Unfortunately, it has been really difficult to find something to do after graduation. Going out into the real world is scary, and the competition for places on graduate schemes etc., is so high. Not to scare all of you, but it is akin to the Hunger Games!
I would advise students, even in their first years, to get as much varied work experience as possible, to better prepare themselves for after graduation. I’m not saying that I didn’t, but it takes a long time for people to settle on a job that they like. The earlier you realise, the more relevant experience you can find before graduation. I really would recommend people to contact their Careers service at University to help them with this (Leicester’s can be found here).
While the future looks a little bleak, without a plan of action, my dissertation supervisor sent me an internship possibility with the Policy Department of the Society for General Microbiology. This placement will open up for a few months this summer. With subsistence and travel covered, this internship does sound pretty good for someone who is interested in communicating science (to policy makers no doubt!) and is looking to get a tentative foot in the door. The society is a worldwide membership organisation for all those who work in Microbiology. As well as advising Governmental bodies on antimicrobial resistance, genetically modified foods and agriculture (to name a few microbiological current issues), they also identify gaps in education to train future microbiologists. Whilst, also promoting Microbiology as a highly important area of research. A good organisation for my Microbiological interests and with a great reputation on impacting research into Microbiology.
It sounds perfect for me, but I expect competition will be high, for this internship, as well. My tips for people wanting to stand out in the competition, of any job application are:
- To personalise your CV. While these opportunities usually require a cover letter (personalising your yearning to work with a specific company), show that you have taken the time to research the company of interest, by adapting your CV as well. This may involve including relevant modules from University.
- Show your enthusiasm. Obviously researching the company shows an interest. But, really emphasise your interest, by linking interest with desires you want to fulfil (not to sound over the top or anything). For example: “I am interested in the field of algae bio-reactors as I wish to contribute to advancing clean water sourcing and valid ways of scaling up renewable energy, both of which are huge problems in multiple communities around the world“. Although, I took a seemingly flavourless topic (IT ISN’T!), I linked the subject with its worldwide implications, that I would personally like to be a part of (showing passion).
- Use of thesaurus is never a bad thing, as you want to show intelligence and flair. Whoever’s reading your application probably has to look through many cover letters like yours, so grab their attention.
I hope this helps those wishing to learn more about work experience for after University, and that my advice gives you food for thought. Perhaps enjoy some commodities produced by microbes, such as cheese, bread, chocolate and a glass of wine or 3, to really appreciate the topic 😉
I also found a neat website for those who might be questioning studying Microbiology at University. Microbe Zoo provides background information on Microorganisms and their actions in our environment. Providing accessible and fun bite-size information suitable for First year Microbiology students, and even secondary school children (to pique their interests). I hope this lightens the post ever so slightly 🙂
Until next time blogosphere, TTFN xoxoxo