Case study

Information adviser — Kate Austin

Kate enjoys providing information and advice to students and graduates looking for work or further study opportunities. Find out more about her varied role and the skills you need to succeed

How did you get your job as an information adviser?

After graduating with a combined honours degree in history and English linguistics from Newcastle University, I started working as an information assistant for the university's careers service. In 2016 I moved into the role of information adviser with the same service.

What's a typical day like as a careers information adviser?

I speak with students and graduates on a one-to-one basis, providing information and advice on a variety of topics. This could be anything from specialist application advice, to interview preparation or answering queries about finding jobs and work experience in specific sectors or different countries.

As part of the information team, I help research, create and develop all of the careers information and online resources, so I regularly work on the careers service website. Each information adviser manages their own webpages and occupational areas.

I also get involved in other work and projects, for example developing careers information resources for specific courses, coordinating outreach events and speaking to employers about the skills and experience they look for when recruiting.

What do you enjoy most about being a careers information adviser?

I enjoy speaking to the variety of students and graduates that come from all over the world to study at Newcastle University and use our careers service. It's also satisfying to know that you've helped someone to get the job or on to the course they wanted.

What are the challenges?

At the start of term, when the graduate recruitment cycle begins, we get extremely busy. Collectively, the information, advice and guidance team speak on a one-to-one basis with more than 120 students and graduates a day. At that time of year there are also events and workshops to run, so it can feel like you are constantly on the go.

In what way is your degree relevant?

Completing a combined degree in two very different disciplines meant I had to build up a broad knowledge across diverse subjects. Being able to do this has helped in my current role as I advise on a variety of topics. One moment I might be advising someone on their medical school interview, the next I'm helping someone to look for engineering jobs in Australia.

My degree involved a lot of research and written work - these skills are beneficial when I'm researching and creating content for the website. I need to know how and where to search for accurate and up-to-date information and then be able turn that information into content which is suitable for the website.

How has your role developed and what are your career ambitions?

My role has developed by getting involved in different projects and gaining responsibility for specific areas of work. For example, I'm currently involved in the careers service's internationalisation working group.

I enjoy my role and hope to continue to work in employability in higher education

What are your tips for others wanting to get into careers information?

I would recommend gaining experience of working in an advice setting, or in employability in higher education. If you're still at university, you could get in touch with your own careers service and see if they have any opportunities to work or shadow with them.

As developing and creating content for the website is an important part of the role, I'd suggest developing your research and written skills, as well as gaining some experience of writing or editing web content.

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