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    I've currently finished my first year of uni (Manchester) studying History, and achieved 71% average - I'm hoping it puts me on the right track for a first overall. I'm quite worried about if I will get a job after I graduate, particularly as History isn't exactly vocational, so I'm conscious about building up my skills.

    The problem is that I've never had a real job - I did work at my uncle's takeaway for a while, but I don't think that really counts because he was family and didn't get paid (it was my choice). Instead, I've just been volunteering. While at uni, I was part of a high school mentoring and tutoring programme and also volunteered at the local foodbank (about 10-15 hours p/w). I'm looking to continue both in September. I'm also currently looking at internships, so I'm hoping that I'll be able to secure one for next summer.

    I'm also learning German at the moment, and perhaps Chinese in the near future. I don't know if all of this enough. I know an entry level job, even stacking shelves at a supermarket would be good, but - and I really don't mean to sound pretentious - I'd rather spend my time volunteering.

    As for the future, I'm interested in working in the public sector or maybe an NGO. Do you guys have any advice on how I can improve my skills and employability? Should I find a job for actual paid work experience? I might be able to volunteer at another place, do you have any suggestions as to what kind of organisations I should look at?

    Thanks for reading, any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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    Only person I knew who sucessfully went into a decent (actually very decent..) job in a well known NGO straight from uni did it by gaining a ton of contacts, references and experiance..

    She never did any paid work whilst at university (had jobs before though)

    But instead she started with unpaid internships (competative in their own right) and worked her way up to more well-kown charitable/campaigning organisations, each time picking up a very positive reference, and trying to vary her position (so not always working in the same role for each organisation)

    Dont get me wrong, at the time she hated it. long hours, lots of work, no pay, and all on top of her uni work..

    But it paid off.. she graduated with a wealth of experiance, a lot of conifidence, and some brilliant references and connections.. In the end it was one of her previous bosses, who tipped her off and pointed her in the dirrection of her current job. which she didnt struggle to get, as it was no problem proving she could do the work, when well.. she had been doing it for the past 2 years.

    It seemed to me like one hell of a slog, but it certianly paid off.. and compared to graduates with just a degree, she was hugely employable..

    - Not sure if that helps.. im sure there are many ways into your typical NGO type organisations.. thats just the only person ive known to go into one right from uni..
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    Stick down the takeaway on your CV if you're desperate - a month as an assistant or whatever. Here's some advice:

    Termtime: Societies, volunteering, stuff with the union (although try not to take the politics go to your head because student unions are utter BS that never change anything except banning songs in bars, not that you'll take such a cynical view in front of employers), awards, councils, department reps, etc.

    Holidays: Unpaid internships, volunteering, work experience.

    Also, don't forget your degree.

    That's the best case scenario though. Don't forget about your actual mental health. It's easy to look at the high flyers and want to be one of them but it does take a very special kind of person to become a workaholic like that. Any combination of the above would be preferable to doing all of them if you find yourself on the cusp of breakdown.
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    (Original post by fallen_acorns)
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    (Original post by Moosferatu)
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    Thank you both for your replies, I really appreciate it! I'll definitely try to see if I can squeeze in an internship or placement. Thanks again
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    I joined about four committees throughout my time university, wrote for my student newspaper and worked part time during term time as a student ambassador and photographer's assistant.

    During the holidays I worked in a call centre and had a two week work placement at a national paper and during Easter I secured a two week work placement at a regional news outlet. I also spent one summer working as a reviewer at the Edinburgh Fringe.

    It all paid off and I secured a marketing internship which I start in September. You don't have to go as overboard as I did, but make sure you do at least a few extra curricular activities at uni. It's also worth looking to see if your department do any work experience schemes like mine did.


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    Well the only job that I know that directly links to History is a History Teacher. Maybe try volunteering in Schools in the Summer holidays, or in some form of teaching establishment? That's if you're interested in teaching.
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    (Original post by Colour Me Pretty)
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    It seems that the more experience you can get throughout uni, the better! Thank you for sharing your experience, and congrats on your internship

    (Original post by randomgeeza)
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    I did consider teaching for a time, but I don't think I'm the right person for it. Thanks anyway!
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    (Original post by Tsundre)
    It seems that the more experience you can get throughout uni, the better! Thank you for sharing your experience, and congrats on your internship



    I did consider teaching for a time, but I don't think I'm the right person for it. Thanks anyway!
    No worries. Extracurriculars and work experience are so important. I know people who graduated with a 2.2 and have received job offers and internships because they have a cracking C.V. Similarly, I know people who did nothing at university apart from party and are struggling to find work.


