Postgraduate Careers: Happy New Year!

AdamJim Reali, Postgraduate

I’m probably not the first to say this to you and, I might be the last, given that we’re now well into January. However, here it goes…

I wished everyone this same message a year ago in the newsletter I sent out to the class of 2019 masters students, little suspecting what 2020 held in store. Who would have predicted everything we went through during 2020? Certainly not me.

Although we’ve been through a lot over the past 12 months, I think we’re in a strong position to move forwards. Do remember that employers place a great deal of emphasis and value on resilience. Indeed, we’ve developed a central Careers and Placements workshop dedicated to it and you can watch the recording on our YouTube channel. So, whatever your personal situation has been over the past months, I hope that you, like me, will view 2021 as a year of new potential in which we have the opportunity to reflect on and learn from our experiences. We know that there is a vaccine for the pandemic and that, within the year, we are likely to see a return to “normal” life, albeit with some changes resulting from employers embracing a more online presence.

So, what might 2021 hold in store for you?

If you’re fortunate, you might have a graduate role or be undertaking further study and you will know what you’re doing in the coming months and possibly for the rest of the year. However, if you haven’t secured an opportunity yet, then you might have some uncertainty.

If you aren’t sure what the future holds, then don’t worry – this is a great time to begin afresh and to make the most of new opportunities. Businesses are embracing all that the new year has to offer. This means that there are new graduate roles being advertised as firms look to expand. You can find out what is happening locally in the West Midlands and further afield, with just a little research. Websites such as Insider Media provide great updates for the region and sites such as the CBI website provide insights for the nation.

If you’re thinking that you’d like to target an industry sector in which there is likely to be less competition from other graduates, you might find it useful to take a look at the AGCAS Skills Shortage report, which highlights a number of sectors in which recruiters are finding that applicants don’t have the skills they want, or that there just aren’t enough applications being received. Within the West Midlands, it identifies shortages of staff in the following sectors/roles – perhaps one of these might be suited to you?

Every Thursday I send out an updated list of all the latest opportunities that we have on Aston Futures – I’d encourage you to make time to look through these, filtering by industry sectors of interest. You can then logon to Aston Futures to see the individual opportunities and submit applications. It’s important that you take time to tailor each application you submit, so don’t aim to send out so many that you don’t have time to make them appropriate to the individual employer/opportunity. However, also try not to let that be an excuse for procrastination – try to ensure that you send out a good number of applications each week and that you keep a record of everything you’ve sent so that you can follow-up your applications.

To help you with your applications, please remember that we will be hosting a range of workshops, webinars and sessions, all of which will be detailed under the “Events” section of Aston Futures in the coming weeks. In addition, please do book an appointment with a Careers Consultant in the Careers and Placements team, for 1:2:1 help with your applications and interviews, if needed.

Once you begin sending out applications, it will only be a matter of time before you have an interview. Why not make it a new year’s resolution to practise your interview technique before you are contacted by an employer? That way, you will have time to iron out any issues you experience. To help you do this easily, please don’t forget that you can make full use of our Launchpad video interview software, which you can access via the interviews section of our website.

Remember: start sending out applications, keep a record of what you’re sending, practice your interviews and contact the Careers and Placements team for help. Happy new year!