Taking Your Next Step

One of the fantastic things about a Humanities degree is it can lead to many different opportunities across a range of career sectors.    If you do a search on LinkedIn  for SALC alumni you’ll see examples of further study and an impressive spread of job roles and employers.   A key reason is the majority of graduate employers welcome applications from students of any degree discipline because they value the skills gained through studying and extra-curricular activities.  Skills such as communication, collaboration, research and analysis, independence, creativity and adaptability that are an intrinsic part of any SALC degree.   There are, of course, exceptions, for instance employers looking for specialist skills such as languages.


Deciding What’s Right For You 

You’ll find detailed information on any graduate role and further study on the Careers Service website, including job profiles, vacancy sources, graduate schemes, industry insights and more besides.  If you haven’t a clue what you want to do, or perhaps have one or two vague ideas, don’t panic!  Many SALC graduates, with rewarding careers, were once in the same boat and had one or more jobs before deciding on a particular career.   For inspiration, you can listen to graduates sharing their experience for a SALC welcome week session and at Meet the Professionals events.

Adopting a flexible approach and exploring options could increase your chances of finding a job that’s right for you, particularly at a time of economic uncertainty.  You‘ll also benefit from adding to your digital skills, something you can do through free flexible learning.  Reassuringly, a recent report by the British Academy states that, arts, humanities and social science graduates ‘are highly employable and resilient to economic upheaval’.   However, now more than ever, it’s important to be proactive.  So, for instance, if you have a few employers in mind why not contact them to see if there’s something you can apply for rather than wait to see a job advertised?  A careers service recorded session on Navigating the Hidden job market will tell you how to do this.  It can also help to spread the word to friends and family about the kind of things you’re interested in.  At the very least they can check job sites for you and they may even know someone who knows someone…who could help you.


Curious, Connected, Courageous 

Our research shows that successful graduates tend to be Curious, are willing to Connect with others and Courageous –  behaviour you can adopt in a way that works for you .  In the ‘I don’t know what I want to do’ section of the careers service website there are exercises and careers questionnaires to fuel your curiosity.  There are also suggestions for careers that link well to your degree subject, advice on how to connect with relevant people, plus videos of graduates sharing their experience to reassure and help you feel that little bit more courageous.

Just as important, though, is valuing the strengths you already have.  Don’t forget, you’ve come a long way to get to where you are now.   Studying for A levels, or their equivalent, isn’t a walk in the park, and nor is studying during a pandemic, yet you’ve done both.  The strengths you’ve drawn on to achieve this are a part of who you are and will help you succeed and deal with set-backs that are a natural part of life.  Because a growing number of employers use a strengths based approach to recruitment, we’ve recorded sessions to help you identify and articulate ones that are personal to you.

There are also psychometric tests including personality and learning style questionnaires that are free to use.   From these you’ll gain an understanding of your preferred way of applying yourself to a task, something that can be valuable when planning an essay or a dissertation.   You could also gain a clearer sense of how you like to live your life – knowledge that could inform your key decisions.


Adding to Your Story

When applying for something, be it work experience, part-time work or a graduate job, you will be asked to complete an application form or a CV and a Cover Letter.   This is where you tell your story, from GCSEs onwards, in a way that evidences the requirements of the opportunity you’re applying for.  So, how do you add to your story, particularly during a pandemic when there are few in-person opportunities?   You could start with university initiatives.  For instance, there is the University’s  Stellify programme that offers a chance to build highly valued skills and experience.   You could also look into Volunteering  or reach out to a student society to see if they’re doing something online. In addition, there are virtual internships, student experience internships and graduate internships on CareerConnect, the Careers Service’s newly launched opportunities, events and appointments platform

It all starts with one small step – finding something you would like to apply for.  If you need to complete an application, you can seek feedback from our student partner interns and use our online CV checker


You’re Not On Your Own

Don’t forget that the Careers Service is here to support you now and for up to two years after you complete your degree.  We offer help that includes guidance, applications advice, practice interviews and video interviews.   Each week we run events, many delivered by employers eager to receive applications from University of Manchester students – people just like you.  CareerConnect features a wealth of opportunities; some you may not previously have been aware of which could be just right for you.  And, if you’re put off from applying because of the competition, pause for a moment and remember that you are studying for a degree at a Russell Group university and already have a lot to offer.   You’ve got this far on your own – proof that you’re resourceful – and there’s lots of support you can call on to help you take your next step.

There is also an online Careers session for SALC PGT students on Fri 26 Feb, 1-2pm –  please email louise.sethi@manchester.ac.uk for a Zoom link