Four years working as Director of Careers at City University London has given me the opportunity to view the operation of a careers service through the eyes of an ex-recruiter.  I understand the constraints that a careers service has to operate under and the changing nature of the university landscape, and I have experience of developing an Employability Strategy which has broadened the scope of the careers service offering and increased the size of the team at City by 300%.

I have practical experience of delivering careers interventions, both at Logica and more recently at City. I understand the importance of credibility for careers services, and how employer contact can help to build that. I’ve witnessed, firsthand, the impact that increased fees have had on student expectations, and the demands that are being placed on the careers service as a result.

This understanding, combined with my experience of campus recruitment at Logica, has helped me to develop ideas that will allow careers services to evolve to meet the new challenges they face.

I work with careers services to help them to (click on each section for more details):

Develop credibility with university senior management.

  • How do you demonstrate return on institutional investment?
  • What should your Employability Strategy say – and why should you own it?
  • How can you get employability into the curriculum?
  • Which KPIs should you use to measure service effectiveness, and which should you avoid?
  • Making the most of your USP: your unique view of the student experience.

Build their profile with students.

  • How can you encourage first years to visit you in the first term?
  • How do you help students understand that the careers service is more than just a place to get their cv checked?
  • What makes students focus on the “right” extracurricular activities – and when they do get involved, what makes them reflect?
  • How can you work with the Student Union?

Understand employers’ priorities and constraints, and showcase their students to graduate recruiters.

  • How do recruiters decide which campuses to target, and how do they measure success?
  • What happens when resources limit their activities?
  • What constitutes a good careers service from an employer’s perspective?
  • What questions should you ask an employer the first time you meet them?
  • How can you encourage employers to visit your campus by showing them how your service can help them to engage?
  • What makes your degree courses appealing to employers, and how can you help your students to be distinctive?

Work in partnership with other teams around the campus.

  • How can you build mutually beneficial relationships with other teams including Marketing, Student Recruitment, Enterprise and Alumni Services?
  • How can you collaborate with academics – can you turn them from sceptics into advocates?
  • Why do divisions exist between internal teams, and how can you overcome them?

Harness the power of data.

  • How can you collect, analyse and articulate good management information?
  • How can you harness the power of the DLHE survey, and use it to show where your service adds value?
  • Can you measure the ways that students are engaging with your services?
  • Do you know which of your interventions really help students to get that all important graduate job?