The University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NZ, T +44 (0)1227 764000
The University of Kent Careers Network
What is the Careers Network?
It is a way of helping current Kent students (and recent graduates) gain an insight into careers through contact with alumni - past graduates of the University.
Why have a Careers Network?
While there is considerable information on careers and employers available in print and on the web, much of it still leaves the question, "Yes, but what is this job really like?". The best way to find the answer to this question is to talk to somebody actually doing the sort of work that you are interested in - and, if that person has a similar educational background to you, so much the better.
Who is in the Careers Network?
Over 1200 Kent graduates, in all kinds of subjects and working in a whole range of career areas, in the UK and overseas.
Who can use the Careers Network?
Usage is restricted to present or past students of the University. Most users are current students or recent graduates. If you are a student or graduate at a university other than Kent, check whether your own university runs a similar scheme or see our Creative Job-Hunting pages.
What sort of advice can I get from these graduates through the Careers Network?
We asked graduates if they were willing to help students in three different ways:
- Informational interviews - where student and graduate meet informally to talk about the graduate's work, how they got their start in that field and how their career has developed since then - and where the graduate can pass on advice to the student hoping to follow in their footsteps.
- Advice by letter/phone/email
- Work-shadowing. This involves spending a day (sometimes longer) following and observing the graduate as they go about their day-to-day work. Only a minority of graduates in the Network are able to offer this, but it is the ideal way to gain an understanding of their work.
When should I make use of the Careers Network?
Not too early in your career planning! Alumni do not want you to spend their time with them asking simple questions that could have been answered through reading careers information booklets or through careers websites such as Prospects. So do some preliminary research first (see our pages on Choosing a Career or What Can I do with my Degree in ? for starters) and then you will be able to make much more productive use of your contacts with graduates.
How do I go about using the Careers Network?
You will need to visit the Careers Information Room and look for the small, plain green files among the larger green-and-yellow files in the "Occupations " area (ask at the Reception Desk if you need help). Each of these files contains information on alumni in a different career field, or group of careers, who can help to advise on these careers through the Network. As you will see from the example below, the details given for each graduate are intentionally brief:
- Degree subject and year of graduation
- The career area(s) on which they can advise
- Their geographical location
- Their employer, job title and (where available) a short job description
A L U M N I C A R E E R S N E T W O R K E X A M P L E E N T R Y April 2009
|ADVICE AREAS:||FE TEACHING; TEACHER TRAINING; TEFL|
|JOB TITLE:||PROGRAMME CO-ORDINATOR|
|JOB DESCRIPTION:||HEAD OF LANGUAGES AND LANGUAGE STUDIES PROGRAMME IN PROFESSIONAL AND COMMUNITY EDUCATION, MAINLY TEACHER TRAINING FOR LINGUISTS INTENDING TO WORK IN ADULT, FURTHER OR COMMUNITY EDUCATION, IN UK OR ABROAD. HAS EXPERIENCE OF TEACHING GERMAN AND FRENCH IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS AND OF TEACHING ENGLISH AS A FOREIGN LANGUAGE.|
|THIS GRADUATE OFFERS:|
|ADVICE BY LETTER/PHONE/EMAIL?||YES|
If, on the basis of the details given, you would like to make contact with any of these graduates, please fill out one of the yellow forms which you will find at the back of each file and hand it in at the Reception Desk. The name of that graduate, and their contact details, can then be collected from the desk - normally on the following day. It is then up to you to make contact with the graduate, and to pay any travel costs that may be involved, but all alumni volunteers in the Network will be happy to help you as far as their circumstances and work commitments permit.
Along with the contact details you will be sent an information sheet on "Informational Interviewing", giving more advice on how to approach alumni for careers advice and suggesting questions which it may be useful for you to ask. Our pages on Creative Job-Hunting may also be helpful.
If you have any other questions about the Careers Network please ask at the Reception Desk or email J.A.Keaveney@kent.ac.uk
If you would like to join the Careers Network see the MS Word Document here. If you have any questions about it, please contact Jenny Keaveney, email J.A.Keaveney@kent.ac.uk or fill in the web form at http://www.kent.ac.uk/ces/contact/alumniregistration.html