Careers and Employability Service
Services for current students

Your FAQs on COVID-19

 Blue abstract image representing COVID-19

Last edited May 07, 2020


We’re very aware that navigating these uncertain times is challenging and want to reassure you that we are here and ready to help.

We can help you with any aspect of your career whether that’s the impact of COVID-19 on your plans, preparing for online recruitment activities or how to develop your career skills while at home. 

Careers advice 

Can I talk to an adviser about my career ideas?

Yes, our advisers are offering online appointments to answer any questions you have about your career plans. You can speak to them via Microsoft Teams, Skype or by phone. To book a convenient time for you, simply login to MyCareer. 

If you are unable to login to MyCareer, please email us

Postgraduate Business School students should contact Nottingham University Business School’s Postgraduate Careers Team. To book a careers consultation or seek information and advice, please email the team.


Volunteering and working during COVID-19

I’m volunteering/working as part of the effort to tackle COVID-19, how can I reflect on my experience?

You can self-enrol on our COVID-19: Student Volunteers NOOC, which you can access via Moodle.

This flexible online course will help you reflect on your experience and articulate the skills you have learned to future employers. You can also gain 10 credits towards the Nottingham Advantage Award if you decide to take it as an Award module.



Graduate job opportunities

How is COVID-19 affecting the graduate job market?

The full impact of the COVID-19 health crisis on the graduate recruitment market is still unclear. Long term it could be that there are fewer graduate roles available, but the full picture is yet to emerge.

Many employers are assessing their graduate requirements and it appears that very few graduate schemes have been cancelled for 2020. Many sectors have not been adversely affected by the crisis, for example, food retailing and production, healthcare, online delivery and some public sector functions.

We are speaking to employers on a regular basis to keep up-to-date with developments.


I am graduating this year, should I still be applying for graduate roles to start in 2020?

Many organisations are currently advertising their 2020 graduate positions and are planning to run their recruitment processes online. For example, our jobs board, MyCareer, has vacancies from employers looking to recruit Nottingham students and graduates. If you see a role advertised that you are interested in, you should still apply. 

It may be that organisations will plan for slightly later start dates, or you may be able to work virtually to begin with. You could also check the employer’s website for up-to-date information about their current graduate recruitment.

Find out more about graduate training schemes, direct entry roles, graduate internships and KTP by visiting our routes into work page. For vacancies, use the list of websites we've collated for you and sign up for our Jobs by email fortnightly newsletter.


I am a finalist and have a graduate job offer for a September start, what should I do? 

Your organisation will contact you as part of their onboarding process and will update you on any changes to your induction. Make sure you look out for any email contact and reply as soon as you can. 

If you have not heard from them, it might be a good idea for you to contact them. You could mention how much you are looking forward to starting with them and ask whether there has been any changes to the joining arrangements.

If your organisation has contacted you to withdraw their graduate offer (and so far this situation has been extremely rare), we are here to help. Please book an appointment through MyCareer.



Work experience opportunities 

 I was due to start a placement this summer, what should I do? 

We do not yet know if the current government advice will change by the summer and people will be able to go out to work. There is also a chance that the organisation which you applied to will be unable to take an intern or placement student. We would recommend that you contact the organisation you are due to join for an update. 

If you have concerns and are unable to contact the organisation you are due to join or require some help or guidance, please email the Internship Team. 


I was planning to gain some work experience, what can I do instead?

Unfortunately some organisations maybe unable to offer summer internships due to the current healthcare situation. However, a significant number of employers have been able to organise virtual internships so that students are still able to benefit from work experience.


We have a list of websites you can use to look for internships but start your search with MyCareer, our vacancy board, which lists vacancies from employers keen to recruit Nottingham students. 

There are also virtual internship organisations such as InsideSherpa who offer short virtual internship programmes across a number of different industries. They aim to provide realistic tasks, learning and exercises online so that you can experience what it is like to work in certain sectors or jobs.

Temporary work

While some sectors are struggling to provide work to existing employees, others are still short of people to do their work. Think about where there might be shortages in your local area and potential opportunities for the summer and beyond. The food supply chain is one sector which is still recruiting. Temporary work might not be your original plan but it could be a good way to use your time to develop skills and experience.


Like many forms of experience, volunteering opportunities may also be on hold. However, there are still ways to get involved, gain valuable skills and experience particularly in local communities. Visit our volunteering webpage for a list of organisations and also check out the Students' Union's volunteering site. 

Find out more on our work experience COVID-19 webpage



Applying for internships and jobs 

My employer has said their recruitment process will now be online. What does that mean? 

We are seeing more employers move their recruitment activities online, for example, using video or telephone interviews. Some companies that would normally use assessment centres are now running these virtually; this involves using videos, messaging services, video-conferencing and online activities to interact with candidates.

