Learning about Careers

When I started thinking about entering the world of careers, I believe that I genuinely didn’t know how varied and interesting the roles within that sector would be although I had a general idea of there being Careers Advisors who helped guide an individual in whatever journey that person wanted to take. But having luckily and gratefully gotten a job in a careers office at a university, I have been pleasantly surprised at how many different roles and areas of work there are.

For example, I am now a Careers Information and Research Officer and I help support the Careers Consultants with booking appointments, I deal with queries from students and sometimes staff via email or in person and I take on information related projects.

I have also learned that the Careers Consultants have a varied role. Where I am based, the Careers Consultants have three different kinds of appointments with students (short guidance, applications advice and practice interviews), liaise with departmental staff, take part in events,  as well as having their own projects.

In addition, there is the events and marketing teams and the jobs and vacancies department that help to make up the careers team.

Each branch has a key role to play and all the roles and areas that make up the careers team will have their specific focus, in terms of which faculties they work with and whether they cater for graduate or postgraduate/research staff.

This made me think of the difference between a careers service and service that aims to get people. For example, the Job Centre will be sourcing opportunities for those who just need a job and do not necessarily need a specific range of skills to apply. These kinds of people are not necessarily looking to pursue a career. A careers team in a secondary school or sixth form/college would be advising students on subjects to take in higher or further education and maybe apprenticeships that don’t need higher/further education in order to apply (literally just guessing here). And a careers team in a university aims to help their students pursue a specific career, providing them with as much information and resources they need to equip them to pursue their goals.

So I have very much learned that there is a difference in what kind of service you provide and what kinds of resources are made available depending on the audience you are serving. Which in turn has led me to think more about who I want to work for/ who I want to help.

In all honesty, I should know that the kind of service provided depends on who it’s for, based on the fact that I have worked for a variety of different libraries/information services with patrons that have very different needs. I assume I was a bit ignorant about the fact that people at different stages of their lives will need different careers advice; whereas, within the library/information sector, I was very much aware that different people would need different things. For example, a patron at public library vs someone working in the finance industry using their own information services, will most likely want very different information.

So in my first 2 weeks of working here, I have learned so much about the different roles that exist within a university careers team and how important these roles are when helping their students find and reach their goals.

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