Congratulations for making it into a postgrad in one of the world’s top university. Being a postgraduate student is the perfect way to become an expert in your field of studies.
Congratulations for making it onto a postgrad course in one of the world’s top universities. Being a postgraduate student is the perfect way to become an expert in your field of studies. For example, I got a degree in Communication and Media studies for my undergrad and decided to become an expert by pursuing an MSc in International Marketing at King's Business School (KBS). Although being a student is an amazing experience that is very valuable, my experience also showed me that seizing the right opportunities at the right time is extremely important, especially when looking for a job after uni (after all that’s why you’re here in the first place).
In this blog I’ll take you through the opportunities that are available to you as a postgrad student. Keep in mind, I’m a business school student so these might differ depending on what department you’re studying in. Hopefully, you’ll still find something useful for you!
Get That Bread the Right Way - Part-Time jobs
Living in London can be very expensive. If you’re lucky enough to have a monthly allowance, chances are there’s only so much your parents can give you and you’ll probably want to have more money to “keep up with the Joneses”. See, you’ll meet a lot of people during this year and you’ll probably have to go out often. London is also great for shopping and being ideally located it’s also very tempting to jump on a plane for a weekend to travel somewhere. That small allowance or loan you get every month will probably not be enough if you want that kind of lifestyle and therefore you’ll probably have to look for a part-time job.
I know it’s tempting to apply to pubs, shops and restaurants but I personally think these jobs are exhausting, they require you to work at crazy hours and on the weekends which is not ideal to study and keep a social life. I also think that at a certain point in life these experiences don’t add anything new to your CV when applying for a graduate job. I therefore suggest that you find a corporate/office job that will allow you to gain valuable experience in your field of study and give you free time on the weekend. I had the chance to work for the student union as a marketing assistant. I worked 20 hours a week, made enough money to enjoy the city while gaining valuable experience in my field and have my weekends and evenings free. I applied for this job during the summer and got called for an interview when the academic year started. So this is the ideal time to do some research and find that dream student job now!
Being Canadian, I had never heard of a graduate scheme before. Turns out, this is something quite popular here that a lot of students apply to. If you’re new to the concept, basically, a graduate scheme refers to the process whereby employers undertake an organised program of attracting and hiring students who are about to graduate from universities. These schemes can last from one to two years where you’ll be trained by these huge companies. After the scheme, most companies will keep you and put you into a full-time contract. These schemes are very competitive and the hiring process starts in October for you to start next year … yes you did read that correctly, the process starts in October with many information sessions taking place. The hiring process is quite selective and lengthy. You need to provide a CV with a strong cover letter. Then you’ll have multiple interview rounds and assessment centres and only a handful of students end up getting picked. So I would highly suggest that you look for graduate scheme deadlines and start writing those cover letters and prepare for these interviews. Some very popular graduate schemes include companies like: Dyson, Apple, IBM, Aldi, Sainsbury, Google, PwC, P&G, Unilever, HSBC and more.
These are a great way to smoothly get your foot in the door in a major company and will also save you from the stress of looking for a job during the summer time after graduating. I honestly wish someone told me this before starting my degree. I feel like these are a well-kept secret and a lot of international students are made aware of these programs too late.
I talked to you previously about graduate schemes and I mentioned that there’s a lot of competition so don’t be sad if you get rejected. I know this can be very hard and demotivating but if you’re in this situation you’ll have to start looking for a “regular job” after uni. I personally had a lot of pressure from my family to secure a job and therefore I started looking for one around April/ May. I would advise you to book an appointment with the career centre, build a new CV and cover letter and practice for these interviews that will be coming your way. Once again, this is an opinion piece and I’ll be honest here the job market in London is wild. I sent hundreds of CVs and tailored so many cover letters and was not successful in my job search process. In the best cases, I would get a rejection letter saying I was not invited for an interview and in the worst cases I just never heard back. Competition is wild in London and get ready to differentiate yourself. If things don’t work out in London, look somewhere else. A lot of hiring managers abroad would literally fight to hire you so open all these doors to you.
Apply to become one of the officers as a VP Postgraduate:
Lastly, you could apply to become a VP Postgraduate officer. Within this role you would be the lead officer for the development of postgraduate student activities, societies and clubs. As well as for the educational experience and wellbeing of postgraduate students. This is a great way to develop your leadership and communication skills and is something very valuable to add into your CV and LinkedIn profile that will impress recruiters and give you a feeling of belonging within King's. For more information about this role click here!
This is the end of this opinion piece. I hope these tips were helpful and informative. I know that seizing the right opportunities can be difficult and stressful but I also want you to enjoy your time in London and get the most out of it.
Enjoy the journey and good luck!