So this is it, my last blog entry. I simply cannot believe how fast time flies.
I believe it was the periods of self-isolation and uncertainty that made the time go by faster. However, whoever is reading this and will recently start a new course at this fantastic university, you will not have to worry about all of these. Despite having to live with Covid-19 I still had a great time, imagine what your experience will be with no restrictions.
In this last entry, I would like to talk about graduate schemes, internships and job opportunities in the UK for international students.
First, it is important to understand the difference between these as you will see them a lot in careers talks:
These are positions students and graduates get as a trainee ranging from a few months to a whole year. Some of them are not paid, however, they are very useful for improving your CV as most employers value your experience with them. Basically, an employer can see that you enjoy and have the capabilities for working in a particular role. Employers have to be careful in choosing the right people as they will invest in them in training, so if you show you have internship experience in one area, you can convince them you can effectively work in that role. These internships are available all year round, undergraduates tend to get summer internships as they are free at those times. So yes, students in the UK usually do these internships whilst still at university so be prepared.
Graduate Schemes/ Graduate jobs
These are entry-level jobs aimed at people that just finished university, both offer training to their graduates. Graduate schemes are more structured and will usually train you through different parts of the organisation and will have names such as the “Leadership Development” scheme, etc. Graduate jobs do not have a specific structure but you will still receive training as it is still an entry-level job. BEWARE, most of the applications for these roles start in September and some might open again in January-February. This means that whilst you are doing your Masters degree you will have to apply for graduate jobs at the same time. Honestly, this can be tough sometimes. Some friends who secured a graduate role applied to over 40 roles. However, the University of Manchester has a Careers’ Advice centre that you can contact for improving your CV, interview tips and they also run events every week about different aspects of applying for a job, job hunting and assessment processes.
I applied to some graduate jobs although, unfortunately, I could not secure any position yet. However, this year and onwards all international students will have more chances. The new Graduate Route Visa opened up for applications in July this year, this visa allows international students graduating in 2021 onwards (Undergraduate, Masters or PhD degrees) to stay and work full-time in any position in the UK for 2 years (3 years if you did a PhD). This means that even if you do not manage to secure any job whilst studying, you can still have 2 more years to keep trying.
Usually, if you apply for a graduate role you will be asked to do the following tasks. Each one of them depending on passing the previous one.
1. CV, cover letter and personal information.
2. Psychometric tests – These are numeric, verbal and personality tests to see if you are fit for the role.
3. Interview (Face-to-face or Online)
4. Assessment Centre – Usually, you will work with other applicants on different tasks and they will measure your ability to work in a team and leadership.
My final advice is to be resilient, believe in yourself and make friends. It is important to network and make friends during your time at university because these people can also give you advice on how applying to different organisations can be and make you aware of different opportunities. Also, I can say one of the best things I achieved in Manchester is making many good friends. Their support all throughout the year has been invaluable, and I am so grateful for them. Manchester is definitely the city where I have met the best people.
As a final note, my dear reader, I wish you all the best in your future plans. Stay safe and stay resilient.