1. Begin the process early
The start of your master’s program is an exciting time. You’re learning new things, meeting new people, and maybe even getting acquainted with a new city or country. The bad news is that it’s also the time when you should begin the process of finding a job post-graduation.
Rebecca-Anne Harrington is a graduate of the MSc in International Human Resource Management at Alliance Manchester Business School. She was recently accepted into the coveted PwC Graduate Business Program, and says if you’re hoping to secure a place in a grad scheme like hers, you’ve got to apply early.
“If you do want to go down the grad scheme route, [you have to start the process] by the end of September, a few weeks after starting your course,” she urges. “It’s just the way it works with the timelines.” (01:47)
2. Give yourself a safety net
When you’ve started thinking about what you’d like to do after graduation, it’s important to cast your net as wide as possible. Rebecca-Anne believes that limiting yourself to just a few companies could hurt your chances of being accepted.
“One of my top tips would be to apply for as many [roles] as you are comfortable or able to confidently apply for. If you have the time in and around your assessments, exams, and dissertation, definitely apply for more than you think you’d like to apply for,” she says. (00:14)
More than anything, this is about giving yourself a safety net. Focusing all of your efforts on securing that one dream job may seem like an intelligent use of your (limited) time, but if your application is unsuccessful, you won’t be left with any other options.
“If you give yourself a safety net by applying for a few different places, the chances are that you will be a little bit less upset if you get a rejection from a company you were quite keen on,” she says. “You know you’ve got other stuff on the backburner. For me, that meant applying for upwards of 35 companies.” (00:47)
3. Use your careers department
Rebecca-Anne admits that when she started her master’s, she had very little experience of searching, applying, and interviewing for jobs. That’s where the Alliance Manchester Business School careers team came in. They were an invaluable resource in the early stages of finding a job post-graduation.
“The most significant aspect to my success, in terms of securing a job, was the AMBS careers team,” Rebecca-Anne states. “The university has its own university-wide careers department, but in the business school, we’re lucky enough to have our own careers team. They deal specifically with business students and they were absolutely incredible. I cannot overstate that enough.” (01:15)
In Rebecca-Anne’s case, she found that a lot of employers were sending psychometric tests for her to complete. Having never done one before, she asked the careers team for support. They were able to give her personalized advice that gave her the confidence she needed to ace those tricky tests.
“Very early on, my confidence was not high,” she explains. “I had no idea what I was doing, I had never applied for a ‘real job’ before. I was very overwhelmed by the extra aspects – things like the psychometric tests. I had never done a psychometric assessment before, so I panicked a little bit. I went to the careers department and said: “Help me!’” (01:58)
“I had gone along to the careers department and they showed me examples of what they would look like. They [also] ran workshops for all of our students, [including] practicing psychometrics and knowing how to present yourself in a video interview,” she adds. (02:51)
4. Treat each application separately
Before securing a place on the PwC grad scheme, Rebecca-Anne applied for around 35 different schemes. Although she recommends sending out a high volume of applications, she also cautions against what you might call a cookie-cutter approach. Instead, it’s important to personalize each application and do research into each company you are applying to.
“A good way to do that is to go to the website of the company that you’ve applied for [and] figure out what seem to be their key qualities and what they look for in grads. Often they’ll have a page talking about the company’s values and the things they seek in employees. You might think this would be generic, but it is slightly different for every company,” says Rebecca. (04:24)
“If you know what those [values] are when you go to the interview, you know which aspects of your character and experience to emphasize,” she continues. “If I had gone for those interviews before I started my master’s, I’m very confident the outcome wouldn’t have been as good as it was. I definitely picked up extra things from the program.”(04:49)
Finding a job post-graduation isn’t a quick or easy process. But by taking these tips into account and using all of the resources available to you, you’re giving yourself the best possible chance of success. Good luck!