Christine is a careers officer at the University of the Arts London. She previously worked as a career development coordinator at the University for the Creative Arts and has also spent time teaching art. Christine studied fine art at undergraduate and postgraduate level.
I found my current job through the University of the Arts' website. I'd wanted to work here for some time, having read an article about the careers department in Phoenix, and then from following developments via the website. As a fine artist, I wanted a job that was relevant to my professional practice and that would also keep me up to date with industry news. Working in careers means I can do this, and I can also use my experience to help current students and graduates research into their creative careers.
My job involves researching and updating information within the Careers Centre and on the website, publicising employment and other creative opportunities, designing promotional materials, assisting clients to locate careers information, and administrative tasks such as data input, photocopying, booking appointments and answering the telephone. I've found many skills gained from my study useful in this role, such as researching contacts and information, marketing events and services, creative problem-solving, and design/art skills. I can also empathise with students and graduates as I know what it's like to look for ways of supporting one's creative practice after leaving art school.
I enjoy all parts of my job, especially the variety of tasks and working within a team of like-minded people. The less enjoyable aspects are the budgetary constraints, which restrict team potential, and dealing with employers who misinterpret our work placement policy can be frustrating.
In terms of career development, at the moment I'm happy to carry on contributing to resources and publications within a specialist arts university. I'm currently training to check CVs and I'm also interested in the guidance side, so I'm looking into perhaps doing a qualification to further this. Longer term, I'm interested in doing a PhD, within either a careers or fine art context.
My tips for securing a position as a careers information officer are to research where you want to work and keep your eyes peeled for vacancies. It also helps to show a real interest in the subject area you're working with and keep up to date with the latest developments in careers education by following news stories and industry journals. Attending relevant courses and conferences will also show employers that you have a genuine interest in career development, as well as giving you the opportunity to make new contacts in the field.
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