Further Study: Finding, Researching and Considering Your Options

One of the benefits of postgraduate study is that it offers a high level of specialisation. While this is great, the amount of choice available can make it a little tricky to narrow down your options. Keep reading to learn about the different types of postgraduate study, how to research courses, and what to consider when narrowing down your options.

Remember, you don’t need to jump straight in to further study! Taking time out can benefit both your career and your wellbeing. You can use this time to reflect on what you enjoy on a day-to-day basis and on a larger scale, which can clarify what you want from your career. You can hear more about this from the perspective of a graduate in our blog post: ‘Graduate stories: Deferring my biology Master’s to stay in Bristol‘.


Looking for a graduate job in Asia? 5 tips for international students

In February, the Careers Service invited five international alumni to share their valuable insights and experiences with searching and applying for graduate roles in Asia. 

Here are five top tips from our speakers:

Utilise your Bristol experience as your unique selling point

Yun Wen Soh, Singapore — Honours Law LLB (2021) 
Incoming Trainee Solicitor at Herbert Smith Freehills 

When preparing for job applications and interviews, think about the different experiences you have at Bristol and use it as your unique selling point (USP).  

Try to identify a range of competencies throughout your time at university that will make you stand out as a candidate. Remember, your extra-curricular experiences are just as important as your legal internship and work experiences!

For example, working as a Careers Peer Support Assistant at the Careers Service in my final year has helped me develop strong teamworking and communication skills. By demonstrating a variety of external experiences and leadership responsibilities during your interview, you can impress the interviewer as a unique candidate with holistic experiences. 

Nonetheless, make sure that you continue to study hard, as your academic results are still an important factor within the hiring process, especially in countries such as Singapore.  

💡 Tip! Use the STAR model when structuring your interview answers to exemplify key skills and competencies.  

Research and gather information about the local graduate market 

Jialu Li, China — MSc Finance and Investment (2016)
Technical Program Manager at Byte Dance 

As an overseas returnee, it is very important to gather as much information as possible about the local recruitment landscape and hiring trends. For instance, I would highly encourage you to use LinkedIn to access industry-specific information and connect with professionals in your industry.

By expanding your network and connecting with industry experts, including Bristol alumni who are currently working in your home country, you can gain valuable, first-hand career advice and interview tips. 

An alternative way to learn about the local graduate market would be by word of mouth. Before returning to China, I called at least 10 of my friends who are currently working in China, to help me gain a better understanding of industry trends, the job market, and work-life balance. This was essential in helping me make an informed decision about my career plans. 

💡 Tip! Read our international labour market information factsheets on mycareer to build your knowledge about key market trends in India, Africa, Southeast Asia, mainland China and Hong Kong

Find a company that shares your values 

Yushuang Liu, China – MSc Accounting, Finance and Management (2020) 
Transfer Pricing at Deloitte 

When searching for a job in your home country as an international student, it is crucial to find a company that aligns with your personal values. This will enable you to feel fulfilled, satisfied and happy in your workplace.  

To begin, take the time to analyse your core values. For example, try reflecting on things that matter most to you, such as social responsibility, integrity or innovation. 

Upon identifying your priorities, conduct research to identify companies that share these values. I would encourage you to check a company’s website, social media and news articles to learn about their mission statement, culture and social responsibility initiatives.  

💡 Tip! Read our recent blogpost about ways to find an employer that shares your values

Brush up your interview skills 

Yifei An, China – MSc Advanced Microelectronics Systems Engineering (2017) 
Hardware Engineer at Western Digital  

For international students looking to work in your home countries, undergoing mock interviews is especially important to refamiliarise yourself with the local job market. If you have been studying abroad for a while, you may not be fully aware of the current job application and hiring practices in your home country. Mock interviews provide an opportunity for you to practice common interview questions, receive valuable feedback, and improve on your overall communication skills. The more your practice, the higher the chances of success in your real interview! 

💡 Tip! Use our Interview guide to prepare for your upcoming interview. 

Be resilient and don’t give up 

Vasudha Pathak, India — MSc Economics (2014) 
Manager (Economics and Disputes) at Deloitte 

Job hunting is an extremely lengthy, difficult and emotionally-taxing process. It can be discouraging to be rejected or to receive no response, and oftentimes, things don’t turn out the way you planned. For instance, I did not initially plan to return to India after graduating from university, however, my experiences working as a Junior Executive, an Economist, and gaining experience at a start-up in India has led me to where I am today.  

With resilience, self-confidence and determination, you can also find your way to a fulfilling career path. 

Find out more: 

Ning Tay, Careers Support Officer (International)

How to get into Social Policy

Last month the Faculty of Social Sciences and Law hosted a panel event on How to get into Social Policy, as part of the ‘How to get into’ event series. 

