Career Fear? How to Navigate University Career Resources

Thinking about life after St Andrews is stressful. It’s scary not knowing where you’re going to end up, or even where you want to be after graduation. Luckily, the University offers some great resources to help you get through that stress and fear, but navigating those resources isn’t easy, especially if you’re not sure where to begin. If you’re ready to start thinking about work opportunities, whether that’s a graduate placement, a summer internship, or a part time job in St Andrews, here's some advice on how to get started:

The Career Centre

The Career Centre is the first place you’re told to look if you ask just about anyone affiliated with the University for advice about internships, part time work, or graduate placements. The Career Center can be super helpful, but it’s not the most user-friendly jumping off point, especially if you’re starting from scratch. To begin with, there is an overwhelming amount of information on the website, and if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for, it’s easy to get lost. It’s definitely worth spending a few hours sifting through the website so that you know what’s available and where to find it if you need it later on. I’ve done my share of digging, and have found these pages on the site really helpful:

  1. Career Destinations and Graduate Case Studies: on these pages, you can find information about what graduates of your school have done with their degrees. It's reassuring to see that people with my degree have actually made it in the real world! 

  2. The Application Process: here, you’ll find incredibly helpful tips and guidelines for writing CVs and cover letters, filling out application forms, and preparing for interviews. Having these documents and skills at the ready makes applying for jobs and internships far less stressful.

  3. Work Shadow Programme: check out this page to find out about work shadow placements offered within the University. I wish I had known about this program earlier – it’s a great opportunity to gain experience and connections.

  4. Graduate Attributes: the University defines 20 attributes that St Andrews students should develop by the time they graduate. This page outlines skills that boost your employability. You’ll be surprised how many you already have.

The Career Centre also offers one-on-one sessions with career advisors. These advisors are able to help you navigate the Career Centre, so if you’re feeling overwhelmed with information, consider booking an appointment for more guidance. While meeting with an advisor can be intimidating, you need to remember that it is their job to help you, no matter how confused, lost, or intimidated you might be. 

CareerConnect

CareerConnect is your online portal to Career Centre resources and job opportunities. Although it is a far more manageable platform than the Career Centre website, it still requires a bit of exploration and patience. On CareerConnect, you can book appointments, search for vacancies, and explore career opportunities. 

  1. Booking appointments: as mentioned above, the Career Centre offers one-on-one appointments with advisors. These sessions can cover CVs and cover letters, interview practice, or just general career guidance. Appointments can either last 15 or 45 minutes and can be booked from 6pm for appointments the following day. Slots fill up quickly, so if you want to chat with someone, be ready to book. 

  2.  Searching for jobs: similar to other job search platforms like Indeed or LinkedIn, CareerConnect has a feature that lets you browse openings by location, field, and salary. If you filter by vacancy type and select ‘look local’, listings for jobs in and around St Andrews come up, which is great if you want to find part time work. There are also tons of internship openings listed with applications due later in April.

  3.  Exploring career opportunities: on CareerConnect, there’s a page titled ‘Career Discovery’. Here, you’ll find job openings and articles about careers in different fields. This page is curated for your interests, which you can customize on your profile settings. 

Saint Connect

Saint Connect is a networking platform specifically designed for St Andrews students and alumni. It’s a little like LinkedIn, but you already have something in common with everyone on the app, which makes reaching out so much easier. I have just recently joined Saint Connect, and these are some of the features I’m most excited to try out: 

  1. ‘Willing to Help’: anyone on Saint Connect can tag their profile as ‘willing to help’, which means that they are offering some kind of career development assistance to other users. Ways that they can offer help range from meeting for coffee and answering industry specific questions, to offering resumé feedback and internship opportunities. This is a great way to find a professional mentor and start establishing connections. 

  2.  Groups: on Saint Connect, you can join groups of St Andrews students and Alumni around the world. I want to make connections in my home city, so I joined a group for St Andrews graduates in Chicago. You can also join groups for your individual schools and societies to get in touch with alumni who share your degree and interests. 

  3. Career events: alumni panels and talks, internship information sessions, and industry speaker series are heavily advertised on Saint Connect. While these events tend to fall under the radar, getting lost in Facebook feeds and buried in emails, Saint Connect makes it easier to know what is going on and how to join. 

Navigating job and internship hunts can be daunting, but at the end of the day, the University really is here to help, and hopefully some of these resources will help make your search a little easier!