council for arts and humanities research.
I specialise in three topics and write fortnightly papers, which I then discuss in a one-on-one tutorial with a professor. Since I am primarily a research student, I am not obligated to go to any lectures or seminars, and mostly work independently in a library.
I decided to apply for the course on the recommendation of my undergraduate tutors. I did a lot of research into courses and funding opportunities.
In order to secure funded places on a programme, it is important to have very good references from tutors who know you well, and a good case for why your research is important — for yourself, for the academic community, and for wider society.
I decided to continue with academic work rather than go into the professional world because I had hopes of making a career in academia. I simply wasn’t ready to stop indulging my thirst for learning.