Here we bring you an overview of the sector and the panellists’ top tips for getting into social policy.

What is social policy?

Social policy is all about addressing human needs for security, social justice and welfare, and it considers how states and societies deal with such issues.

There are many different routes into policy work and a wide range of roles to pursue if you’re interested in this area – both in the private and public spheres.

A common entry route into the sector is as a research associate for independent think tanks. You could also work in project delivery or as a policy adviser in a government department. If you’re interested in more local issues, you might consider applying for the National Graduate Development Programme which is run through local governments.


My SME Internship: Jemima – Vounder Analytics

Hi, I’m Jemima, a second-year computer science student. Last summer I completed a month-long SME Internship with Vounder Analytics

Vounder Analytics builds bespoke insurance data systems for other organisations and is moving the actuarial and insurance industry away from dated and unsuitable tools such as Excel.  

My experience 

A head and shoulders photo of Jemima, smiling

Before my internship, I did not think I would have been capable of the tasks I worked on. However, the workplace was a brilliant learning environment.

My tasks were clearly explained and presented to me in manageable chunks, with ample opportunity to ask questions. I also learnt a lot about insurance and actuaries (I didn’t even know what an actuary was before I started!). All in all, I was presented with fulfilling and diverse work, without being overwhelmed.


10 ways to avoid being tricked by a job scam

Using online recruitment agencies and websites is now the most common way that students and graduates find a job.

A man on his laptop

While most jobs that you see advertised online are real, fraudsters can make use of online advertisements to trick you into paying for something that doesn’t exist.

Scams come in many different forms, but the people who carry them out are always looking for new ways to make easy money. To detect a scam and avoid being tricked, here are 10 things to look out for:


The Student Volunteering Fair: connecting students with the community

Last month, the Bristol Students’ Union hosted its much-anticipated annual Student Volunteering Fair, as part of Student Volunteering Week.

A busy crowd of students speaking to organisations at their stalls in the Anson Rooms at the Bristol SU Richmond Building.

The fair had a lot to offer, with over 40 organisations showcasing their work and encouraging students to get involved.

From supporting refugees to empowering older people, there was a diverse range of organisations present at the fair and it was an excellent opportunity for students to develop their skills and make meaningful connections with like-minded individuals.


Mentoring matters – why apply for Bristol Mentors?

The Bristol Mentors scheme matches successful applicants with an alumni mentor who will help you explore ideas, share advice and give you an edge to break into the job sector that interests you.

To celebrate Bristol Mentors now being open for applications for the class of 2023/24, we caught up with Lucy (BA English Literature, 2019) and Grace (MA Law, 2019) to hear about their experiences as student mentees on the programme.

Both former mentees have since taken the role of mentor for two current students. From mentee to mentor, and student to graduate, they are full of valuable experiences worth sharing!


Meet the Bristol PLUS achievers who are taking steps towards gender equity!

International Women’s Day is all about embracing equity by celebrating women’s achievements, raising awareness about discrimination, and taking action to drive gender parity. 

Happy International Women's Day!
#EmbraceEquity #IWD2023

We caught up with two PLUS Award achievers, Ellie Haines and Isabella Cupido, to learn about the work they have done to help forge a gender-equal world, and their motivations for getting involved.


My SME Internship: Olivia – Bristol Women’s Voice 

This International Women’s Day we’d like to celebrate how our students can make a difference. A great example is Olivia’s SME Internship with a women’s charity in Bristol, here’s what she had to say about her experience. 

A head and shoulders portrait of Olivia

Hello! I’m Olivia, a 3rd year Politics and International Relations student. Last summer I participated in the SME Internship Scheme with Bristol Women’s Voice, a women’s organisation tackling gender issues and inequalities within Bristol. Throughout my internship I learnt about their role in supporting the city’s most marginalised women who experience intersectional disadvantage in day-to-day life and often need support and tools to help better their circumstances. My experience solidified my desire to enter a career in the women’s sector, whilst enhancing my want to enter policy-making spaces to get more resources and funding directed at this extremely under resourced, and often unprioritised sector. 


Graduate stories: Emma’s Teach First experience

Teach First is a charity that develops and supports teachers and leaders who are determined to make a difference where it’s needed the most.

We recently caught up with Emma Tollet, a French and Spanish UoB alumnus and 2020 Teach First Ambassador, to hear about her experience taking part in the Teach First Graduate Programme.

Emma, in her graduate gown, smiling outside Wills memorial Building

“I had always been passionate about languages and so studying French and Spanish was a no-brainer for me. I also became an active member of the University’s Ladies’ Lacrosse Club and became Social Secretary during my second year.

Being a member of the club meant that I took part in charity events such as fundraisers and coaching at local schools, and taking a leadership role within the club helped me to bolster my communication and organisation skills.