Five reasons to choose a university with a great careers service

“Choosing a university that has strong careers services will increase your chances of landing that dream job”

Cheryl De Las Heras Oliver, LSBF Manchester Careers and Student Welfare Manager

Few decisions are as significant as your choice of university. You’re likely to consider lots of criteria before settling on your first choice – the quality of the course, the calibre of the academics, the lifestyle and cost of living in that area. You might not put careers guidance at the top of that list, but it’s a key element to consider if you want to make the most of your studies and find your dream job. Here are a few of the benefits of choosing to study at a university with a top-class careers service.

1. Direct support
The best careers website, such as the careers department, have the right people on hand to offer you individual, face-to-face guidance that can go a long way to helping you whittle down your career options and sell your skills effectively. That may mean CV workshops, or it could mean drop-in hours when you can speak to experienced staff and explore your possibilities. Whatever you need, speaking to someone in person can make it easier to ask questions and find what you’re looking for. The national careers service offers industry and degree-specific advice as well as an insight into job profiles – what a title means, what qualifications you will need and resources you should look into.

2. Better library resources
A university is nothing without a library; everyone knows that. But that doesn’t just apply to academic departments – library resources can also help you explore myriad job opportunities and establish a career plan. A careers service should have well stocked, regularly updated library resources so you can do your research and refine your knowledge through face-to-face and online support. Check out the 20 most spellbinding university libraries in the world for inspiration!

3. Alumni networks
If the best careers services help you to achieve your career aspirations, it stands to reason that the universities with the best careers guidance must have already produced some success stories. That means you can benefit from extensive alumni networks, allowing you to speak to ex-students who are now working in the field you want to explore. They can give you an honest view of what it’s like to work in that sector, advise you on how to get there and provide valuable networking opportunities. All of that contributes to helping you get on the career ladder. After graduation, you can sign up to receive email updates, or join the LinkedIn group associated with your university to stay connected.

4. Better application advice
University is all about developing the knowledge, skills and experience to succeed in the world of work. But even if you’re the perfect candidate, you can easily miss out if you can’t demonstrate that in the application process. Getting high-quality advice on everything from your applications to CV formatting and of course, the thorny issue of interview technique, is vital. If you opt for a university with a great careers service, they will be able to offer more detailed guidance through services such as mock interviews and CV workshops, ensuring you have the right tools to sell your skills to employers.

5. Employer partnerships
Top universities are always interesting for top employers. The best careers services are proactive in forming relationships with businesses that will have benefits for their students. These might range from careers fairs and presentations on getting into a specific industry, all the way to full-blown internship programmes, depending on the provider. However these partnerships play out, the reality will be greater access to employers for students, helping them develop the skills and experience that businesses are seeking.

There are a number of things to consider when applying for university, but the strength of a university’s careers service should be a high priority when thinking ahead. For graduates, these services are still available and can still prove useful in opening your eyes to new opportunities, potential contacts and relevant industry goings on.

Sonia Mazzotta, the author, works at the London School of Business and Finance.