job prospects for university students

COVID-19 is having a profound impact on university students in all year groups, but students who are graduating during the pandemic are especially anxious about what the future holds. 

Alongside the pressure of studying for final year assignments, students are wondering how the COVID-19 outbreak will impact their job prospects. Career fairs and other events that would usually give students the opportunity to network with potential employers have been cancelled and a lot of students are unsure where to turn. 

Don't worry, if you've found yourself in this situation, you're not alone. There are thousands of people who will be graduating in 2021 who feel the same way as you.

If you're wondering how you can make yourself more employable or how to look for graduate opportunities to apply for, we've got you covered. 


Making yourself more employable during lockdown

To help stop the spread of the coronavirus, certain places throughout the UK have been placed under strict lockdown restrictions. While these restrictions are in place to keep people safe, they can be quite inconvenient if you're a final year student looking to enhance their CV with some relevant work experience. 

It's likely that competition for graduate jobs will be fierce, especially with fewer companies being able to offer them, so it's important you do whatever you can to make your application stand out from the rest. Here are a few things you can do to make yourself more employable during lockdown.

1. Take extra online courses

There are so many resources online that you can take advantage of if you're stuck inside for a few weeks. You could take a course that complements your degree, learn a new language or even learn a new skill without having to set foot outside your house.

All of these things will look great on your CV and will show that you've been proactive during lockdown.

2. Volunteer and help the local community

If you're not currently self-isolating, there are COVID-19 volunteer roles that you could apply for to fill your spare time. These kinds of activities can help to fill gaps on your CV and they'll make you feel good too! Click here to find volunteer opportunities near you.

3. Perfect your CV

In between your university assignments, we'd recommend spending some time perfecting your CV. We have a lot of great CV writing advice that you can look at for inspiration. 

Coming out of lockdown with a CV that looks great, reads well and says a lot about your aspirations will help you secure those more competitive roles. 

4. Improve your social media presence

This one might sound trivial, but lots of employers seek out potential employees using platforms like LinkedIn. If you haven't already, take some time to improve your profile, update your information and make your career aspirations known. You never know, your dream graduate job might come to you!


Advice for finding work during the pandemic

Graduates can have a hard time finding work at the best of times, never mind during a global pandemic. But don't worry, there are lots of things you can do to find your dream job!

First of all, we'd recommend staying in close contact with your university and the career advisors there. Their main concern is making sure that students like you have the support you need to find a job after uni. 

The job hunt shouldn't stop there though. Taking a proactive approach and looking for jobs early can help you secure something ahead of time so you won't have the stress of wondering "what am I going to do after uni?" looming over you throughout your final year.

Recruitment companies work tirelessly to pair the right people with the right jobs. Here at HRS, we work with STEM companies across the country and help them find candidates like you who are eager to learn and contribute to life-changing science and technology industries. 

Browse All Science Jobs >    Browse Graduate Opportunities >

If you have any questions about our job opportunities, or if you'd like to work with one of our HRS recruiters to find a life-changing job after university - get in touch

how to start a cover letter

Hiring managers have to sift through hundreds of CVs and cover letters every day, after a while, they can all start to look the same.

If you want your CV and cover letter to stand out from the crowd you need to make sure they're unique and interesting. You might be wondering - what's the purpose of a cover letter and why is it important? Well, hiring managers tend to use cover letters to find out more about your personality.

Young scientists are great at filling their CV's up with experience and qualifications but they sometimes lack information about their character - that's where a good cover letter comes in!

Why is it important to grab their attention?

Cover letters aren't always the most important thing when it comes to job applications, in fact, if your CV is good enough, the hiring manager might not need to read your cover letter at all. That being said, if your CV isn't quite enough to secure you an interview, a strong covering letter might just clinch the deal.

Your cover letter should say something about your personality without coming across arrogant or gimmicky. Consider your cover letter as the employer's first impression of you. What do you want them to think about you and the way you work? 

Knowing how to start a cover letter is often the trickiest part. You need an opening line that grabs the reader's attention and leaves a lasting impression - otherwise, your application will simply merge in the hundreds of others they've read that day.

