My name is Carmel and I’m a Career Consultant working within the Careers, Employability and Skills team here at Queen’s.
A Career Consultant provides impartial and confidential career information, advice and guidance
We do this through 30 minute one-to-one career consultations.
These can be done either online or face-to-face in the new One Elmwood Student Centre.
There is a Career Consultant aligned to each school in the university, so you’ll often see us out and about in your classes,
supporting the delivery of careers and employability within the curriculum.
The career consultation is perhaps very different from what you have previously experienced within the school system, as you take a more active role in the process.
You will be able to consider your next step and put a plan in place to move forward.
There are many benefits to engaging with a Career Consultant, regardless if you know
exactly what you want to do, have absolutely no idea what you want to do, or maybe somewhere in between.
Making a career decision can often be overwhelming and confusing.
The best part of my job is that every day is different.
It aligns with my personal values of helping and supporting others
and making a positive contribution to those around me.
The worst part of my job is seeing students that are overwhelmed and anxious about their career prospects, while the best part is supporting those students to recognise their own potential, to build their confidence and to reach their aspirations.
As it’s time to choose modules for next year, you can use this time to think strategically about what you want to gain over the time you have remaining at University. While it might be tempting to find the module that best suits your train timetable, try to think about what skills you want to leave Queen’s with. This is not the time for comfort zone thinking, what will your future self need to know?
One of our Careers Consultants, Emma Lennox, spoke with some final year students from the School of Arts, English and Languages at Queen’s, and uncovered some insights about things they wish they had known earlier in their degree.
‘A degree is great but it just tells an employer you’re a good academic. You want to work in TV? Marketing? Creative Arts? Teaching? Public health? Get experience, start in first year and build that portfolio of evidence. Don’t tell an employer you’re passionate, show them. Don’t know where to start getting experience? Ask your Careers Consultant, you can find them on MyFuture. I wish I had more experience going into the work place now.’
Final Year Creative Writing Student
Build your understanding of the sector you want to work in
‘I think my big ideal expectation when I first started was I was maybe going to finish my study and go straight into working for a studio, I didn’t really understand just quite how complicated the industry is and how difficult it can be to get secure work. And I didn’t realise how much I still had to learn.’
Final Year Film Student
Emma’s Advice: “It can also be useful to think about freelancing, self-employment and entrepreneurship as part of your career planning. The industries that Arts graduates tend to want to work in, are often characterised by short-term contract work rather than permanent graduate roles or graduate schemes.
According to the 2023 What do graduates do? report, Arts graduates are three times more likely to be working in freelance or self-employed roles than graduates from other areas. The report also shows that entrepreneurial creative arts graduates are more likely to be working in creative sectors aligned to their subject. If you are planning to pursue a career that uses your subject knowledge, you may need to consider freelancing or self-employment/ entrepreneurship as possible options and to prepare for what that might mean.
Arts, English and Languages students have the option of taking the Creative Enterprise module in second year which takes you through the process of creating, running and growing a creative company. Students in other years can find some information on the Future Ready Skills Course and help available from SU Enterprise.”
Find your people outside of your course.
‘I spent all my time with people from my course and only discovered the programmes with Enterprise SU in final year. Those are my kind of people, I could have been around entrepreneurs and innovators for three years instead of one. I have a lot of catching up to do.’
Final Year Drama Student
‘One of the best things I did at Queen’s was get involved with women’s sport. I feel I’ve made a real difference there and can use all those skills in the recruitment process. I just wished I’d got involved earlier and looked at other societies as well.’
Final Year English Student
Emma’s Advice: “The Future Ready Award website is a useful place to find extra-curricular opportunities that will enable you to meet other people and develop useful skills.”
You are responsible for you.
‘In school we had a careers class every fortnight and I thought that would be the same at uni. I know now that it was up to me to chase down opportunities and be proactive. There’s so much going on, I need another year to catch up with what I missed first time round!’
Final Year Broadcast Production Student
Leverage the Careers service.
‘I wish I’d used MyFuture and the Careers website more, I’m only discovering internships and programmes and employers now that I’m too late to do. And some stuff is only for first and second years. I could have been going to events and building up contacts for three years instead of the last six months.’
Final Year Film Student
Open your emails.
‘I spoke to a careers consultant who mentioned a programme and I said I’d never heard of it. They asked if I’d opened my emails because it had been sent to me. Well that was all kinds of awkward. Lesson learned, I’m accessing all the support now for recent graduates!’
Final year English and Spanish Student
Emma’s Advice: “You can access careers support through MyFuture, the careers website and careers information through the Future-Ready Skills Course.
