Why International, Indian Students Should Access Careers Services At UK Universities

Why International, Indian Students Should Access Careers Services At UK Universities

Many students wonder where their studies will take them and UK universities have recognised the importance of employability in their strategies and in the role of career services.

Helen SmithUpdated: Monday, October 23, 2023, 04:16 PM IST
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Helen Smith |

Starting a higher education journey at a UK university is a thrilling yet daunting adventure sometimes. Many students wonder where their studies will take them and UK universities have recognised the importance of employability in their strategies and in the role of career services. 

University career services work directly with students, and in partnership with academic departments, helping students to make career choices that transcend their degree programme. They encourage students to reflect on their values, skills, and interests, enabling them to explore a variety of career options before deciding which path to pursue. It supports students to develop employability skills and graduate attributes, encouraging self-awareness on the skills developed at every stage and in every aspect of their academic journey and extracurricular lives.

Students can get exposed to professional networks, gain insights 

Universities in the UK extend their reach by collaborating with employers globally to ensure that the skills and attributes being developed by students align with the expectations of the worldwide graduate job market. University careers services source and advertise part-time jobs, internships, placements, and graduate job opportunities to their students on behalf of a huge range of employers. Students can also develop their professional networks and gain insights into potential employers, their opportunities and skills requirements, by attending on-campus and online events, such as career fairs and employer networking events. 

Connecting with alum

Careers services facilitate professional mentoring programmes enabling students to gain perspectives into various professions, for example by connecting with experienced alumni. Receiving practical advice and insider insights from professionals in their desired fields significantly enhances students' confidence, setting them apart in the competitive job market. Students are also provided with data, insights and graduate case studies which can highlight potential graduate careers, job roles and target employers. 

From CV to interviews, role of career services 

One of the key roles for university career services is to help students prepare for the graduate job application process. They provide a wealth of information, advice and specialist guidance on crafting the perfect CV and application, to mastering online tests, assessment centres and interviews. Students can access personalised guidance and a wealth of skills workshops and presentations involving graduate employers, to enhance their success.

The support offered by UK university careers services doesn't end at graduation. It paves way for long-term success. Graduates can usually continue to access online resources, job listings, events, and appointments, ensuring a seamless transition into the professional realm. Social media networks dedicated to graduate career support keep alumni informed about a wide range of job vacancies and relevant events.

Study reveals benefits of career services 

A recent study, "How can you help me? Students' perspectives on careers services and employment," conducted in the UK by the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) in December 2022, highlights the pivotal role played by UK university careers services in shaping students' immediate employment prospects and their long-term employability. Yet only 43% of respondents reported utilising their university career services 'a lot' or 'a little.' 

The most common advice new graduates would give to new students is to engage with their university careers service sooner rather than later, even if they didn’t do this themselves. It’s often only in retrospect that the value of careers services are truly recognised!

All students, both domestic and international, studying in the UK are therefore encouraged to maximise the resources and expertise offered by their university careers services to fully develop their employability and career prospects.

The author is Head of Careers & Employability & Deputy Director of Academic Programmes, The University of Sheffield, UK.

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