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
  • 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
  • Matchtech - engineering recruitment specialists
  • SCI - recruitment for scientists
  • STEM Women

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 websites such as Science City York to search for companies or 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.

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 (AI) 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 tou can continue to use the tool to improve your score.

Further support

CareerSet cannot comment on whether a CV is tailored appropriately to a specific opportunity or sector. For this reason you should use the CV Guide and CareerSet to develop your CV and aim for a score of 65 - 70%.

You may then bring your CV to a CV and applications review for further advice and feedback. If you struggle to achieve this score, you may also book an appointment to discuss how to progress.

All appointments are booked via Careers Gateway.