Tips for the start of your cover letter

Here are a few tips you can follow if you've got a bad case of writer's block and you need a bit of direction. 

  • Mention someone you know who works in the business

"I'm a friend of Jane Doe's and she advised me to contact you about this role because she thinks I'm a great fit."

  • Don't waffle, be direct

"What drew me to this position is the opportunity for personal growth and development."

  • Share how you're feeling about the job

"I've been passionate about (industry) for as long as I can remember, and I'd love an opportunity to show you what I can bring to the role."

  • Make sure you include relevant keywords

"During my time at (current company) I've developed strong presentation skills and I'm great and staying organised and working to deadlines."

What about the rest of my cover letter?

The rest of your cover letter should be written in an appropriate manner for the job, while still allowing parts of your personality to shine through.

You can use the main body of your cover letter to explain more details about your qualifications, to share insights into your hobbies and interests and to show the hiring manager exactly why you're a great fit for the role. We've created a CV and cover letter checklist to help guide you through your draft, you can take a look at them here:

CV and Cover Letter Checklists >

If you're interested in applying for professional science roles, we have a wide range of science vacancies available. We work tirelessly to help candidates like you find their dream roles. 

Contact the HRS Recruiters >

environmental science

Environmental science is one of those fields that everyone secretly wishes they could work in. It's a science that draws on physics, biology, chemistry and geology to study our Earth and it's natural processes. People who work in this field use their academic knowledge to find new ways to protect our environment, prevent the extinction of animals and reverse the effects of climate change.

Why should you study environmental science?

If you've been paying attention to the media in 2020, you'll know that (besides coronavirus) conservation and climate change have been very prominent topics. This is because scientists have identified a very small window, of about 10-years, that we have left to significantly change our way of living if we want to save the planet. 

Environmental science has not always been a subject you can study, in fact, it's a relatively new subject that only really gained popularity in the '60s and '70s.

If you're not sure whether you should study environmental science at university, ask yourself this. Do you want to help create an eco-friendly world? If the answer is yes - environmental science might be the perfect degree for you!

What are the 5 main sectors of environmental science?

Like most scientific disciplines, environmental science covers a broad range of topics. The five major sub-sections of environmental science are:

  • Ecology - living organisms and how they interact with each other
  • Environmental Chemistry - chemical processes and the way they change our environment
  • Social Sciences - the relationship between humans and nature
  • Geosciences - the Earth's crust and the different phenomena that occur there
  • Atmospheric sciences - the Earth's atmosphere and how it relates to other natural processes

Are environmental scientists in demand?

Yes! Environmental scientists are very much in demand at the moment. There is a huge push for people to start creating new, environmentally-friendly technologies to clean up our land, oceans and air.

You might have noticed in the news recently that David Attenborough & Prince William have joined forces to create the Earthshot prize, a "Nobel Prize for environmentalism" that will award people £1m for new, environment-preserving ideas. Their goal is to find 50 solutions to our worst environmental problems by 2030 by giving people working in environmental science and other related fields an incentive to innovate.

So, now is a great time to get involved in environmental science and put your best ideas forward. You never know, you might end up working on a project that lands you one of the first Earthshot prizes!

What environmental science jobs are there?

Environmental science is a really broad subject, which is why there are hundreds of different roles you can choose from. During your environmental science studies, you might find that your interests lie in one particular area, like conservation, for example. In that case, you might look for a job as a nature conservation officer. Other jobs that are directly related to environmental science include:

  • Water quality scientist
  • Recycling officer
  • Minerals surveyor
  • Commercial horticulturist

If you're looking for a career in environmental science, get in touch with the HRS recruitment team today. We'll help you find a job that will help you turn your dreams of a cleaner, greener world into a reality!

No matter how much you prepare before an interview, things that are completely out of your hands can go wrong on the day and cause you to be late. Whether it's a bus that's running late, an unavoidable traffic jam, or a wrong turn on your way there, there's nothing you can do to avoid these things from happening - but what effect will it have on your interview performance?

Is being late for an interview a deal-breaker?

