Pictures from the University's Careers Service

Your career and skills

There are many reasons to go to university, but most students hope that their degree will lead to a fulfilling and challenging career. Politics students often have big plans for their working lives, and helping our students to achieve their goals is something we take very seriously.

What makes us unique? We believe in combining research-led teaching with the development of key skills that employers are looking for. So, by the time you graduate, you will be more than ready for the world of work or further study. In the careers market, you will stand out from the crowd.

All of our courses are designed with students' future careers in mind. You will learn a range of skills which are highly prized by employers, and which will help you to find work and fulfill your future roles. These include presentation skills, statistical analysis, independent and group work, research skills and leadership opportunities. Every module you take will provide you with the extra evidence you will need to show you can do a great job. We also provide careers talks and events here in the Department, as well as ongoing support from tutors.

A range of activities, resources, opportunities and accredited awards are available to help you develop your skills throughout your time at university.

Year 1

Consider signing up for the Sheffield Graduate Award. This prestigious award helps you to develop the skills most prized by employers, and will help you to provide evidence of your abilities when applying for jobs.

This is a good time to start developing a Work Experience Portfolio. This will help you to keep track of the skills you have developed through your studies and any paid work or volunteering you undertake.

We recommend making an appointment with a Careers Advisor to make sure your careers planning is on track.

Year 2

Any Politics degree can be taken as a Degree with Employment Experience. Through this scheme, students undertake a year's work placement between the second and third years of their course. This can be paid or unpaid, and gives students a meaningful edge in the job market. The first term of your second year is when you should start to apply for placements to start the following summer, and talk to your tutors about your interest in the scheme.

Year 3
  • Careers fairs take place throughout the year, and these are well-attended by recruiters from major employers - we are the 12th most targeted university by top employers. Some fairs focus on specific sectors of work, and others are more general. They start early in the year, so don't miss out.
  • If you're interested in the Sheffield Graduate Award, it's not too late, but be quick! You will need to show evidence of a range of skills and it will take time to complete all the tasks.
  • The Careers Service provides a directory of job websites, information about social media and work, and advice on taking time out after university. We also strongly recommend making an appointment with a Careers Advisor, who can help you with your CV, job applications and offer general guidance.
  • The University's Career Connect service is a good place to start looking for graduate jobs.
Your personal tutor will be happy to provide academic references to potential employers - please speak to them if you think this is something you will need.
Global Leadership Opportunities in the Social Sciences

We encourage you to take part in the GLOSS scheme (Global Learning Opportunities in the Social Sciences). The scheme provides students with unique opportunities to understand their courses in an international context, actively engage with international policy makers, stakeholders and partners, and be involved in international research undertaken within the Faculty of Social Sciences. For the latest opportunities go to the GLOSS website.

It comprises three strands:

• The Global Leadership Initiative – providing undergraduate and taught postgraduate students opportunities to work as fully accredited policy analysts at major global summits;

• The GLOSS Research Associate Scheme – offering undergraduate students international research experience in partnership with academic staff;

SIDshare – enabling all students to engage in a student-run social enterprise involved in international development.

After graduation

  • Don't forget, you can continue to use the Careers Service for up to three years after graduation.

  • You can also continue to use the myVacancies service as a graduate.

  • Your personal tutor will be happy to provide academic references to potential employers - please speak to them if you think this is something you will need.

What skills will I gain from my course?

By the end of a programme of study:

Undergraduate single honours students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a broad understanding of political phenomena, and of the discipline of political studies;
  • Apply concepts, theories and methods used in the study of Politics to the analysis of political ideas, institutions and practices.

Undergraduate dual honours students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of specific political phenomena and of parts of the discipline of political studies;
  • Apply particular concepts, theories and methods used in the study of Politics to the analysis of political ideas, institutions and practices.

All students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a range of distinctive skills used in the study of political phenomena, including the evaluation of different interpretations of political events, and the gathering, organisation and deployment of evidence, data and information from a variety of primary and secondary sources;
  • Demonstrate appropriate general intellectual and communicative skills, including the ability to construct a reasoned argument, synthesise relevant information, exercise critical judgement, and communicate effectively both orally and in writing;
  • Manage their own learning, reflect on it critically, and seek and use constructive feedback;
  • Assess whether they have the ability, motivation, and interest to pursue further training at postgraduate level;
  • Reflect on career choices, and compete effectively for employment in the job market.

Throughout your degree

Regular careers talks take place in the Politics Department, on topics such as 'Careers with a Politics Degree'. These are advertised around the Department well in advance. There is also a programme of events run by the Careers Service.

Your personal tutor is available to offer support and guidance. They will be happy to discuss your skills, career plans, help you to identify areas you need to work on, and provide you with references.

If you have little or no work experience, the Taste of Work scheme offers you an opportunity to try out different types of role.

The Skills for Work Certificate is designed to help you use your experience gained from work to demonstrate to future employers that you have the necessary skills to perform in the workplace. Details

Job vacancies, particularly for part time work, are advertised in the Student Jobshop.

Entrepreneurs and those with big ideas can find support and opportunities at University of Sheffield Enterprise.

Internships can be a great way to work alongside your degree and gain valuable experience. These can be paid or unpaid.

Volunteering is a good way to meet people and looks great on a CV. We have one of the biggest volunteering programmes in the UK.

301 is a new student skills and development centre opening at the University of Sheffield in autumn 2012. 301 has been set up to help you develop skills for the workplace, including languages and leadership experience. 301 Centre