Careers Perspectives – from the Bath careers service

Focus on your future with expert advice from your careers advisers

Tagged: options

Finding a Job other than a “Graduate Scheme”

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📥  Advice, Applications, Careers Resources, Graduate Jobs, inspire, Networking, Tips & Hints

Finding a Job other than a “Graduate Scheme”



So, you have applied to several graduate schemes but have not been successful or perhaps you have not had the time to apply, or maybe you are not interested in applying to a graduate scheme at all? Well, there are plenty more opportunities for you.

Laura from Careers Services is delivering an excellent talk on “Finding a Job other than a “Graduate Scheme” on Wednesday 15th February 17:15 – 18:05, make sure to book your place through MyFuture!

It is the bigger employers in certain sectors that offer graduate training schemes. Smaller to medium enterprises (SMEs) generally don’t have the time or the money to develop and plan big schemes. In many SMEs you may find that you can develop your skills more broadly and informally than in a big company. Generally, you may be able to gain experience in different roles with different responsibilities in a smaller company.

So what do you do next? Well, one point you have to consider is that smaller companies tend to only recruit when there is actually a role available, they do not think too much of the timings of an academic year! Some smaller companies may not even advertise at all, and just pick from their earlier trainees or perhaps from speculative applications or from networking. What I want to convey is that you may not find the job you want just by perusing job search sites online!

Here are a few ideas for you to consider:

  • Research and find out about potential employers

Find out about companies and organisations out there, think about where you want to work and in what type or organisation you would like to work in. Would you like to work in a small organisation or perhaps would you prefer to work close to home?

  1. Check our Occupational Research section on our website.  This has links to professional bodies, job vacancy sites and other relevant information organised by job sector
  2. Check our Job Hunting by Region section on our website for company directories in all UK regions.
  3. Research job roles on which has over 400 job profiles which include important information about the role, skills needed and also links to job vacancy and professional bodies.
  4. You can also research companies through library databases, see my earlier blog post on how to do this.
  5. Use LinkedIn to identify employers, see earlier blog post on how to do this.
  6. Check MyFuture and look through the Organisations link from the menu bar. This is a list of organisations that University of Bath have been in contact with at some point.
  7. We may have some relevant help sheets for you, specific to your degree. Check our Help Sheet section on our website.


Search for job adverts online / hard media

  1. Some of the above links have direct links to job sites online, but there are also other job websites which are normally used, my personal favourite is Indeed, however it can be confusing at first to find what you are looking for. Make sure to search relevant key words.  The University of St Andrews has an excellent list on their website:
  2. Check newspapers; local, regional and national websites can have job adverts listed, both in hard copy and online.
  3. Some companies and organisations do not use job websites to recruit new staff and only advertise their new roles on their own website, so always good to check!

Social networking / applying speculatively

  1. Use your contacts: friends, family, co-workers, academics, coaches and ask them to ask around too, you never know what may come out of it. Make sure people around you know that you are looking for a job. A few years ago I was searching for a job and as all my friends knew, I received interesting opportunities in my email inbox every week, especially from friends who were already searching for a job and kept me in mind when trawling through websites online or networking.
  2. Go to networking events, career fairs, sector-specific events, specific employer events, both on or off campus. You can find our events on MyFuture. You never know who you may meet.
  3. Use social media to connect, follow and interact with potential employers. LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter can all be used, but make sure to stay professional!
  4. If you find a company or organisation you really like the look at, but you can’t find a vacancy, apply speculatively with an email and your CV, but make sure to try and find a contact name  to send it to and write a professional targeted cover letter in the email.

Use recruitment agencies

Recruitment agencies may be a good option, check our link on our website  for more information.

Further information

I wish you all the best in your job hunting, if you want more information about this topic, please go to the talk (as mentioned above) or you can find lots of great information in our Finding a graduate job – guide, which can also be picked up in our office in the Virgil Building, Manvers Street, Bath city centre.






Are you considering postgraduate study?

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📥  Postgraduate Study

According to HEFCE, in 2011-12 there were 501,330 postgraduate students studying in institutions in England and Northern Ireland, a 50% growth in the market. These last few weeks, we have seen an increase in the number of students coming in with personal statements applying for further study. However deciding whether postgraduate study is right for you can be a bit of a minefield.



It is worth stepping back and reflecting on why you want to pursue a postgraduate qualification. Are you doing it for the love of the subject or putting off deciding on a career path? Do you love being in an academic setting or are you scared to enter the jobs market? Do you want to study at home or abroad? What do you want to do after your postgraduate study? The list of questions goes on and on. However it is important to ask yourself these questions and to spend time reflecting and researching the answers.

Some research pointers…

  • Visit the University: much like the research you did when applying for your undergraduate degree, do consider visiting the university you are applying to so you can get a feel for the environment. Talk to the course tutors, administrators and current students. You may in particular want to ask them about the careers their students have gone into.
  • Funding your study: explore the funding options available – are there scholarships or departmental grants that you can apply for? Is part time study an option or do you need to apply for a career development loan? Would an employer cover the costs of the qualification if it is recommended for the role?
  • Do you need to? Don’t assume that a postgraduate qualification will guarantee entry into your chosen career. Do your research carefully and make sure you get the employers perspective.
  • Added value: are there opportunities to gain work experience or go on a placement whilst studying for your postgraduate course? Can you gain professional accreditation?

