Laura graduated from with a BA in Sociology and then completed a PGDip in Guidance/Qualification in Careers Guidance. She currently works as a trainee careers consultant at the University of Leeds
After graduating from Durham University, I planned to take a gap year and so worked as an administrator at a share registrar before travelling for six months.
Upon my return, I still had little idea of what I wanted to do, but knew I wanted to work with people. I went to see an adult careers adviser who informed me of a variety of options including the role that he did. I looked into training as a careers adviser in more detail and applied to undertake the postgraduate diploma in guidance at the University of Huddersfield.
This was a full-time course which included two days of study and two days of work placement a week. After completing my course I carried on volunteering for my placement school, as well as other local schools and sixth forms in the area. I helped out with careers events, mock interviews, enterprise days and anything else I could get my hands on.
I was then offered a job as an adult careers adviser with Nextstep, which I did for three months before applying for my current job. The role as an adult adviser was extremely beneficial as it gave me experience of dealing with a range of clients, managing my own caseload and working to targets evidencing organisational skills and the ability to work under pressure.
The theoretical knowledge that I gained as a sociology student helps as a background to my current job. The knowledge of labour market information and how different social groups are affected by patterns of employment was particularly relevant. It was useful in discussing how I have dealt with clients in my interview for this role. The grounding in social research methods was also useful as I was able to analyse graduate destination statistics which again was required for the recruitment process.
I enjoy the variety of my job; no day is ever the same and this constantly keeps me interested. The majority of my role is dealing with people and this can be immensely rewarding and means that you are constantly coming across new issues and knowledge; this sense of development is something I really value.
Time management can be a battle, and organisation is key in this role as is the ability to be a multi-tasker as I often have several projects running at once. Students on the whole are a lovely group of people to work with, although you can get the odd ones who require patience in order to bring them round to a realistic way of thinking about their options.
I would tell other students and graduates who would like to get into this career to get involved with as much volunteering as you can while you are university. Working in advice or any people-facing role would be an advantage, particularly within higher education. Postgraduate study (QCG) is also really helpful in allowing you to get more focused experience and enhancing your skills.
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