Cambridge Careers Service

Top tips to help students prepare for the future

Here at the Cambridge Careers Service, we work with students from day one to explore options, connect with employers and navigate the complex job market – helping them save time and maximise their employability prospects.

Whether a student has no idea what to do next, a few ideas or a definite plan, we offer plenty to help them take the next step: 

  • one-to-one guidance consultations
  • 14 major careers events each year
  • an extensive programme of briefings and skill sessions
  • coordinated employer presentations
  • a free book on CVs and applications
  • and a database of over 4,000 graduate-level job vacancies.

About half the employers that recruit Cambridge graduates do not specify a specific degree discipline. So many internships, jobs and graduate schemes are open to all students whatever they are studying. Often the employer is looking for transferable skills that can be developed through the degree subject but also through extra-curricular activities.

To illustrate this…. What did all these people study at Cambridge?

  • Head of UK airports
  • Journalist for the Financial Times
  • Producer of BBC documentaries
  • Investment banker
  • Airline pilot
  • Civil servant with the Foreign Office
  • Community outreach worker in Iraq
  • Publishing Manager for IBM

They all studied Music!

Some employers do want specific degree subjects and of course some students want to use their degree subject in their jobs. We help connect students with employers through 14 Careers Fairs across subjects from Communication and Creative Careers to Data Science or Law.

We offer a very personalised service – like the Cambridge supervision model for teaching, students can book a 30 minute appointment with a Careers Adviser. They have in-depth knowledge of particular areas, and we also have a networking database of Cambridge alumni who students can contact.

City employers (banks, management consultancies and corporate law firms) are very visible and active in their recruitment of Cambridge students. The Careers Service tries to balance this out by being especially proactive in helping students who want other sorts of careers. For example we hold lots of alumni panels where Cambridge graduates working in a variety of careers come back and speak. These range from International Development to Scientific and Technical Consulting, Journalism, Sustainability and Creative Writing.

Cambridge courses are respected all over the world so students have no need to worry about their choice of course limiting them to one career path. Watch our film to meet some of our recent graduates and how their time at university is now helping them in the workplace and in further study.

Top Tips...

Many students need a helping hand in working out what to do next. If you are advising your students on their choices for the future, we'd encourage them to do the following:

Get to know yourself

  • What am I good at? (think about your strengths)
  • What am I interested in? (think about topics as well as tasks)
  • What's important to me? (think about your values)

Self-reflection will help you identify the things that matter to you most in choosing a career. Try to answer the questions above but remember not to overthink your answers or put yourself under pressure to 'get it right'. Your thoughts and ideas are likely to change in the future. The objective here is just to think about what interests, skills, and values matter to you the most now.

Find some inspiration

We understand that looking for career ideas can feel like a huge task – especially if you are faced with the pressures of studying at the same time. Once you have found a few ideas that interest you and some potential options that seem to be suited to your individual skills, thinking about your career will feel a lot less stressful!

Try not to be influenced by other people! They may not want the same things from a job that you do so different roles might suit them but not you.

Think about your subject, it may lead to unexpected ideas

The degree subject you choose and the career paths of those with the same degree can be a good source of inspiration. Keep in mind that most employers do not require a specific degree. They are much more interested in your skills and your potential and whether you can demonstrate an interest in the role.

National Careers Week

2 - 7 March 2020