Go to our making applications webpages for expert advice on how to prepare for interviews and assessment centres. You can also book an appointment with an adviser to chat through any questions you have.


If I have a physical disability, mental disability or health challenge, should I tell an employer?

Whether you want to talk to an employer about your disability, how much you share or when is down to you.

You may want to consider sharing that you have a disability if it would help you in the recruitment process, for example, for adjustments in an activity so you can perform your best, or to explain a gap in your employment or academic studies.

You do not have to give details of a disability, and an employer cannot ask if you are disabled or the nature of your disability during the recruitment process. You can arrange an appointment with a member of our team if you would like to discuss your situation.

After you’ve been offered a job, many companies will ask you to fill out a health questionnaire where you can mention your disability(s). This questionnaire helps the company to understand your needs and give you the right support. The employer cannot retract a job offer based on the information you provide.



Making the most of your time during lockdown

How can I use this time to build employability skills?

Once your exams and assessments are out of the way, you may find that you have some extra time which you could use to build some employability skills. Some ideas include:

  • Use our online personal development platform, magpie, to access resources to develop key competencies sought after by employers.
  • Develop new skills, for example, pick up some basic coding or website skills.
  • Consider volunteering virtually as some organisations have roles which you can do from home. Take a look at the Students' Union's volunteering webpage.
  • Join the Nottingham Advantage Award (NAA) and look at modules you could complete over the summer.
  • Update or prepare your CV and LinkedIn profile, or practise psychometric tests to help you in the recruitment process. 

How can I use this time to plan my career?

Researching career areas is one way you can use your time productively and we've got the resources to help you.

  • Do you know where your degree could lead you? Use our subject pages to find out what graduates from your course have gone on to do.
  • Are you interested in a career but you’d like to learn more about it? Our career in mind webpage will show you how to find out what jobs involve and the routes in. 

You can also research potential career routes using LinkedIn, online media and speaking to friends and family. Building a profile on LinkedIn is a quick and easy way to start connecting with organisations and individuals. The University has an alumni network on LinkedIn and once you've graduated, you can join this group to find out where graduates from your course are now working. Visit our online networking page to learn more about using LinkedIn effectively.

You can also book an online appointment with a careers adviser to discuss further ways to research your career ideas. Simply login to MyCareer and choose a convenient time for you.



International students

Where can I get help and advice about my visa or related queries I have?

The University's Visa and Immigration team can help you with any questions you have about your visa.

UKCISA also has a very useful COVID-19 webpage on their website.



Further study and applying for courses

Is now a good time to consider taking a masters?

You may be thinking about studying for a masters degree because of the current situation. However, a masters is a possible option to consider this year, but think about whether your plans would be better suited to other ways to boost skills such as volunteering in a sector you are interested in, getting some part-time or temporary work, or doing a combination of all of these things.

If you choose to undertake a masters, think carefully about your reasons, as in most cases you will be taking on another student loan. Employers in different sectors hold different views, depending on whether they actively look for masters qualifications for certain roles. Vocational programmes - those related to job areas and professions - can help you to get into certain sectors. Furthermore, doing a masters is good preparation for those wishing to go on to a PhD.

Your career outcomes will depend upon which type of programme you take, and what else you do to prepare for the job market. So our advice is to visit our further study webpages and if you have questions, please book an online appointment with one of our careers advisers.


Should I consider a PhD?

With the uncertainty around graduate recruitment, you might be thinking of applying for a PhD in the hope that by 2023/24 when you approach the job market, postdoctoral research opportunities and the economy will be more stable. The truth is we don't know if it will be. However, if you think that a PhD programme is the right thing for you this year or next year depending on the opportunities available, then examine it carefully.

A PhD is the highest level of academic qualification in the UK and it involves three to four years of original research on a specific topic. If you're considering taking a PhD, our advice will help you investigate whether it is the right option for you. 


Is COVID-19 having an impact on PhD funding?

We have not heard that PhD funding will be reduced or stopped completely due to COVID-19. However, like many things at this time that could change. Our advice is that if you are preparing to apply, then do so. If you have any concerns about funding, contact your prospective PhD supervisor at the institution you have applied to or are intending to apply to.


Can I get help with my masters or PhD application?

Yes, we have a webpage about making postgraduate applications, together with a downloadable leaflet to help you to complete a personal statement for masters programmes. 

We also have a webpage on the PhD application process.

Once you've drafted your application, we can review it with you. You can receive feedback from an adviser by booking an online appointment through MyCareer.



Careers and Employability Service

University of Nottingham
Portland Building, Level D
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 3680
fax: +44 (0) 115 951 3679