Careers with a geography degree: Top tips for maximising your employability

by | May 6, 2021 | Alumni/careers, Geography and Global Development | 0 comments

Dr Ross Jones, Lecturer in Human Geography and Employability Lead for Geography at The University of Manchester, outlines some of the careers our graduates have moved on to and shares his advice on how to choose a career area that fulfils you and make the most of the careers support available at university.

As employability lead, I’m the main academic link between our department and our award-winning Careers Service. My job is to support our students from Year 1 all the way through to Final Year as they prepare for graduate life. I do this by consulting with students, organising events, and communicating key information and opportunities.

Where geography can take you 

Ross Jones

Dr Ross Jones, Lecturer in Human Geography and Employability Lead for Geography at The University of Manchester

The geography cohort is wonderfully diverse in its interests, which results in our graduates going on to pursue a huge range of careers. An exhaustive list would take a long time to get through, but just some of our recent graduate destinations include local and national government, finance, consulting, education, heritage and environmental services, NGOs and international development. But with Geography almost anything is possible, and that is partly down to the flexibility of our degrees. Whether you choose to do a BA or a BSc, you will be able to tailor your module options, mixing human and physical geography if you wish, with more freedom as the years progress.

The interdisciplinary nature of Geography means that our graduates leave Manchester having developed a well-rounded, holistic and flexible set of skills that prepare them for the sometimes unpredictable (but always exciting!) world of work. For those of you that want to further specialise after your degree we also have a growing number of Master’s programmes that give you further opportunities to enhance your employability.

Our employability support

Male student attending a careers eventThe diversity of our cohort also means that we need to cater for a whole range of needs in relation to employability. Some of our students know from day one what they’d like to do, but many more are unsure or need extra guidance. That’s where we come in! Employability is embedded in the Geography curriculum, therefore expect plenty of opportunities to meet alumni, practice your CV skills, and reflect on your values and aspirations. The main thing I’d emphasise is not to worry if you’re unsure about what you’d like to do. Don’t be afraid to get in touch with your Academic Advisor, myself or the Careers Service – there is always support and guidance available!

Our top five tips

For those of you who are considering studying Geography here in Manchester and want to get a head start on your employability, here are my top five tips:

  1. Start thinking early about the kind of work you value and enjoy. We encourage our students to ‘think big’ early on and then to gradually narrow things down in consultation with our department and the Careers Service.
  2. Go to networking events with alumni and professionals – there will be lots of these happening throughout the year. They’re a great way to make contacts and learn about the day-to-day life of what professionals get up to.
  3. Don’t be a stranger! Myself, my colleagues in the Department of Geography and the Careers Service are here to help no matter what stage of your career search you’re at.
  4. Think about choosing our four-year Geography with Professional Placement pathway, which involves one year in paid work.
  5. Further down the line, consider one of our growing range of specialist Master’s courses to deepen your academic knowledge and enhance your CV.

Each year brings another enthusiastic, talented and hardworking group of students ready to change the world for to better. I hope some of you reading this will be inspired to join the next generation of Geography@Manchester graduates! Thanks for reading.