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Second Year Students

Second Undergraduates: Launch-pad for the Future!

Where Did That First Year Go!!

You will probably feel that finishing your course/graduation is a long way ahead, and that your second year is not the time to be thinking about careers at all. However, this is the key time to start thinking and planning for when you finish - it’s amazing how fast the rest of your time at Salford will go.

At the end of your studies, you will find that employers now expect candidates to offer more than a good academic record and degree, they also look for work experience (relevant if possible) and evidence of “employability skills” such as communication skills, team work and planning/organisational skills. Employers also look for “rounded individuals” – they want evidence that you have been involved in clubs, societies or voluntary work in the world outside University.

So, if you haven’t already started, your 2nd year is a perfect time to start building up evidence of these key “employability” skills.

More information on some of these key employability skills is available on our website.

Remember, everything you do at Salford counts!

How Can Careers and Employability Help?

Careers and Employability can help you make the most of your degree from day one: Make sure you don’t miss out on anything, keep in touch with all the latest events taking place in Careers and Employability such as talks from different professional organisations and employers, career planning and workshops. It may trigger ideas for your own future career plans. Log on to view all the latest news, job vacancies and more. Get interactive through our social media forums.

Your second year can be a great time to start to think about what you intend to do when you finish - and where. If you are lucky enough to get a part-time job related to a particular occupation it may also help you to gain an insight into a career you may be interested in later on and help you to make decisions about career choice. This is an ideal time to investigate your ideas in more depth. However, if you are stuck where to start, don't panic! Take a look at the pages on career planning for an overview of the resources available to help you.

Research Ideas

  • To kick-start your ideas, look at the Career Paths webpages which include the Careers and Employability Virtual Library. Likewise, look at Options with your subject leaflets to find out what you can do with your degree; these are available in the Careers Library and also available online.
  • Prospects Planner is an online career planning tool that can help you to clarify how your interests, values and motivations relate to jobs and careers. It can provide you with a very useful starting point for exploring options. You need to register with My Prospects to use this tool, but this is free of charge.
  • Graduate Directories: You may find it useful to pick up a copy of the free Prospects and GET Directories from Careers and Employability. These are full of opportunities with leading companies and can be a great way of thinking about the sort of opportunities that may be available and the sort of qualities/experience you may need. If you start planning now, you can make sure you are on target to fulfil your ambitions.

Value of Placements

A placement can provide valuable opportunities to develop your employment skills and enhance your employability. Skills and experiences gained on placement could put you ahead of other graduates when you make applications for graduate jobs. When they graduate, many students are recruited by the employers they worked for on placement. 

Placement Timings

Placements can be undertaken over a summer period (usually called an Internship or a Summer Placement) or during a year out from your studies (usually called an Industrial Placement).

Placements usually start after the completion of your second / penultimate year of study on an undergraduate degree course. Summer placements / Internships typically start and end between early June and the end of September.

Industrial / Year Placements are usually full-time, starting between and June and September after the completion of your second / penultimate year of study. They usually last from 9 to 12 months in duration and then end on a date between June and September of the following calendar year. After completion of a placement you would then return to University for your final year of study.

For full information, view Careers and Employability Placements and Work Experience guide to give you other ideas.

Help with Placements

Your course should have a member of staff who has responsibility as a Placement Tutor. If you do not know who your placement tutor is, ask a member of staff in your department. Ask your placement tutor(s) for information about placements and ask what support they can offer in helping you in find something appropriate. Careers and Employability runs, in conjunction with some Schools, specific placements events/fairs. Find out more about placements.

Not only a great way to earn money to keep you going whilst you study, part-time work will help you to increase your employability skills and will impress employers. Work such as stacking shelves, pulling pints, working in a shop can show that you have time management skills, customer care experience and/ or organisational abilities. Download the Careers and Employability guide to Finding Part-time Work to give you other ideas. You can look for part-time opportunities via our Vacancy site.

If you are applying for a part time job whilst studying at the University, many employers will ask you to send in your CV (resumé). Your CV is your marketing tool. It summarises your qualifications, experience and skills. Start preparing your CV now, not only will this help you if you are looking for part-time work now, it can also act as a template that you can develop as you progress through University. Visit our resource zone to access guides & resources to help you to write a CV and/or covering letter. Copies also available at Careers & Employbility. Visit our Improve your CV webpages where you can further information and times of CV Clinics & workshops.

Visit our webpages for details of how get involved with volunteering and to find out about opportunities in the local community. Local projects include conservation & environmental projects and teaching. Not only can you help local groups/individuals, this will give you a chance to develop some of these all important employability skills.

You need good academic learning skills and study skills because they support successful academic study and achievement. Good academic skills enable you to be better organised, read and make notes effectively, research and produce essays and be better prepared for exams. However, many of these skills, such as note-taking and report-writing are important skills not only for your degree course but also in work. The study skills programmes provide an opportunity to learn about different approaches and techniques to improve. Full details of workshops and one to one provision are available.

Get involved in clubs, societies or with the Students' Union. All of these activities will help develop your personal skills. For example, if you have been involved in sporting activities such as rugby, this can show your team working skills; if you are a member of a role playing group, this can show evidence of your communication skills. As well as having fun or keeping fit, you will greatly enhance your CV.

Languages are valued by many employers and demonstrating that you have these skills can enhance your CV when applying for graduate jobs. As well as helping you when on holiday! The University Wide Language Programme offers courses, at a variety of levels, in a range of modern European and other languages. Please see website for full details of languages offered, dates, costs.

Students of all degree disciplines need to be computer literate and familiar with word-processing packages, email and the Internet. Other useful computer skills include knowledge of databases such as Access, knowledge of spreadsheets such as Excel, and presentation skills such as Powerpoint. The student ICT training opportunities are available for all levels of experience in Microsoft Office, Windows, Email and other software applications.

There are some professions/opportunities where you need to take immediate action as soon as you return to start your 3rd Year. For career paths such as teaching, the NHS graduate recruitment schemes, conversion to law or the Civil Service, closing dates occur very quickly at the start of the final autumn  term. So prepare now, so you don’t miss out.

Talk to a Careers Consultant

If you feel you need to speak to a Careers Consultant on a one-to-one basis regarding job applications or need advice on your CV, please click here to view & book one of our current appointment options. A Careers Consultant will listen to your ideas, help you identify your strengths, weaknesses and skills and assist you in relating all of these things to the world of work. You can also book an appointment either via the askUS Desk or ring 0161 295 0023.

Careers advice is also available via Advantage 'Ask a Question' and SKYPE.

Appointments are available for current students/graduates of the University of Salford.

A Final Thought

Those students who develop a career management strategy early in their university life tend to be the ones who are successful in making the transition into graduate jobs most effectively. Worth thinking about…