UCL Careers have a team of experienced career professionals who are dedicated to supporting all current UCL students. Your club or society can work with UCL Careers to provide opportunities for students to explore a wide range of potential career paths.
What can UCL Careers offer?
- An informal meeting to advise on employer plans and give feedback
- Information about careers support available at UCL
- Briefings about careers support available
- Introductions to relevant UCL Careers contacts in individual departments
Effective employer engagement
Employers often target clubs and societies as an effective way to reach students. Some organisations are happy to finance activities through sponsorship, in return for boosted visibility of their brand across the group’s communications and events. Others prioritise access to physically attend events on campus that allow them to meet and chat with students directly.
Engaging with employers effectively will ensure you are providing the best experience and opportunities for members of your club or society.
What should you do?
- Connect with UCL Careers early
- Ensure that the team is aware of your club or society's remit or plans
- UCL Careers can provide support in reaching employers and delivering events, as well as sharing key information about career guidance
- They can also introduce employers to you when they ask about contact with relevant clubs/societies (and recommend your activities directly)
- Encourage any future committee members to engage with the relevant staff
- Establish a main point of contact
- Try to have a committee member who can act as your dedicated relationship manager (this might be your Events or Careers Officer, for example)
- Having a face and name to put to the relationship will make for a successful and collaborative relationship with the employer
- You'll also be leaving your members in good hands if you can successfully introduce your employer relationship to your successor when the year ends
- Be responsive
- Communicate regularly with the employers you are working with
- Be professional in your communication
- Seek advice from UCL Careers if you're unsure of how to respond to a query or challenging situation
- Understand the employer's needs
- Think about how you can meet the needs of the employer
- Considering their needs will make you more likely to arrive at a mutually beneficial agreement
- You can also develop lots of skills by learning more about relationship management
- Ensure your information is correct
- If you've agreed to publish the employer's logo, be specific about where you will publish it, and ensure you have the most updated version (logos often get updated, and companies won't be impressed by something you found on a Google search!)
- Requesting the company's logo demonstrates professional respect for their brand and usage guidelines (plus you're more likely to get something in high resolution with the right style of backgrounds)
- Think about meaningful sponsorship
- Which kind of companies do you want to engage in sponsorship with? What do you want from a sponsorship agreement?
- Employers may offer to sponsor your club and society in exchange for promotion of their brand, or access to your events. They’re often willing to pay significant sums for the opportunity, so think carefully about what you can offer them and what impact it will have on your members
- A frank conversation with your employer contact can be really useful, and you can gain valuable skills in sales and negotiation
- The Union can provide you with a sponsorship agreement template, to ensure you are using a professional and legally sound document
- Consider long-term relationships
- Try to ensure some continuity in your club or society's relationship with the employer
- A common issue cited by employers when trying to work with clubs and societies is that when the current contact leaves their role, there is often a lack of handover to the new role holder
- This can be frustrating as it limits the opportunity to build on previous work and to maintain a relationship
- Reflect on what you have learned
- Working with employers can provide you with a wide range of skills - building and maintaining relationships, event management, coordinating groups, marketing and promotion, project management, teamwork, and leadership, to name just a few
- You can capture all of this in your CVs, covering letters, and at interview – to demonstrate how you can then use these same skills in a graduate job. Make an appointment at UCL Careers to help you articulate these into a strong application.
What shouldn't you do?
- Clash with UCL Careers activities when organising employer events
- By clashing with major events, you risk losing potential audience members and having a lower turn-out than expected. If it happens enough times, you might risk losing your employer sponsor relationship.
- Checking key dates (such as careers fairs, sector themed weeks, mock assessment centres, and presentations featuring competitors) can go a long way in ensuring the best outcome for your own event as well as representing UCL well
- Offer to act as a recruitment agency
- Examples of this might include reading CVs or applications from prospective candidates, inviting people to interview with the organisation, or even pre-screening candidates for eligibility
- Not only would that be providing them with free labour, you might be breaking the law! Employment law can be tricky, and recruitment activities shouldn’t be undertaken without appropriate training
- Be unrealistic
- Clubs and societies often approach UCL Careers well into the planning of an event or programme, when they are looking for advice and additional support
- You're better off running fewer or smaller (and more manageable) activities to a higher standard that will genuinely benefit your members and enhance your skills, than planing a high-volume series of events which will take a substantial amount of time and work to run successfully
- Try to do everything alone
- Ask for help and guidance where necessary if you're reaching out to employers
- Try to spot and engage with any potential collaborators early on, as they can help you with the planning process - treat this collaboration professionally and be respectful of the time of others
Do you have questions?
You can find more information about the UCL Careers service and what support is available through their website.
You can also reach out to Weronika, our dedicated Careers contact for clubs and society queries.