After you graduate – what now?


Last week was graduation here at the University of Cumbria, so it’s time to celebrate and enjoy your last few days at Uni. Have you got a graduate job lined up already? If so – well done! And if not – don’t panic! We are here to help you find your perfect job!

Stay focussed

For some students, they send off one application, have an interview and are offered the job – for other’s it’s a lot harder, especially if you are not 100% sure what you want to do. Try not to worry about what everyone else is doing and instead aim to focus your energies on your own job search. Take the time and effort to make each application count. Don’t worry if you don’t get offered a job right away – something better is waiting for you!

Do something different

“If you want something you’ve never had before, you have to do something you’ve never done before.” A great quote to keep in mind if the way you are approaching your job search just isn’t working. Change your approach! You could try writing a blog relating to your chosen career – it can be a great way to make contacts, get some experience, and is a great portfolio to show to potential employers. Also think about undertaking some short-term work experience to get a little bit of real-world experience – every little bit helps!

Say YES to everything!

OK, maybe not everything (have you ever tried eating 60 hard-boiled eggs in an hour?), but when an opportunity comes along, even if it doesn’t seem all that related to your chosen career, why not try saying yes and see what happens? You could make a new contact, a new friend, or even land a job on the back of it. By opening yourself up to new opportunities, you will encounter new things, places and people which could all have a positive impact on your job hunt!

It’s not all doom and gloom

Unemployment in Cumbria fell again last month and has plunged by 27 per cent in the last year. This means that the University of Cumbria 2014 Graduates are going to have more opportunities than our 2013 graduates. It’s not going to be easy (nothing worth having is!), but it’s true that there are more opportunities out there than a year ago – you might just have to be a bit more creative about where you look for them. Which leads me nicely onto:

Make a start

Here are a few quick things you can do right now to help with your job search:

  • There are loads of graduate opportunities on the JobShop, you can register for alerts, or you can search using loads of different filters.
  • Create a LinkedIn profile – and use it! This post from last month might help: 5 steps to a killer LinkedIn profile.
  • Use Twitter to find a job. A lot of opportunities in and around Cumbria are with SME’s and they don’t have a massive budget to advertise their vacancies. This useful article from Francesca Mitchell goes into lots of detail.
  • Set yourself SMART targets for your job search – you could even schedule time into your week to work on these. Set yourself a task whereby you contact three people you’ve met through work experience, or search twitter for local jobs (see above).

I hope that this post has helped easy any post-graduation panic, and that it has given you some action points that you can start on straight away. Remember that the careers service is here for you for up to three years after you graduate, so you can always email, phone or pop in for an appointment if you want to! We’d love to see you again!

Friday’s Featured Vacancy – 18/07/2014



Full Time Front of House Staff at The Fenwick Seafood Pub - Lancaster

The Fenwick in Claughton are looking for front of house staff to join our team. Full time & part time positions are available. Successful candidates must have a good attitude to work, positive mental attitude & be a team player. Experience is preferable. This rapidly expanding company are very keen on promoting from within & are expanding all the time.

To apply, send a CV and covering letter FAO Tom Wilkinson via 

Shop Floor Assistant at Asda, Carlisle

How will you make a difference?

Here’s the short answer;

Our customers love us as much for our friendly, helpful service as for our fantastic low prices. On the shop floor you have a great opportunity to welcome customers, talk to them, help them and make their shopping trip memorable. You also have an important part to play in helping us meet our sales targets, whether it’s by recommending a product to a customer or making sure the shelves are stocked with the things they want to buy.

Everyday matters

Out there on the shop floor you’re in the front line of our business, providing great service to the very highest standards. We’re proud of our warm and friendly service. It’s what our customers love and have come to expect. So we’ll always expect you to:


  • Have a smile in your voice as well as on your face. Always say hello and goodbye and talk to customers, showing an interest in their needs
  • Treat every customer as an individual. You may be the first person they’ve spoken to in the store
  • If a customer asks where to find a product, don’t just point or give directions, take them to it – and have a chat along the way
  • If a customer has a complaint, try and resolve the problem yourself or quickly decide if it’s an issue for a manager. Be sympathetic and don’t get flustered
  • WOW customers with your friendliness


  • Try to recommend additional products to meet customers’ needs
  • Help to maximise sales (and customer satisfaction) by keeping shelves replenished and products always available
  • Be aware of promotions going on in the store and make sure customers are aware too

Closing Date: 22 July 2014

Apply online at

Adzuna’s Graduate of the Year Competition 2014

Graduate of the Year Logo

Hey there graduates! Could you be Graduate of the Year 2014?

