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March 14, 2022, by Leah Sharpe

Career Thinking for Science Graduates

By Sally Hall, Faculty Careers and Employability Consultant

With a science degree, you can use your technical and transferable skills across many sectors, roles, and sizes of organisation.  In this blog post, we’re drawing your attention to options with smaller companies and careers that make a difference. Plus, how to develop insights, make connections, and present relevant evidence in your applications.

Explore opportunities within small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs)

Working for a smaller company can offer excellent learning opportunities and levels of responsibility. We have a number of science and tech small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the East Midlands that are keen to recruit UoN graduates, and many more nationally that you can find on the UK Science Parks website.  If you’re excited by what they do, contact the organisation to express your interest and ask for a conversation. Our Nottingham Internship Scheme and Nottingham Consultancy Challenge programmes are also great ways to experience working in a SME.

If you’re nurturing ideas for your own start-up business, it’s worth getting involved with the university’s Ingenuity Lab, where you can hear from those who have chosen this path for some helpful guidance.

Interested in careers that ‘make a difference’?

There are many ways to have a positive impact on individuals, society, or the planet. To progress your thinking you could:

1. Explore environmental and sustainability careers via our Environmental Careers webpage and the Sustainability Exchange guides

2. Check out opportunities to get involved in sustainability projects at UoN

3. Use TargetJobs to explore careers that make a difference and find further options in our own sector insight pages

4. Identify what’s important to you by exploring your values, motivations, and strengths through our self-awareness activities

Develop good habits in building commercial awareness and connections

Whether you’re graduating this year or you’re part way through your degree, invest time in building sector knowledge and connections.  This can help you with what to write in an application, what you talk about in an interview, and making decisions on career pathways:

1. Check out your relevant science professional bodies or institutes such as the Institute of Physics, the Association for Nutrition, and the Institute of Mathematics. You’ll find interesting news articles on research, innovation, and industry insights. In some cases, jobs are also advertised.

2. Attend and ask questions at sector insight events hosted by the university. Use LinkedIn to connect with speakers afterward and with other UoN alumni in fields that interest you.

3. Seek out relevant societies, forums, and networks in the university, and beyond. Examples include Meet-up groups, specific networks targeted at increasing diversity in science such as Black British Professionals in Science and Women in Stem. This and more can be found on our Work Experience and Graduate Jobs webpages.

What employers want

Employers want a lot of what you’ve got! At the recent Kaplan Global Conference 2022, Google and Deloitte emphasised the importance of communication skills – being able to present your ideas and experience clearly and authentically. Most employers seek transferable skills such as problem-solving, presentation skills, writing, teamwork, digital skills, and numeracy. You will have done most of these in your degree and perhaps also in extracurricular activities. Make sure you don’t underplay these in your applications! For laboratory-based work, ensure that you spell out the procedures, techniques, and safety practices that you are familiar with.

Finally, employers recognise that work experience opportunities have been affected by COVID-19 but don’t let that deter you from enhancing knowledge and skills through online learning and experience.

Visit our website to explore more opportunities and gain ideas on what you can do

Posted in Careers AdviceEmployer InsightsGraduating in 2022Labour Market InsightsWork experience