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Searching and applying for science jobs

Recruitment practices vary across different organisations, so you should use a variety of job hunting strategies. Some organisations will attend recruitment fairs and use recruitment websites, whereas others will seek out more specialist recruitment sources or recruit from within their organisation as far as possible, eg from internships, year in industry placements or insight events.

The websites below advertise science specific jobs and graduate schemes. Further details of websites can be found under individual job sector pages and the Using your degree outside the lab page. Examples include:

  • Gradcracker – website for science, technology and engineering vacancies including placements / internships, graduates jobs, employers and sector information and a section for university STEM societies to attract new members and promote themselves to employers. Gradcracker offer regular webinars - discover employers, their opportunities and application processes; sign up for live events or watch the recordings.
  • New Scientist jobs website includes a browse and search for a job function, job alerts, a recruiters search function, tips for life after university and careers pages.
  • NHS jobs websites includes a search jobs by region/ city, A-Z list of employers, guides on making successful applications and interview skills section

Specialist science recruitment agencies

Some employers use specialist scientific recruitment agencies to help them fill permanent and short-term vacancies. The agency will screen candidates for the employer and select those with relevant skills and experience. There is no charge to candidates for using these services and they can be a useful addition to your job search resources and may also be able to offer you application advice. Some scientific recruitment agencies include (you can search on www.agencycentral.co.uk):

  • SRG - science, clinical & engineering
  • CY Partners - chemical, pharmaceutical, biotechnology, life sciences & clinical
  • CK Science - scientific, chemical, waste, biotechnology & pharmaceutical
  • Cogent Skills - a range of science companies
  • KO2 - electronics and embedded systems businesses
  • Made Futures - vacancies in the manufacturing sector
  • Matchtech - engineering recruitment specialists
  • Samuel Frank Associates - specialising in control and automationengineering recruitment
  • SCI - recruitment for scientists
  • STEM Women

Watch: Using specialist life sciences recruitment agencies (March 2021)

The hidden job market

Not all vacancies are advertised and some employers prefer to recruit through word of mouth or speculative approaches. Others may advertise opportunities, but only on their own websites or through social media, where they will find an audience who are already showing an interest in their work and organisation.

  • To find out about companies, particularly SMEs, use online business directories such as Yell.com that can help you identify specific types of organisation by location. For research related organisations check relevant research council websites www.ukri.org/ and universities or www.airto.co.uk
  • Many scientific organisations are located on science and technology parks. You can use the UK Science Park Association for a directory of science parks throughout the UK www.ukspa.org.uk
  • Make sure you fully utilise social media in your job search (networking and using social media). Create a LinkedIn profile, join groups and follow organisations that are relevant to your interests. Participate in discussions and look out for vacancies. Twitter also allows you to follow organisations and individuals of interest and may alert you to vacancies and events
  • Attend our networking events and recruitment fairs. These are open to all students and are an excellent way of finding out more about the sector you are interested in by talking to people already working in it
  • Contact a York graduate or gain an alumni mentor through our York Profiles and Mentors resource and get advice and information direct from York alumni working in the profession you are interested in

How to apply for opportunities

For speculative applications, when you find companies you’re interested in, check their website to see if they have vacancies or if they offer an address for speculative applications. If not, you could submit your CV and cover letter, demonstrating how your skills and experience could benefit them. They may not have vacancies, but if they are interested they may keep your application on file for future opportunities or tell you if they use a specific recruitment agency.

CVs and covering letters

CV and covering letter videos are available for current students to refer to:

Check the recruitment agency SRG CV guidelines (PDF , 4,096kb)

CareerSet is a tool that uses artificial intelligence to offer feedback on your CV. It focuses on the language, content, formatting and impact. It will give you a score and suggestions for how to improve your CV. As you make changes to your CV you can continue to use the tool to improve your score. If you are struggling to get a score above 70% we can look at your CV. Read more about writing a good CV.

Interviews

You can use Shortlist.Me to prepare for job interviews. Try these interviews with employers working in science and research:

Find out more about interview prep on the Apply for jobs pages.