So, what now?

If postgrad study is something you are seriously considering then I would have a look at the resources on the careers service website. Why not make an appointment to see a careers adviser for a chat too? We can help you navigate this minefield and give an honest assessment based on your personal circumstances.


Graduate Opportunities in the South West.....

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📥  Graduate Jobs, Internships, Labour Market Intelligence, Sector Insight

According to, the South West enjoys higher than average employment and was recently judged to be the happiest place to work. Good news so far. So what opportunities are available to you when you graduate? The following illustrates the range of employers based here:

  • Major employers are aero-industry companies such as Rolls-Royce, Airbus and BAE Systems.
  • Electronics, IT and civil engineering firms, numerous software companies and employers such as Orange and Hewlett Packard, as well as many of the large engineering consultancies have offices in the South West.
  • Bristol is emerging as an important financial center (outside of London), with companies such as AXA, Bristol and West, and Lloyds TSB being well represented, as are law, accountancy and other professional services.
  • Public sector employers include not just local councils and health service trusts but outposts of national government, including the MoD.
  • Some of the country's best Universities are located in the region and include Bath, Exeter, Bristol, Falmouth just to name a few.
  • The South West is recognised for its vibrant creative industries and companies such as Denham Productions, BBC South West and Aardman Animations all based in the region.

Explore opportunities available to you...

  1. Search for local employers on MyFuture, the Careers Services comprehensive jobs board.
  2. Graduate South West is an online vacancy service for all the universities in the South West of England, which collates job vacancies from all the higher education institutions in the region.
  3. GradCornwall vacancies in Cornwall for students and graduates
  4. Major employers in the South West comprehensive list produced by the University of Exeter careers service, lists employers by industry sector.

For more information do pop in for a 1:1 with a Careers Adviser.

Democracy Day - Have you thought of a career in Politics?

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📥  Advice, Careers Resources, Labour Market Intelligence, Sector Insight, Work Experience

Today across the BBC, Democracy Day is marked with special programmes looking at democracy in the UK and across the globe. The 20th January 1265 is widely recognised as the day England's first parliament was held.  This year also sees the General Election in the UK in May and therefore we are shining a light on the wide range of career opportunities in politics. One thing's for sure, a career in politics is unlikely to be dull. There are opportunities to be on the front line, working as a politician in Westminster or in local government; or you can work behind the scenes as an activist, administrator or adviser. A career in politics also offers scope to work overseas.

So how do you get started?
If  you are at University, consider getting involved with the Student Union. There are opportunities to get involved with existing campaigns or run your own. Campaigns can range from supporting organ donation awareness on campus to pushing for a better transport system for students. You can also get involved with the many Clubs & Societies which provide opportunities to discuss all manner of topics and engage with other students who care about the same issues as you.

The range of roles within politics are varied, ranging from administration, research, campaigning to specialist roles such linguists working for the intelligence service. The best way to clarify the sorts of roles that might suit you is by gaining experience. With the general election round the corner, there are plenty of opportunities to volunteer and get involved with local government in your area. Work for an MP has a wealth of information on getting experience in parliament. Internships  in Brussels are advertised on EuroBrussels which also has a useful "Find a Job Guide".

Working in UK Government
There aren't as many opportunities for work experience / internships directly in Government departments and agencies; however a wide range of graduate careers do exist. The following are useful starting points:

Civil Service Careers: information on all opportunities in the Civil Service
Civil Service Fast Stream: for information on graduate entry for progress to senior positions
UK Parliament Jobs: listings of all parliamentary opportunities
National Graduate Development Programme: graduate opportunities in local government
Local Government Careers: the most comprehensive listing of local government jobs

Working in EU
Careers at the EU Institutions: a comprehensive guide to EU institutions and the wide range of opportunities.
Jobs in Brussels: a one stop-shop listing all EU affairs jobs on one portal
European Personnel Selection: for all jobs in the EU agencies.

There are also a number of graduate traineeships which include: The European Commission Traineeship and The European Economic & Social Committee Traineeship.

International Politics
Various UK (and other national) government departments work in very internationally focused ways, most obviously the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Department for International Development for example.

UN: a comprehensive website with employee profiles and job listings.
NATO: a number of opportunities aimed at postgraduate students working for NATO in Brussels.

This blog post only scratches the surface of the breadth of opportunities available in the sector. For more information please download this very helpful guide produced by one of the careers team.  You may also want to re-visit our blog post on Careers in  International Development.


What do Bath Graduates Do?

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📥  Labour Market Intelligence


We’re in the middle of sending out questionnaires to 2013/14 Bath graduates for the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education survey and it made me wonder whether current students are aware of the survey and how they can make use of the vast amount of information we collect.

We are required to obtain at least an 80% response rate from our UK full time graduates and we compile downloadable leaflets for first degree programmes detailing What do Bath graduates do? Why not have a look at the leaflet for your course and see if it gives you any inspiration? There may be career paths you didn't know were possible with your subject and companies you had never thought to target. The data we collect contributes to national statistics and is published as What do graduates do?

