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Thinking about career options

As we’re well into Semester 2, the time surrounding what, who and how to apply to graduate schemes, jobs and programmes starts to bubble up for a lot of Undergraduate and especially Postgraduate students. For this month’s blog, I wanted to talk about my own career aspirations and some resources you can use to look and explore work options!

My current goal has always been to launch myself into pursuing a PhD in Employment Relations and HRM, which is why I chose this MSc Programme in the first place. However, getting started with putting together a proposal, networking with different departments and going through the application process can be daunting, so here’s some tips and resources you can use:


If you know what subject area you want to study but don’t know what Universities are providing funding, projects, scholarships and opportunities, has been the best website for me to narrow down what specific Universities I want to contact about their programmes. Alongside a huge database of available opportunities, findaPhD also has some insight on how to structure your proposal!

2. Network with your potential department

If you’ve found your dream department, project or opportunity, the next step I recommend is reach out to the Heads/Project Leaders of the particular PhD programme you’re interested in and have a chat with them. Most of the time, academics love to talk about what work they do and are excited to see people take interest in joining in that work. It also allows you an opportunity to familiarise yourself with who you may be potentially working with and whether that department’s work culture suits you. (It also makes a great addition to your PhD proposals).

3. Using resources to build your proposal

Whether you decide to continue your research here with us or elsewhere, the University of Manchester has a range of resources available here to look into how to structure your proposal and what steps you can take. Personally, I have been reaching out for help from several academics and my own academic advisor in helping me put together a question and ideas for my own proposal.

There are many steps to this process, but I found these 3 steps to be the most useful in applying to PhD programmes. However, what if you just want to launch yourself into the world of work and don’t know where to start? For this, I highly recommend taking active use of our awards-wining careers service! With their newly revamped CareersConnect service, you can look at the latest opportunities in internships, graduate roles and even seasonal work. But, the most impressive resource I’ve found is the CareerSet CV Checker, which uses AI to measure how well your CV will do against other people in the same field/job search. More and more firms have started to rely on AI to filter out CVs and initial applications, so to be able to be one step ahead of the game is amazing!

The Careers Service and Postgraduate Services have so much to offer, so I highly recommend getting the best use out of it before you graduate!