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    (Original post by Colour Me Pretty)
    I joined about four committees throughout my time university, wrote for my student newspaper and worked part time during term time as a student ambassador and photographer's assistant.

    During the holidays I worked in a call centre and had a two week work placement at a national paper and during Easter I secured a two week work placement at a regional news outlet. I also spent one summer working as a reviewer at the Edinburgh Fringe.

    It all paid off and I secured a marketing internship which I start in September. You don't have to go as overboard as I did, but make sure you do at least a few extra curricular activities at uni. It's also worth looking to see if your department do any work experience schemes like mine did.
    I have worked a paid job during two summer holidays - but it was as a warehouse worker, so not very relevant to graduate jobs.

    In addition to this, I have had work experience working for my local MP for 2 weeks, and doing auditing in the legal department of my local Council. I also have done voluntary work at a school for blind and mentally disabled children and volunteered at charity shops.

    Furthermore, I have been Sponsorship Officer of one society at uni, Treasurer of one of the largest societies on campus, and Deputy Politics Editor of my campus paper.

    I finished the 2nd year with a high 2:1 from a Russell Group university. Given all this do you think I should be able to get a grad job? Because I really fear I'll end up unemployed after university or working some terrible job...
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    (Original post by Super Cicero)
    I have worked a paid job during two summer holidays - but it was as a warehouse worker, so not very relevant to graduate jobs.

    In addition to this, I have had work experience working for my local MP for 2 weeks, and doing auditing in the legal department of my local Council. I also have done voluntary work at a school for blind and mentally disabled children and volunteered at charity shops.

    Furthermore, I have been Sponsorship Officer of one society at uni, Treasurer of one of the largest societies on campus, and Deputy Politics Editor of my campus paper.

    I finished the 2nd year with a high 2:1 from a Russell Group university. Given all this do you think I should be able to get a grad job? Because I really fear I'll end up unemployed after university or working some terrible job...

    Hey!

    Your C.V looks really good! Are you going into your third year?

    I think you have definitely done a lot, so I would not worry about having a lack of experience. Really now you just need to focus on being able to sell yourself to employers on application forms and in interviews which is where most people struggle. However, that shouldn't be too much of a struggle for you seeing as you have experience of working with people so you should have interpersonal skills
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    (Original post by Colour Me Pretty)
    Hey!

    Your C.V looks really good! Are you going into your third year?

    I think you have definitely done a lot, so I would not worry about having a lack of experience. Really now you just need to focus on being able to sell yourself to employers on application forms and in interviews which is where most people struggle. However, that shouldn't be too much of a struggle for you seeing as you have experience of working with people so you should have interpersonal skills
    Yep I'm starting my 3rd year in September.

    I got to the 4th round of PwC internship application process for this summer, but failed at the assessment centre stage. I found the group exercise part extremely difficult as there were two ultra-confident people who just dominated the discussion. I worry that the same will happen when I apply for grad schemes.
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    (Original post by Moosferatu)
    Holidays: Unpaid internships, volunteering, work experience.
    Does it have to be unpaid?
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    (Original post by humzahumour)
    Does it have to be unpaid?
    Whatever gets you experience really but unpaid tends to be the option for people with few connections (i.e. most).
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    Welcome Squad
    Great thread!
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    networking

    if you have good people skills, can make friends easily, then you'll have no problems getting a job straight out of uni
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    Great University, good subject, good grades. Try and get some experience in with a firm, preferably one you would enjoy walking for properly when you finish or related to the area you wish to move into.

    I know someone who graduated with a history 1st and is now working as a graduate for BAE on £30,000+ already at the age of 22. Not shabby at all.
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    (Original post by Colour Me Pretty)
    No worries. Extracurriculars and work experience are so important. I know people who graduated with a 2.2 and have received job offers and internships because they have a cracking C.V. Similarly, I know people who did nothing at university apart from party and are struggling to find work.
    My friend has a 2.2, but because he has extensive work experience and got involved at uni he has a very strong CV. He's had little trouble securing interviews and I'm sure that he will get over the line sooner rather than later. Whereas another friend who got a 1st without breaking a sweat is having a lot of trouble finding work because, like you said, she did nothing besides going out. Having good work experience does make up for a sub par degree.
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    Manchester University is the most targeted uni in the UK for graduate recruiters. I would definitely go along to the careers service and see if they can give you any advice, but also register for some of their employability events that are designed to help people develop their employability skills. There should be plenty to choose from over the course of the academic year.

    I wish I had done this when I was there!


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