Careers service: A series of chatrooms aimed at English Students and graduates

Employability & Enterprise

Project Description

In this project a series of chatrooms were run which were aimed at English subject students and graduates with the objectives of developing employability, improving performance at interview and heightening the awareness of the options available with their subject.

Three careers guidance chatrooms were run each focussing on a different area. The first chat related to specific careers requiring an English degree such as performing arts, creative writing and Journalism. Students and graduates were able to logon and speak to our qualified careers advisers about how best to progress in these careers.

The second chat had the objective of helping students and graduates to understand the relevance of the skills and aptitudes they had developed during their English degree, how they could be applied in the job-hunting process and highlighting the doors a degree in English opens to them.

The third chat consisted of general careers advice chat covering all issues, from what students can be doing whilst at university to enhance their employability through to understanding the labour market for postgraduate students.

Each chatroom was attended by two Graduate Prospects e-consultants (qualified HE careers advisers) who answered the questions put forward by the attendees. Each chat lasted one hour.

The chat transcripts will remain in the Prospects.ac.uk public archive for 18 months and will be linked to the Options with your subject section of the site. They are a resource for all future visitors to the Prospects site who are looking at how best to use their English degree (see links above).

This is one a series of projects. You can read about them all on the main project page.

Project report & outputs

Benefits to English students

There is a tendency for graduates in subjects such as English to leave career decision making until late in their course or until they graduate, frequently due to the fact that they may never have made a positive decision about a degree subject, but rather eliminated their worst school subjects. Making a first major career decision is a daunting prospect, but can be helped by evaluating the skills that they are gaining from their degree and also other areas such as extra-curricular activities and work experience.

By focusing on early guidance about gaining work experience and other ways of enhancing skills, English students can be helped to improve their motivation for more focused decision-making.

Each individual chatroom was aimed at current students, graduates and postgraduates studying English related subjects. Theywere able to ask qualified careers advisers questions relating to:

  • the job-hunting process
  • career specific issues
  • how best to present themselves through application forms and interviews
  • the options open to them having studied English
  • how to apply the skills and qualities gained during their degrees in their future careers

This benefited English students and graduates by:

  • providing knowledge of how to present skills and qualities to employers while job hunting
  • providing information on specific careers available to those who have studied or are studying English subjects
  • providing application form and interview tips and techniques
  • providing knowledge of the options having studied English gives them in terms of future careers

Outline Plan of Activities

Chatroom one

8th February 2pm – 3pm – Careers Chat Live! Focus on English: Future Careers

Description: Chat live to qualified careers advisers in our Future Careers chatroom. Find out more about the careers available to you as a graduate in English. Whether you are interested in performing arts, creative writing or journalism find out more in our Future Careers chatroom.

Chatroom two

15th February 2pm – 3pm – Careers Chat Live! Focus on English: Options and Skills

Description: Chat live to qualified careers advisers in our Options and Skills chatroom. Find out how you can use the skills and abilities acquired whilst studying to secure that dream job. Find out more about the doors a degree in English opens to you.

Chatroom three

22nd February 2pm – 3pm – Careers Chat Live! Focus on English: Careers Guidance Session

Description: Chat live to qualified careers advisers in our Careers Guidance chatroom. Whether you’re a student currently studying English and would like to know what you can do whilst still at university to make yourself more employable or a postgraduate student wanting to find out more about options with your PhD you can find out here.

Other information

The chatrooms were promoted to the relevant audience through the My Prospects jobs by email database on Prospects.ac.uk. This is a service students and graduates register with on Prospects.ac.uk in order to receive job information and careers related news direct to their own personal email address. Current figures are as follows

  • English undergraduates: 165 registrants
  • English graduates: 5250 registrants

We will also use Prospects.ac.uk’s fortnightly student and graduate newsletter to promote the chat events. Current figures are as follows:

  • Graduates 374566
  • Pre-final year students: 38108
  • First year students: 35232

The chatrooms were promoted in HE Careers Advisory Services through a downloadable pdf poster which was made available to careers services via our Careers Services’ Desk on Prospects.ac.uk and through a fortnightly e-newsletter to all HE careers staff.

Background to Graduate Prospects

Graduate Prospects Careers Service
We run a web-based careers service geared towards current higher education students and recent graduates and have offered a range of services for the past five years. The services are very popular and we currently receive about 1,000 careers guidance questions per month and also about 500 CVs for comment and feedback.

The service has a team of 17 part-time, home-based careers advisers, who are all experienced in higher education and all work additionally in higher education careers services or as freelance careers writers.

All advisers are familiar with the careers open to graduates of any discipline and several of the Careers Advisers have specialist expertise in the careers popular with English graduates – public relations, journalism, advertising, publishing, creative writing, arts administration etc.

Background to Careers Chat Live:

Careers Chat Live is Prospects.ac.uk’s careers chatroom. It was launched in October 2002 and runs every Tuesday afternoon between 1-2pm and Wednesday between 2-3pm. Since the launch of Careers Chat Live, the popularity of this online service has soared. So far over 60 clients have chosen to use Prospects Careers Chat Live to promote their graduate opportunities and services, which, has culminated in just over 120 chatrooms (to date) being carried out since October 2002. In addition, chatrooms have attracted 2,300 registered users since its launch, averaging 15 users per chatroom.

The chatrooms held on Prospects.ac.uk are innovative events which many graduate recruiters view as important components of their recruitment processes. The structure and scope of the chat events ensures that they remain unique when compared to our main competitors. Graduate Prospects can moderate chat events to ensure that graduate and employer operate in a safe environment, or clients have the option to moderate chats themselves.

Chatrooms provide a unique way for students and graduates to ‘chat’ live, to graduate recruiters, postgraduate study experts or careers guidance professionals each week. It also provides a great opportunity for companies to raise and maintain their profile with finalists, recent graduates and ‘second jobbers’ whilst simultaneously getting first hand information about what today’s graduates are looking for in a career.

Contact Details

John Bellerby
Graduate Prospects