Can your dissertation help you get a job?

The dissertation will likely be the most thorough and in-depth project you will have ever done and perhaps will ever do in the future. In a congested graduate labour market where degree subjects are very similar between universities the dissertation is one way to stand out from the crowd.

What is a dissertation?

An undergraduate dissertation is essentially an extended piece of research and writing on a single subject. It is typically completed in the final year of a degree programme and the topic is chosen based on a student’s own area of interest. It allows the student to explore a narrow topic in greater depth than a traditional module. The typical length of a dissertation is between 10,000 – 12,000 words.

Work that is truly your own


The dissertation as more than academics

Carrying out the dissertation can be more than just academic research and can help develop and demonstrate skills that employers value along with the opportunity to work with professionals within your area of interest. This blog will explain some of the main benefits of carrying out the dissertation and the potential opportunities to improve your employability before graduation.


Valuable insight into an area to see if you like it beyond academics


Have a clear purpose and keep it relevant!

In your final year of study it’s easy to see the dissertation as a huge task to clear however you can, but this would be a mistake. Firstly, consider how you could relate your research interests to an occupation or profession or a part of their practice.

Creating an in-depth insight into the work of a particular organisation or profession can be a great way to demonstrate your skills and knowledge around the area and can provide a strong counter-argument to experience.


Most research seeks an explanation or new knowledge of a concept and, importantly, its practical applications”  


The collaborative approach: connecting with employers

Meeting with professionals has two obvious benefits to your dissertation and employability.

Firstly, working alongside professionals can give you an industry-related opinion on where to take your research and potential access to participants and practices within the industry. This can only strengthen the credibility of your work.

Secondly, using any contacts made as part of your research are also introductions to you as a future professional. This is an opportunity to get an insight into a particular profession or company and particularly what qualities they would look for as a graduate entering the profession – LinkedIn can be an invaluable help with this.


This is also a great opportunity to discuss creating a mentoring relationship and/or shadowing work to help prepare yourself for graduation. An employer could also see this as an opportunity to consider recruiting you in the future.

There could be an opportunity for an interested party to use the outcomes of your research.

Lastly, this can be a way to get access to other professionals and organisations in order to create more opportunities.


Access to the hidden jobs market and a head-start in securing advertised employment


Skills, Knowledge and Experience


Enhanced insight into the particular functioning of a profession and associated language



Planning             Proposing            Research methods             Enhanced sourcing techniques

Using software and IT        Report writing        Editing            Applying theory and practice


Employability Skills

Problem-solving               Using data               Communications            Project management

Decision-making              Organisation            Initiative               Critical thinking

Prioritising                        Time-management


Why not come to see the Careers Team to discuss further? Drop into Careers Express in the Hub on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays (10.30-12.30), or book a 1:1 career consultation by contacting the Careers Team at

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