Six months after you graduate we will be in touch to ask what YOU are doing after your studies at Bath. Your input will benefit Bath students and the University as a whole so please take a minute to complete the questionnaire.


Have you thought of a career in Human Rights?

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📥  Advice, Labour Market Intelligence, Networking, Sector Insight

The UN General Assembly proclaimed 10 December as Human Rights Day in 1950, to bring to the attention ‘of the peoples of the world’ the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as the common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations. To honour this, we wanted to inspire Bath students to consider and explore the wide range of opportunities within this challenging but rewarding field.

When you think of Human Rights, the first organisations that probably pop into your head are Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch, who produce research into human rights abuses and lead high profile campaigns which are often reported in the popular press. In reality a diverse range of organisations are involved in human rights and offer a variety of career opportunities  - you could be working for an NGO, relevant pressure groups, in publishing/ journalism, the legal sector, for research organisations, charities,  specialist consultancies, in central/local government, for social enterprises and in CSR departments of large corporations. This very helpful resource produced by SOAS Careers Service lists organisations and bodies whose work is specifically related to human rights.


It is worth bearing in mind that Human Rights is a broad employment area, not a specific job. Therefore, it  is important to step back and reflect on your own values and the motivation driving your interest in this field. You could work as a fundraiser, logistics manager, policy and advocacy coordinator, human rights, education manager, audio visual archivist,  administrative assistant, women’s rights researcher, website developer, accountant, youth worker, nurse, public relations officer, lobbyist, solicitor, barrister or a campaigner. This list is by no means exhaustive so think about the kind of day-to-day work you are interested in!

Unlike some other sectors, often there are no clearly defined career entry points and progression paths; therefore a common challenge for many graduates is to find a 'way in'. One of the ways to get your foot through the door is through volunteering. This is not only a useful way to confirm whether a career in human rights is for you it will also help you in building your network and your CV. Check out the volunteering opportunities via the Bath Student Union or  explore opportunities on the Do It website. I think the advice on the Idealist website is excellent and offers food for thought if you are considering working in Human Rights.

Lastly, do consider other sectors such as International Development as there is a significant overlap with human rights.



Science careers: options, job hunting and how to succeed!

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📥  Sector Insight

From audiologists to astrophysicists, there are a variety of fascinating careers in science which combine analytical thinking with creativity. Whether you wish to help patients learn to hear or solve the mysteries of the universe, there is something to suit all interests. There are also plenty of vacancies. The number of jobs for audiologists, for example, is expected to jump by 34% between 2012-22. And the current science, technology, engineering and mathematics (Stem) skills shortage means 39% of UK companies are still struggling to fill these roles. Similarly, there is a shortfall of women in science, with 87% of Stem jobs in the UK currently occupied by men. So, if it is your dream to work in science and technology, what are your options? And what will you need to succeed?

Guardian Careers are hosting a live chat with the experts on Thursday 4 December from 1-3pm and will be discussing:

  • How to break into a career in science
  • The best ways to find and secure science jobs
  • How to encourage more women into science careers
  • How to build up your CV for a scientific career

For more information and to participate in the live chat visit the Guardian Careers website. 


Common career dilemmas we've heard this term!

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📥  Career Choice, Careers Resources, Finding a Job, Subject Related Careers

Some of us were talking about the most common things we have heard this term from students in our drop-in’s along with helpful hints that we may give to individuals in that situation.

“I am not sure what I want to do”

This is perhaps one of the most common statements we've heard and this is followed by a look of embarrassment. Students in this situation often feel like they have failed in some way, like they are the only student on their course without a career plan. There’s some great advice within this article by the Guardian. Our advice is to stop panicking and to please book an appointment with one of the careers team. We can support you by giving you  space to reflect on what you want from a future role, suggest helpful starting points to research options, signpost you to relevant resources, online tools and share with you what other students from your course have done.

 “Do you have a list of jobs I can do with a degree in x?”

We don’t have that magical list of jobs you can do with your degree.

The reason is that in the UK, you don’t have to study a particular degree to enter a certain profession. Now there are exceptions (predominantly specialist scientific/tech careers) but in the majority of cases recruitment is based around the skills you have to offer.  So rather than asking “what job can I do with a degree in x?” it may be worth asking “what jobs am I interested in?” or “what skills do I want to use in my future role?” It is important that you don’t put limits on the options you believe you have.  Think instead about what careers you would enjoy doing and use websites like Prospects  and TargetJobs to expand your awareness of the breadth of opportunities that are available to you.

“Argh! I think I will get a 2:2, are there any jobs out there for me?”

You can survive a 2:2: while some graduate schemes use 2:1 classification as a way to sift applications this is not true of all employers! I just did a quick search on and counted at least 20 grad schemes which accept a 2:2. Not to mention SME’s and start-ups, who often don't have such stringent requirements. So it is worth exploring alternative routes into the sector of your choice. Check out this amazing list produced by Warwick Careers of employers who consider a 2:2!