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How your careers service can help your job search

If you're looking for help with career planning or finding a job, your university careers service can provide the advice and information you need.

Your university careers service can provide you with quality careers guidance and information to help you at every stage of your career planning, whether it's choosing potential careers, finding job vacancies, writing a CV or preparing for a job interview.

You can expect a range of services (depending on the size of the university/service) including:

  • one-to-one advice in person: the traditional advisory session where you meet a careers adviser for a quick query or longer consultation.
  • e-guidance: advisers will answer your questions via e-mail or website.
  • seminars, eg on interviews or CV preparation.
  • events, eg graduate recruitment fairs, on-campus employer presentations.
  • careers service website: you can find links to career service websites through our Careers advice homepage.
  • newsletters (print or email).
  • careers library, information room or resource centre for books, leaflets, and multimedia information. Some services also produce their own publications.
  • help with finding work experience placements.
  • job vacancy bulletins.

University careers services usually have strong links with employers, particularly in their local area, and promote suitable vacancies to students. These could be part-time jobs, work experience placements or permanent graduate positions.

Many careers services have also formed partnerships with academics and employers to develop careers education programmes that help students to develop career management skills (eg decision making) and employability skills (eg teamwork). Many of these programmes now carry accreditation, which is a useful addition to your CV.

Help! I don't know what job I want to do

If you're not sure which career path you want to pursue, you're not alone. Some students visit their careers service certain that they want to work in a particular sector; many more are just starting out and are looking for direction. Careers advisers can't tell you what to do, but they will help you to understand your strengths and tell you a bit about a range of career areas which might suit you and help you to form your action plan.

Careers advice after you leave university

You can still get help from university careers services after you graduate. In Ireland, careers services provide at least basic advice and guidance services to recent graduates (NOT current students) of other HE institutions, as long as the institution's own students/graduates receive priority.

Developments in third level careers advice

Careers services have been quick to respond to the changing face of graduate recruitment. It's become increasingly important for graduates to build a portfolio of skills so that they can clearly demonstrate that they have the potential to meet employers' needs. Your careers service will help you find ways to both recognise the skills you already possess and develop new skills. Careers advisers also work closely with work experience placement offices to help ensure that you learn from structured experience.

Careers advisers keep up to date with labour market information and the needs of employers, students and graduates. They survey graduates from their university each year to gather information on their 'first destinations' which provides valuable information on the jobs that graduates go on to do. Their professional association, the Association of Higher Education Careers Services (AHECS), is often consulted by government agencies and the media about trends in graduate recruitment.

Get involved early

If you're in first year, it's a great time to get involved in planning your career path ahead. One of your top priorities should be getting involved, as recruiters and emloyers are looking for students who think ahead and show the necessary determination. Getting involved in clubs and societies and volunteering are some great ways of getting involved and gaining the sort of experience that will make a difference on your CV.

In the below YouTube podcast, David Foster, Head of the Career Development Centre at University College Dublin talks about the benefits of getting engaged with Univeristy life and your career prospects while still in First Year.