Could careers information work be for you?

careers serviceTo celebrate my week tweeting for Voices for the Library @VoicesLibrary starting 3rd June, and for the benefit of any new readers I thought i’d tell you a little bit more about me and the role of Information Staff in Higher Education Careers Services.

I started out as a fairly traditional librarian, work experience in public libraries (working in the stacks – amazing!) and jobs in FE college libraries.  I never guessed that a job working at the University Careers Service would keep me there for 15 years and still going!

My job title is information manager but I could be called Information Officer, Resource Centre Manager or any number of other titles to describe a very similar role.   In my team there are 2 other grades –  Information officer and Information assistant.

Because Careers is not usually part of the Library staffing structure the same qualification and grading structures do not always apply. Careers Information Managers often have Library and Information qualifications but its not always an “essential” on the job description. However I would say that in recent years it seems to have been attracting more qualified information professionals (possibly due to the drop in opportunities in other sectors)

So what does the job involve?

All University Careers services are different and the roles vary widely, you could be involved in:

  • Managing the website
  • Researching and writing for publication and the web
  • Managing a physical library or resource centre
  • Managing a team of staff
  • Diagnostic questioning to deliver information and advice to clients
  • Booking appointments
  • Managing and monitoring appointment schedules and availability
  • Training staff
  • Delivering user education / library tours to students, staff and visitors to the university.
  • Delivering 1-1 CV and application advice in person or by email.
  • The collection of the DLHE statistics for the university.
  • Managing a vacancy and events database
  • Marketing, including outreach
  • Managing social media accounts

What skills / attributes do you need?

  • You need to be reasonably socially motivated.
    Not only will you be doing a lot of talking to students, but Information staff are usually open access and fair game for anyone to chat to. A task centred person who needs peace and quiet and no distractions may find it hard.
  • You need to be a multitasker, one minute you could be editing a website then a student asks a question and you swap into information and advice mode.
  • You need to be a sponge –  absorb information and release it when needed.
  • Be interested in everything. You need to develop a really broad knowledge of careers resources so that you can find information on request.  Specialist information is a bonus!

So why am I still here?

The pace of change.
You would think it would be the same patterns every year and it would get dull and repetitive. NOT SO.

  • The students change all the time and even our regulars move on and progress.
  • Trends in recruitment and the information and advice around them are always changing and we need to be on the ball.
  • There are always new projects to get involved in or learn about.
  • Technology, technology, technology. You think you have it nailed, and then ….
  • This year we are moving to a new location on campus which is exciting and scary!

Energy

  • It’s a proactive environment – if you are interested in being involved in something, people are usually really happy to have extra help.  Of course you can’t just run around doing what you want, but a can do attitude is really appreciated.
  • The people here are passionate about their jobs, and doing the right thing for our clients.  Ask for an idea and you will get a 1000, its narrowing it down that can be hard.

For more information about Careers Information staff roles check out the occupational profile on the Prospects website ( It will most likely have been researched and written by a member of information staff at a University somewhere in the UK)

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2 thoughts on “Could careers information work be for you?

  1. Pingback: Want to move sectors? | Formal shade of grey

  2. Pingback: Careers Information Manager – Sarah Mallen | ManchesterNLPN

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