Victoria Wade
Senior Careers Consultant at UCL and St George's

Victoria Wade
Senior Careers Consultant at UCL and St George's

I’ve worked as a careers consultant at The Careers Group for three and a half years. Prior to that, I worked as an Associate Director at a market research organisation and have also worked in facilities management and the charity sector.

I currently work three days a week with graduates from all disciplines at UCL and two days a week with medics and healthcare professionals at St George’s medical school. I worked at SOAS when I first joined so have certainly experienced a variety of clients and sectors since I have been at The Careers Group!

What do you think are the skills and traits that someone wanting to become a careers consultant needs to have?

One of the key traits is to be people focused. I reckon over 80% of my work is spent with other people, whether they are clients, team members, employers or academics so it is not a job for someone who likes to spend a lot of time alone!

There is a lot of project work both internally and across the colleges so you need to be organised and be an effective communicator. Good communication is also essential in order to effectively facilitate workshops and establish good links with academics and other professionals in the HE environment.

When you are working with clients, particularly during guidance sessions, it is really important to be empathetic and a good listener. You should also be interested in finding out about different job sectors as you need to keep our knowledge up to date and relevant for clients.

Although we work a lot in teams, you will be self managing much of your work and deadlines. You have to feel comfortable delivering talks and workshops to lots of people so a level of confidence is a must.

What has been the biggest learning curve for you?

Having the confidence to be able to respond to the range of different clients we work with. Not just the life stage they are at and the range of sectors they may be interested in but also the differing needs and emotions they bring to the sessions. You never know who will walk through the door or what is bringing them there so you have to be prepared for anything!

Can you describe the environment of a careers service, and the colleagues that you work with?

UCL Careers is a large service, with different teams working alongside the careers consultants. The Employer Engagement staff work with employers on a range of initiatives such as fairs, employer talks and placements for students and graduates. The Information Officers disseminate careers information both online and offline and we also have a Communications Manager who does all of our marketing. We frequently work on joint initiatives across the teams and it is a very collaborative atmosphere. UCL Careers is a sociable and buzzy place to work and everyone is very supportive.

At St George’s, I am a career department of one! Therefore a lot of my collaborations are with academics and course administrators. I enjoy having the opportunity to spend part of my week working closely with non-Careers based staff as it adds variety and gives me a more in-depth knowledge of the higher education environment.

What do you look forward to in your career with The Careers Group?

Variety! There are lots of opportunities to work with different clients, in different colleges and undertake some of the commercial work we do. There are always interesting projects you can get involved with. I recently worked on a project developing the first employability MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) with staff across The Careers Group and another project working with different team members at UCL Careers to create a new marketing campaign.

The work at The Careers Group is constantly engaging, challenging and collaborative.

 

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