Accessibility statement

Careers advice

Two mature students looking at leaflets from a stand in Careers.

Careers and Placements is open to all current and former students, and provides advice and information on employment and jobs. As a mature student you may feel that your career concerns differ to the rest of the student community. While the strict definition of a mature student is someone who is over 21 when they start their undergraduate course, mature students do not form a neat recognisable group in terms of age, gender, family circumstances/responsibilities, previous experiences and motivation.

Mature students come from all walks of life and our welcoming and trained staff give impartial and confidential careers guidance, focused on you. You may be able to draw on your additional life experience to demonstrate strengths and skills, greater maturity and confidence, all of which can be a great asset when you are looking for work.

Choosing what to do after university

We can help you think through your options after university. Use the career ideas section on our website, and book a chat with a careers consultant if you need more advice and guidance on how to get where you want to be.

  • Career ideas - how to start career planning, with links to self-assessment exercises to help you consider your values, priorities and personality
  • York Profiles and Mentors, and What do you actually do? podcast series - find out about what graduates actually do
  • York Strengths programme - identify your personal strengths to help you choose a job you will thrive in
  • Talk to us - drop-ins, careers appointments, and how to book.

Getting experience

You may have considerable work experience already, or you may have had little opportunity for work experience in the past. Either way, you may be able to try one or more of these during your time at university, depending on your personal circumstances:

All these will help you to develop skills and explore career possibilities, and demonstrate that you are familiar with the world of work in general.

These activities will also help you to start building a network that can be useful in looking for jobs. You may already have built a network through earlier employment or family life. Use professional networking sites like LinkedIn to develop your network, and look out for events each semester where you can make contact with people in career areas you are interested in.

Equality and diversity

Under the Equality Act 2010, you are protected from age discrimination in all aspects of your employment, including recruitment, employment terms and conditions, promotions and transfers, training and dismissals.

Applying for jobs

Job applications

Information about finding jobs, including graduate vacancies

Local job vacancies on Yorkshire Graduates and York Press websites

Information about applying, including CVs, cover letters, interviews. From these pages you can access CareerSet for feedback on your CV, Shortlist.Me to practise video interviewing, specific tips for mature students and career changers, and information about mock interview and careers advice appointments.


Think about how to communicate your skills to employers. As a mature student you are likely to have positive characteristics such as:

  • organisational skills, time management and the ability to prioritise 
  • experience of coping with pressure, and juggling many tasks 
  • the ability to cope with a heavy workload/commitments 
  • determination, commitment, tenacity, motivation 
  • experience of the working environment 
  • adaptability to change/flexibility 
  • self-discipline/self-reliance 
  • greater customer credibility 
  • experience of solving problems/using initiative 
  • people skills – interpersonal, communication.

Your application should include evidence to demonstrate your skills - it is often useful to use the CAR method, see below.

Using the CAR method

CAR (Context, Action, Result) is a good way to structure the examples you give:

Context: briefly set the scene for your example. ‘In my part-time work in a busy coffee shop…’

Action: explain what you did. ‘...I demonstrated leadership skills by mentoring new employees and assisting the supervisor during busy periods...;’

Result: explain the outcome. ‘Leading to me being promoted to supervisor where I managed four colleagues and dealt with any problems that occurred during my shift.’

Contact us

If you have any questions, please get in touch:

  • Talk to us - details of drop-ins and appointments
  • Message the Careers Information Team via Handshake - How to send us a message
  • Call in to Careers and Placements, Harewood Way, University of York, Heslington, York, YO10 5DD (next to the Spring Lane building on Campus West)