More in this section STEM Careers

How to Search for Employers

In a perfect world, you would pick two or three companies that you had already heard about, present yourself to them and decide which of their job offers looks most attractive.

Unfortunately, our world is not perfect, so getting a job normally requires rather more effort!

First, you need to be clear what you have to offer : qualifications, skills, experience, interests, qualities, achievements.

Then, start to think about characteristics that describe the types of organisation for whom you would want to work. The videos and panels on this page should help to highlight some of the factors to consider, and your priorities, as you create your job search plan. 

When you are ready, go on to Finding Employers for Biological Sciences, Finding Employers for Computer Science, Finding Employers for Mathematics or Finding Employers for Physics.  

What Employers Say They Want 

Job advertisements and job descriptions normally list the requirements of the job and what employers expect. However, Recruiters tend to respond in different ways when asked the direct question: What do you look for when recruiting new graduates? Here are a series of quotes which illustrate the range of factors and priorities they might be thinking about  when considering applicants: 

"Technical skills"

"Transferable skills"

"Potential - if they have potential, we can train them"

"Attitude - I will always take someone who has the right attitude and is willing to learn"

"Someone who will fit in and is willing to contribute"

"Ability to listen, answer questions and to get their point across"

"Some experience, someone who has a sense of the work environment"

"Passion for technology, passion for our business" 

Differences between Large and Medium/Small Employers 


 Please note that this chart is based on observations of a number of individuals and so should be interpreted as such. 

Creating a Job Search Plan

 What should you consider as you create your plan?

Here are some ideas of actions you could include in your job hunting plan, using Operational Research as an example:

  1. Read up about Operational Research. Start by reviewing the OR Society website.
  2. Look at The Journal of the Operational Research Society (JORS)) and/or Inside O.R. news magazine,
  3. Talk to Lecturers, Tutors or personal contacts who might have knowledge/experience of Operational Research.
  4. Write down the main reasons why Operational Research interests you as a career.
  5. Draw up a first list of potential employers (see the Operational Research section in 'Finding Employers for Mathematics' and 'Finding Employers for Physics').
  6. Analyse information from their websites to understand skill/experience requirements.
  7. Match your own skills and experience against their requirements and decide if you need to adjust your strategy e.g. additional qualifications, additional experience, different roles, different companies, different career!
  8. Attend Employer presentations / networking events.
  9. Investigate Alumni links.
  10. Decide whether to use a specialist recruitment agency.
  11. Finalise the list of potential employers and decide to whom and when to apply.
  12. Prepare and submit your applications.

Researching Employers 

Large vs. Small Organisations 

What Employers look for 

Job Search Tips 

IT Company Profile: FDM

IT Company Profile: IMGroup 

IT Company Profile: NetBuilder 

Technology Company Profile: Parker Hannifin 











Comment on this page

Did you find the information you were looking for? Is there a broken link or content that needs updating? Let us know so we can improve the page.

Note: If you need further information or have a question that cannot be satisfied by this page, please call our switchboard on +44 (0)1784 434455.

This window will close when you submit your comment.

Add Your Feedback