“All Arts, English and Languages students now have access to the Future-Ready Skills Course on Canvas (AEL4001). In that course you’ll find lots of useful information including a full section on Career Management Skills which will help you to think about your future plans and the gaps that you might have. And it’s tailored specifically to Arts, English and Languages students.
The course is completely optional and non-credit bearing, but you can get a certificate at graduation if you complete it in full.”
Graduate Outcomes Survey 2017/18 points to a positive link between engagement with the Careers Service at Queen’s and graduate prospects.
Engagement with the Careers, Employability and Skills Service at Queen’s is more likely to improve a student’s graduate job prospects. According to published data from the Graduate Outcomes Survey 2017/18, there is a positive correlation between engagement with the Careers Service at Queen’s and graduate employment.
Among the key findings determined from analysis of the survey results are that attending Careers events at Queen’s gives you a better chance of getting a graduate job. Students from the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (AHSS) in particular, significantly increased their chances of securing a graduate job if they attended Careers events. Students from the School of Arts, English and Languages and the School Of History, Anthropology, Philosophy And Politics are also more likely to be in a graduate role after graduation if they have successfully completed Queen’s Degree Plus employability award.
Dr Duncan Berryman, Destinations and Statistics Assistant at Queen’s Careers, Employability and Skills who analysed the data said: “We found that a student’s graduate prospects improved considerably, the more Careers events they attended. Around 65% of students who attended between one and four Careers events were in graduate employment after graduating. That figure rose to 76% if a student attended over 15 Careers events during their time at Queens.”
For AHSS students, graduate employment rates rose to 79% if a student attended between 15 and 19 Careers events – a marked increase in the Faculty total graduate employability rate. Students from the AHSS Faculty were also able to boost their chances of gaining graduate employment by accessing one-to-one appointments with Consultants at Queen’s Careers Service and by achieving Degree Plus.
“Graduates from both the School of Arts, English, and Languages and from the School of History, Anthropology, Politics, and Philosophy who achieved Degree Plus were significantly more likely to secure a graduate job,” said Dr Berryman.
Eimear Gallagher, Business Operations Manager at Queen’s Careers, Employability and Skills said: “The Degree Plus Award offers our students the opportunity to develop their employability, skills and experience and enables them to differentiate themselves from their peers in competitive graduate job application processes. The positive link between students with Degree Plus and graduate employment is testament to the personal initiative, effort, time management skills and resilience required to achieve the award activities alongside a degree.”
She added: “As a service, we’re committed to supporting our students and graduates to access the guidance and support they need to develop their employability. To see that that support and guidance is having a real, tangible impact on student employability is rewarding. We are proud to provide our graduates with the tools they need to enjoy a positive start to their careers.”
Two types of consultations are available – 30 minutes to discuss any aspect of your career management or 15 minutes to receive feedback on your CV or LinkedIn profile.
The aim of these consultations is to support you so that you can successfully manage your own career. As a result, students and graduates are limited to no more than 5 appointments per academic year. Most people use only 1 or 2 appointments in any year.
When should I start thinking about career management? It’s important to focus on your studies but the application processes for graduate schemes and taught postgraduate study start to open in the September/October of your final year. Many employers hire graduates that they already know through placements or internships, so it pays to start career planning sooner.
Am I on the wrong course? Many students have doubts about their subject choice at various times throughout their time at University. It’s important to be proactive in handling these doubts. Don’t just give up and stop attending! Targetjobs have some useful advice to help you understand the root of the issue and what to do next. Book an appointment with a Careers Consultant to discuss career options related to different subject areas and speak to your Personal Tutor (if applicable) or Adviser of Studies if you are considering changing to a different course.
To turn this into a shortlist of career options, it’s important to consider what’s important to you in a career e.g. your motivations, the skills you enjoy using and where in the world you want to live.
Gain further insight into different roles and companies by attending Careers events.
How do I stand out from the crowd? – Get some international experience – read our Study / Work Abroad pages – Get some work/volunteering experience – see Careers Events – Gain accreditation for engaging in employability-enhancing activities through DegreePlus
I want to start my own business – QUBSU provides support to Queen’s entrepreneurial students and recent graduates – Opportunities for developing entrepreneurial skills can be found on the DegreePlus website
Student blogger Dara O’Donnell from our MEDIA programme offers a crash course on MyFuture and her top tips for getting the most from Queen’s careers portal.
MyFuture is your very own online careers portal, which enables employers to advertise specific job opportunities, placements and internships relevant to you throughout your time at Queen’s. This platform promotes vacancies both on and off-campus, as well as advertising positions that are located further afield. This means you have access to life-changing opportunities abroad too.
The virtual presence and function of MyFuture provides you with invaluable access to work experience, careers advice and systems that can all help pave the way to you landing that dream career in the future. You simply use you Queen’s student ID to log in and get started!