Adzuna are running a competition where you could win an internship, some cold hard cash, and a fantastic opportunity for some CV feedback!

The prizes are:

  1. An internship with a top UK company (including eBay, L’Oreal, Sony & Google)
  2. A cash prize of £1,000
  3. A CV clinic with a top UK entrepreneur

Competition for graduate jobs is high, with a lot of graduates having to take non-graduate level jobs – it can be tough to find employment, especially if you are a recent grad! This amazing prize could help you land your dream job!

Adzuna are looking for a recent graduate from a recognised UK university – they want to find the brightest, sparkiest, gutsiest individual around. If you are skilled in arts, music, sports, academia, languages or are an outstanding student union member, leader, or social contributor, Adzune want to hear about you and why you deserve to win.

To enter the competition, all you need to do is to click here and tell Adzuna why you think you are the Graduate of the Year 2014.

The deadline for applications is the 22nd of August and the finalists will be notified by email on the 1st of September 2014.

Good Luck!

You can follow along with the competition on twitter: #graduateoftheyear – while you’re on there, why not give us a follow @UoCCareers!

Office Survival Guide – Infographic

So you’ve graduated and landed that amazing grad job – but what now? This infographic shows you how to survive your first day in the office!

It’s totally normal to be nervous on your first day in a new job – and if you’ve never worked in an office before they can seem like scary “grown-up” sorts of places. As the “new bod” you don’t want to be the one that messes up on your first day, and although your new colleagues will appreciate that you are new, it might take you a while to get the hand of everything.

It’s not about the actual job – you’ll get plenty of training and support there. We’re talking about all the other “stuff” that no-one tells you about – first appearances, office politics and making friends. This infographic from ChairOffice will hopfeully answer some of the questions you might have, such as…

“What time should I arrive?”

“How am I going to remember everyone’s names?!”

“WHY did I decide to pack a TUNA sandwich?!?”

Remember though that although ever office is different, there are a few common guidelines that apply to all new office jobs.

Here is the office newbie’s survival guide, which gives you all the necessary information for successfully surviving your first day (just remember not to take it too seriously!).

office survival guide inforgraphic

Why not add your own top tips by commenting below?

Friday’s Featured Vacancy – 11/07/2014


Fat Media are recruiting!

Graduate Vacancies closing on 24/07/2014:


We are looking for four trainee Developers; two with an interest in HTML5 and CSS and two with a Back End Development preference.

You will need a 2:2 degree in computing, software engineering, IT or Web Development, a demonstrable ability to work in a team and a passion for remaining at the forefront of technology and designing new development techniques.

Please supply an example of your code with your application.



We are looking for two web designers. You will need a degree in graphic design, web design or any other design related degree.

You must submit a portfolio demonstrating innovation and creativity. Degree class is less important. You must also be able to persuade us that you are interested in designing for the web.


Project Management

We are looking for one graduate trainee who will ideally have at least a 2:2 degree in project management or have covered project management as part of their degree course.

We will train you in modern complex project management techniques including Kanban and Scrum.

Apply now at

Student Success Story – Amanda Jane Law



Way back in March, the careers team interviewed Amanda Jane Law, one of our graduates who participated in the Unite scheme. We asked her some questions about why she did a Unite placement, how it helped her, and what happened next! You can have a watch here:

A while ago I spotted that Amanda had been interviewed by Tom Little for In-Cumbria. Here’s a little bit of an extract from the article, but you can read it in full here.

Unite with Business, run by the University of Cumbria, gives students and graduates the chance to complete paid placements at Cumbrian businesses, with some gaining full-time employment as a result.The scheme, started in 2012, recently got funding to continue until September 2014, and organisers are so pleased with it they have already put a new scheme in place to replace it.
One talented graduate who gained full-time employment after completing a Unite with Business placement is Amanda Jane Law. She declined the chance to go to prestigious art schools in Edinburgh and London to study a degree in Contemporary Applied Arts at the University of Cumbria, and she hasn’t looked back.
She graduated in 2011 and in 2012 she jumped at the chance to work for the Hesta Scene? gift shop in Caldbeck, through the Unite scheme. 
The company was so impressed with her that they offered her a dream opportunity to become their product developer, allowing her to jump onto the employment ladder, and use the shop as a springboard to set up her own business. She now splits her time between working on her own art, and working for the shop that sells it.