Turning up late for an interview without giving the interviewer any notice is definitely going to affect your chances of a successful interview. In fact, a survey conducted by The Creative Group back in 2015 shows that after checking or answering your phone in an interview, showing up late without acknowledging it is one of the most common interview dealbreakers. 

What should you do if you're running late?

If you know you're going to be late, it's important that you notify the person you've been corresponding with as soon as possible! At this point, sending an email or a text message isn't going to cut it. Emails and texts can be easily missed, especially when the person on the other end is likely to be busy or even in another interview. It's best to give the company a phone call and make sure that you leave a message with reception, as a minimum. 

If you manage to get in touch with someone, make sure you tell them why you're running lateapologise sincerely, and give them an estimate of your arrival time. In some cases, the interviewer might be able to push your interview time back a little bit and still see you on that day. However 9 times out of 10, it's better to reschedule. Here's why...

Being late will affect your performance

Even if the bus shows up, the traffic clears, or you eventually find your way to the right location, it's better to try and reschedule the interview because you're already starting off on a bad foot. The adrenaline and panic that you usually feel before an interview is significantly heightened when you're running late. Most likely, you'll arrive feeling flustered and unprepared so you won't give your best performance in the interview. 

By rescheduling, you avoid confusing the interviewer's schedule, and you also give yourself the chance to relax and prepare for the interview the second time around. Usually, interviewers prefer you to reschedule, so don't be afraid to ask if you're running late.

How do I avoid being late in the future?

If you've already missed one interview, it's highly unlikely that the personal interview will accommodate your tardiness again, so it's important you show up on time (or a little bit early) for the next one. Here are our tips to make sure you arrive at your interview on time:

  • Visit the place where you're interviewing prior to your interview. This will give you an idea of where to go & will prevent you from getting lost.
  • Anticipate traffic. If your interview is scheduled for a busy time of day, make sure allow for this and set off with plenty of extra time.
  • Get your clothes ready and pack your bag the night before. That way, you can have a stress-free morning and be ready on time.

Hopefully, these tips will help you get the situation under control quickly if you find yourself running late for an interview. For more interview advice, click the button below:

HRS Interview Advice & Questions >


Data science

Data scientists take copious amounts of data and turn it into meaningful, easy-to-digest information for organisations to use. These skilled professionals can be found across a huge range of industries, and they have a huge influence over the way in which businesses operate.

As things stand, data scientists are in high demand because they're able to analyse customer behaviours, purchasing trends, and scientific research and turn it into actionable outcomes. However, with automation on the rise, some data scientists are starting to worry that their jobs may be in jeopardy.

But is this really the case? Today, we're going to take a look at the different factors that may tell us whether these data science jobs will be automated.



Lots of jobs have been replaced by machinery over the past few centuries. Industries like agriculture and manufacturing were changed forever during the Industrial Revolution, when workforces of 100+ people were replaced by machines that could do their jobs more efficiently. Farmers and factory owners realised that paying hundreds of workers to do the job of one machine was neither time- nor cost-effective, and so many jobs were lost to automation.


Which jobs are most likely to be automated?

Some jobs are far easier to automate than others. The most automation-prone jobs...

  • Are based on repetitive manual labour
  • Don't require human interaction
  • Do not involve creativity or persuasion

Looking at these criteria, it becomes fairly obvious that data science is not at immediate risk. Data science is a very highly-skilled job that requires a deep understanding of very complex data sets - and every data set is completely different. Data scientists have to work creatively to show different kinds of data in appropriate formats, and they are often asked to present their findings so that questions can be answered accurately.

SEE ALSO: Jobs Least Likely to Be Automated

So, to answer the question 'Will data science jobs be automated?' - our gut feeling is no. At least, not any time soon; data science is the kind of job that benefits from the creativity and understanding of the human on the other side of the screen. An AI or automated approach to data science may produce accurate results, but will they be user-friendly? That's another question.


Finding a data science job

Finding a data science job is not as hard as you may think. There is still a high demand for professional data scientists who can translate swathes of data into user-friendly insights. As such, there are data science job vacancies in lots of different industries. Financial businesses, healthcare services and research companies are just some of the employers who rely on data scientists.

More on Data Science   Browse Data Science Jobs