The University of Southampton
Careers and Employability ServiceStudents

Job hunting

Doing your homework

Before searching for a job or submitting an application you should do some research to think about what opportunities you are searching for and what's available. Consider the following as some starting points and think about:

  • The occupation in which you’re interested
  • The career structure for that occupation
  • The relevant professional organisations
  • What qualifications and/or training is required or available
  • Who are the potential employers? - (Those that don’t advertise may well have fewer applicants)
  • Who's in your network of contacts that you could approach for advice?
  • Graduate employment trends in that industry

Developing a job searching strategy

Networking doesn’t mean asking for a job, it’s about:

  • Getting information and/or finding out what people do
  • Making contacts
  • Arranging work experience
  • Perhaps even getting a reference

Make lists of contacts - you can get ideas from friends, family, colleagues, alumni databases, employer directories, Careers Fairs, specialist exhibitions and magazines, student membership of professional societies and institutes.

  • Grow your network and help other identify you through using Social Media effectively
  • Keep a record of your contacts and any correspondence

Information Interviews:

Information interviews are contacts with employers to:

  • Network
  • Find out more about a particular role/organisation
  • Find out how to break into a particular career

Information interviewing is a great way of getting your foot in the door. It’s up to you how you contact an employer - the size of the company and your confidence will dictate your strategy. You could:

  • Talk to employers at a Careers Fair or after campus presentations and try to arrange a follow up conversation and/or company visit
  • Explore Social Media (e.g. LinkedIn) to track down and approach potentially relevant people
  • Write a letter of introduction and follow it up with a phone call to ask for information
  • Phone a named contact in a company and ask if you can visit them to talk about working within their industry

Graduate Jobs

The typical and most basic approach to finding graduate jobs is to attend career fairs, search through Graduate Directories and browse company websites. However there is so much more you could be doing to find the vacancies, build a portfolio of contacts and take a professional approach to job searching.

The following links provide great starting points to find graduate roles.

  • Attend our Career Fairs to meet with graduate recruiters from a range of organisations. Check out the University of Southampton Career Fairs webpages.
  • Graduate Directories. Pick up your free copies from our Resource Centre or access online versions following the links on this webpage.
  • Access MyCareer to browse the current vacancies on the JobsBoard.
  • Use Social Media to your advantage to find jobs on Twitter and LinkedIn.


Don't focus your graduate job search just on the big employers and household names. The definition of a Small Medium Enterprise (SME) is a company with fewer than 250 employees. SMEs account for over 99.9% of the total number of registered businesses in the UK and employ around 70% of the workforce.

Working in an SME could be a great first step in to the world of employment for many reasons. We've identified some below:

  • Greater Responsibility - your role will likely be more varied than a large organisation giving you greater opportunities to learn and develop. You may be expected to take on responsibility for certain areas of work at an earlier stage than a within a larger organisation.
  • Team Working - generally being part of a smaller team gives a greater sense of team working and a sense of job satisfaction. Being an individual and recognised for your contributions to a team can be far more rewarding than being one of many thousands in a large corporation.
  • Contribution - greater speed in decision making and greater exposure to senior managers can help translate your thoughts and recommendations in to the day to day business which can help you to feel you are making a genuine difference to the company.

Graduate opportunities in small to medium-sized companies:

Graduate Talent Pool is a government-funded jobs board advertising internships with small and medium sized organisations (SMEs) across private, public and voluntary sectors. You can search by keyword, location, subject and set your preferences.


Part-time Jobs

There are many avenues to source part-time work during term time or during vacation periods. Below are some ideas for starting points:

  • Jobs Board – The Jobs Board on MyCareer is updated daily and features hundreds of vacancies, including graduate employment, summer placements, internships and term-time work.
  • Temp Bank - This on campus service provides a number of jobs (full-time and part-time) throughout the year and can offer students and graduates the perfect job role to fit alongside your studies.
  • Students' Union - This can be a great place to work alongside your studies. The Students' Union often recruit for part-time vacancies in the bar and retail outlets as well as administration roles as and when required.

In addition to these you may want to consider how to write a good application, CV or Cover Letter in our Applying for Jobs section.

Don't forget to also consider checking:



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