Here are five ways to best utilise the platform:
You can upload and tailor your CV
The first step to landing your dream role through MyFuture is by creating your own profile, adding a charming personal statement, past employment history and any experience and skills that you possess that will make you a promising candidate. Noting the degree you are studying when signing up to the platform will enable the system to specify job opportunities that directly relate to your desired career. This is helpful in saving time scrolling through boundless unsuitable posts you would on regular job-seeking sites! Additionally, you can attach your own personal and professional CV to your profile, providing employers with further insight to your individual history and aspirations. Make sure you proofread your profile and CV or, alternatively utilise a MyFuture shortcut to the VMock CV Checker, located on the website’s main menu page, ensuring there are no silly mistakes that could stand between you and your desired future career.
2. You can find events relevant to you
MyFuture will help you gain further understanding of different pathways you can take to achieve your individual career goals. This is through providing a constantly updated calendar of different careers fairs and employer events that are taking place on and off- campus, as well as this, providing various links to upcoming careers workshops that you can attend. Being pro-active and attending these events will allow you to explore your options during your studies and may open your eyes to possible opportunities abroad that could enhance your employability skills and ultimately may transform your mindset on your future career journey.
3. You can practicse your interview skills.
By joining MyFuture you will have already shown a desire to begin your career journey and start finessing your future employability. Why not take this a step further and make use of the information resources and mock video interviews available on MyFuture? There are multiple practise interviews to take, ranging from general interview questions to graphic design and business management interview scenarios. Unlock your potential and learn how to best flex your skills in an interview, giving you a one up on your competition!
4. You can book a Careers Consultation.
Within MyFuture there is an option to book a one-to-one careers appointment with one of Queen’s own consultants, to help guide you in successfully managing your own future career path. During the pandemic, these meetings are being offered virtually through video call. If you are feeling lost, like many students often do, do not be afraid to ask for advice and guidance when it is free to you! This is an invaluable service offered to us by the University’s Careers Department and should be taken advantage of.
5. You’ll automatically be kept informed
Regular emails and job alerts will allow you to stay up to date on the opportunities that are available on MyFuture. Make sure to download the MyFuture mobile app so you have it readily accessible at all times to browse potential future careers, whether that be while passing the time on your daily commute or filling the minutes in between classes.
Lastly, it’s important to stay positive and remain optimistic in working towards your future career goals, especially throughout this unimaginable tough period for everyone. MyFuture is a reassuring platform for students and graduates alike and is here to help us progress and succeed. As a nearing graduate myself, now more than ever, the future seems daunting, however, being equipped with a system such as MyFuture, I feel confident and motivated in taking the steps towards my future career, while being supported by Careers at Queens through access to a system such as MyFuture.
From expert guidance to building your CV, our Careers Consultant Mary McLaughlin explains how to start planning your career at Queen’s – whatever your study stage.
1.Make an appointment with a Careers Consultant
The Careers Consultants are available to meet with you in a one-one appointment to help you navigate the job search for part-time and on-campus jobs as well as potential summer internships and placements related to your area of study. The Consultants are normally located in the Student Guidance Centre and are currently conducting appointments online. Make an appointment via MyFuture.
2. Log into MyFuture
MyFuture is the University’s online careers management system. In the system you will find on-campus jobs as well as other part-time student jobs, summer internships and placements, and full-time positions for graduates. This is a great place for you to start your search for an on-campus or part-time job as well as to find opportunities to go abroad and events to connect with local employers. You will also use MyFuture to book one-one meetings with Careers Consultants. Use your student ID to log in.
3. Fit job experience around your studies
As you consider taking on a part-time job or getting involved in extracurricular activities, it’s important to make sure that you save plenty of your time for studying and all of the reading that many of your classes will require. This is particularly important in the first semester, when you are adjusting to University life and courses. The University policy for on-campus jobs allows for working only 15 hours per week during term-time to allow you enough time to focus on your studies. Search jobs on campus.
4. Access free online career planning tools and resources
Queen’s Careers website has a wealth of information for those of you searching for a job whether that be part-time, a placement, or a graduate position. Get tips on where to search for jobs, how to write a great CV and cover letter, and how to prepare for an interviews. Also, the website has information on international opportunities and programming with employers from Belfast and beyond! Visit the Careers website.
5. Make your extracurricular activities count
Many of you will work part-time jobs, volunteer, or take part in a student society or progamme offered by Careers, Employability and Skills during your time as a student. You can gain accreditation for completing extracurricular work-related learning alongside your degree through DegreePlus. The certification helps you to articulate your development and achievements to others, including potential future employers. You’ll also receive a certificate at graduation. Discover DegreePlus
For more information or to discover how Queen’s Careers Team can help you plan your future, get in touch.