Careers Service

Job search

Many of you will want to go straight into employment on completion of your postgraduate degree. This section gives you an overview of the labour market for taught postgraduates in the UK as well as job search advice.

The UK graduate labour market

There are different routes for entry into graduate jobs in the UK.

Direct entry graduate jobs:

This is probably the most common route into employment for new graduates from all levels of qualification. Opportunities are often with small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) although larger employers also recruit directly.

Some employers may be interested in the specialist knowledge that you have gained through your postgraduate degree while others may be more interested in your career motivation, academic achievement, personal qualities and potential.

Employers will advertise jobs as and when they have a vacancy so recruitment into these opportunities is all year round. Training is usually on-the-job.

Graduate training programmes:

These are mainly offered by large employers in the public, private and, very occasionally, the voluntary sector. Employers will usually offer 1 - 3 years of structured training often leading to a professional qualification, e.g. human resource management, marketing, or accountancy.

Graduates with a postgraduate qualification will often be competing with graduates from first degrees for places on these programmes and in many cases you would enter at the same level as new graduates.

Many of these opportunities are advertised 6-12 months in advance of the start of the programme.

Experienced hire entry:

Graduates who have a number of years of work experience can enter directly into roles for experienced professionals. Your postgraduate degree should help you to market yourself more successfully for these roles.

Similar to direct entry jobs, employers will recruit all year round when they have a vacancy to fill.

Job search advice

Explore the ‘looking for work’ section to find comprehensive information on where and how to look for work.

Looking for work

If you are studying full time start your job search when you start your postgraduate degree if you don’t want to miss opportunities from those employers who recruit a year in advance.

Search for vacancies on MyCareerHub. You can look for vacancies targeted at postgraduates (put Postgraduate, MSc or Masters in the search box) but do not focus only on these vacancies as most graduates will enter roles where the minimum qualification is a good undergraduate degree.


Look for opportunities to develop and use your network for job search. If appropriate consider undertaking a work-based dissertation or build employer links through research for group projects or essays. There is networking advice and information in the looking for work section. Ask your course director about opportunities for employer engagement or look at the Making the Most of Masters site.

Making the Most of Masters

If you want to work internationally, consider starting with a multi-national organisation in the UK and looking for opportunities to transfer to an office abroad in the future. Or look at the International Opportunities section of this site.

International Opportunities

If you are a student from outside the European Economic area (EEA) you may not have the automatic right to work in the UK. Look at the Working in the UK section for information on visas and immigration as well as advice on who employs international students.

Working in the UK

You may be interested in self-employment or starting your own business. Start planning early so you can access the support available to University of Edinburgh students and recent graduates. Look at the ‘Self-employment’ pages for further information.