So what is Unite?

Unite with Business is a consortium of six north west universities, including the University of Cumbria, which provide free business support to SMEs. They take on a graduate for 20 days at no cost to themselves on a full or part-time basis. Typically projects have included designing or re-designing a website, developing a communications or marketing strategy or even prototyping a new product. The graduate is paid for their work via the project leaving the business free to concentrate on the project brief.

One of the benefits that graduates bring to the business are the up-to-the-minute skills they can bring, which can be beneficial to local businesses in many ways; by increasing sales, improving efficiency, updating branding, or expanding knowledge of social media marketing. For the graduate it is an ideal opportunity to get some real world industry experience, to enhance your CV, and also to find out check if a particular business or business sector is right for you.

If you would like to find out more, you can contact the Unite team directly on 01228 888731 or email

We love a good success story, so if you have one, you can email and you could be featured on the blog too!

An essay on essay writing


Essay writing is a key skill in higher and further education. Speaking from a student’s point of view, it is not just about what you write but how you write and express yourself – a degree of skill in English is definitely needed.

I never really felt like I was prepared for the standard required for writing at University. When I studied for my GCSEs I never had to produce an extended piece of writing, with the exception of my English language coursework and literature exam. Even then I followed a set writing structure, which wasn’t particularly complicated or creative. I didn’t receive any lessons at school on how to structure an academic essay.

When I went to sixth form college, some formal academic writing was required, although it was still quite limited. In my Geography and Politics A Levels, I had to write long answers to questions, but they tended to be merely descriptive and didn’t involve structuring an argument. I also had to produce a piece of English Language coursework in my second year, but again that was limited in its critical analysis. At university however, structuring an argument and presenting it in essay form is a key skill: a critical aspect of coursework.

Referencing is also a key part of University essay writing: I first came across it towards the end of my time at college when I had to write an article investigating the differences in dialogue in maths classrooms. Even then, the teacher showed me a program on the computer that did it (Refworks, which is a lifesaver) and I didn’t really learn how to form them myself.

All of this made writing essays at University quite a daunting prospect as I hadn’t actually done anything like it before, so I really struggled with them initially. Even now, having finished my degree, I find it hard to write long pieces of work which can be up to 5000 words and beyond. The University – to its credit – have provided us with support in teaching us how to write essays, referencing workshops and a dedicated service at the Library which proof-reads your essays and provides one-to-one sessions.

However, I wish that I had sessions on how to write essays at school and had proper practice of doing this before coming to University. I was lucky to study English Language at A Level which did help me out with my degree: but not every young person does this. Studying History at A Level is quite useful practice for doing a degree as you do write a lot of essays, although naturally they are not as complicated as University ones.

All of this is why I think we need to introduce essay education in schools at GCSE-level, and that the curriculum should include more academic essay writing on extended pieces of analytical content. It would prepare youngsters for going to University and would have the supplementary benefit of increasing their English skills. Even students who are not going to University would benefit from this, as essay writing is all about forming critiques and expressing them effectively, a desirable transferable skill. Interestingly, Michael Gove’s reforms seem to be going this way.

There are a number of ways in which all this could be implemented. Perhaps the most obvious would be to incorporate this into English lessons by having a module on how to write academic essays. Making the English curriculum more essay-based could also be a possible solution. Integrating this into study periods and PSHE/Citizenship could also be a possible way of doing this.

Some people might argue that not all students will want this academic stimulation. My answer would be that some sort of essay education is guaranteed to help them in the long run. Even for students going down the vocational route, their careers will demand the writing of assessments and reports at times.

Hopefully this will give you food for thought and make you aware of the issue of essay writing, which isn’t the most publicised. Whatever your opinion, it is clear there needs to be some discussion on the subject.

Sam has his own proofreading business. He charges from £3.00 per 1,000 words. He can help with style and content as well as grammatical and formatting issues. Sam has proofread for 6 years and has proofread pieces of work from Undergraduate to PHD level as well as editing CVs, job applications and personal statements. The business has its own Facebook page ‘Efficient Editing’ which you can contact Sam through. You can also get in touch with Sam by emailing him at Sam is currently on track for a first in his secondary maths teaching degree, where the lowest mark he has achieved is 65.