|Conservation Studies (Historic Buildings)|
|University of York|
|Large business (250+ employees)|
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A day in the life of a Careers Consultant in the United Kingdom
I love working with people and helping them realise their ambitions. I still love historic buildings but I chose a career path away from heritage sector.
What I do
My role is about providing information, advice and guidance to help students make realistic choices about their education, training and work.
Skills I use and how I developed them
An empathetic, non-judgmental and ethical approach
Communication and listening skills
The ability to motivate and build a rapport with people - this is crucial in both group and one to one interactions with a variety of audiences - students, academics, co-workers, employers
The ability to work individually or as part of a team
What I like most
I love being able to use my strengths (relationship building and innovation) on a daily basis to make a difference for others.
It is that email of thanks or the light bulb moment during a one to one guidance appointment when someone realises that they could actually get a career they enjoy that makes my job worthwhile.
What I like least
We have to plan our programme for the next academic year about 6 months in advance. I am not the most organised person so working to this timetable and putting ideas on paper so far ahead can be a challenge for me.
What surprised me most
The opportunities to be creative and also further my own studies in a wide range of areas. Being in a university, there is always a course or project you can be involved in. Wanting to self improve is really valued.
My career goals when I graduated
I studied a Masters in Conservation because I wanted a career in heritage. I loved the course and made some fantastic friends along the way. I self- funded my Masters so upon graduation my only goal was to get salary that covered my costs.
I applied for lost of heritage roles but I couldn't afford to do unpaid experience and the existing experience with the National Trust and English Heritage were not enough.
My career history
I have had a variety of roles within recruitment prior to joining the university. Each role has given me a skill or experience that is useful in my current role.
At university I had part time customer service jobs as well as working for the GSA and CELT. Any experience can be good experience. I also participated in team sports, I used this as example of motivating others in an interview once.
What has helped my career to progress
Having an open mind about career opportunities. I haven't followed the path I thought my Masters would lead to but I have learnt about what my values are for a job. It isn't all about the job title. Consider the tasks the role involves, organisation, the work life balance, the co-workers, the location, the opportunities to progress. Sometimes you have to take a step back or sideways to get the job you want. Get involved and be enthusiastic.
Courses taken since graduation
HEA Fellowship - this demonstrates I am involved in teaching and learning in a higher education institution
Level 6 Diploma in Careers Advice and Guidance - this was a requirement of my current role. I took my role as a trainee position until I qualified.
Mental Health First Aider - I use the techniques during interviews with students
AGCAS Introduction to Advice and Guidance Interviewing - this course introduced me to careers advice.
How my studies have helped my career
Being a University of York student definitely helped me demonstrate my passion for this university and its students. The course helped me gain transferable skills that I use on a daily basis. The presentation as part of my dissertation was an opportunity for me to overcome my fear of talking to groups. I now present sessions to students as part of my weekly routine!
What surprised me about my career so far
That I can see the value in every role I have had. Each has helped me secure the next.
Also if you can say you love your job, you are so lucky. My friends always say that it must be easy for me to go to work when I love what I do. It is true.
Where I hope to be in 5 years
I would like to continue to progress within higher education. I still have so much to give and learn.
My advice to students considering work
If you are pursuing a career in heritage sector: get as much experience as you can during university. Use specialist websites and be willing to relocate. Fixed term contracts can lead to your dream job. Keep persevering.
If you are passionate about working in higher education: get a job as a brand ambassador or intern within the university. Show you are passionate about higher education sector.
My advice about working in my industry
The application form can be tedious but you need to make use of the word count and align your experiences to the job spec explicitly. Competition is tough but it is possible. Progression can happen so if you need to take a step down to then progress.
Be open minded about the breadth of roles out there. A dream sector is different to a dream job. It is OK if something is a hobby but you don't get the job. Regardless of career path, use your strengths in your role and you can enjoy the work you do.
If you are feeling lost or unsure on your next steps or you want a critical eye to review your applications.
I can help with queries about higher education or heritage sectors in particular but my job actually means I have a good overview of a wide range of career paths (its my job). I have also worked in financial services and NHS.
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