The OU Careers and Employability Services provide professional careers advisers to support your career choices and career planning.
You can contact us for advice on
- planning, developing or changing your career
- deciding what type of work would best suit you
- completing application forms, CVs or covering letters
- preparing for an interview
- looking for employment
- getting involved in voluntary work
- considering further study or professional training
- changing your OU study plans.
You will need to log in as a student to see some of these services.
Careers and Employability Services - What's it all about?
What did you want to be when you grew up?
- Person 1: When I grew up I wanted to be an archaeologist a mini, Indiana Jones.
- Person 2: Astronaut
- Person 3: vet
- Person 4: professional musician
- Person 5: RAF pilot
- Person 6: teacher
- Person 7: superhero comic book artist
- Person 8: air hostess
- Person 9: cartoonist or an illustrator
- Person 10: ballerina
- Person 11: I was always into science
- Person 12: I wanted to be a librarian, I used to put tickets in all my books and lend them to all my friends.
Ellen, Deputy Head of the OU Careers and Employability Services: We all have an idea of what we want to be when we grow up, for some of us those plans come to fruition, for others we have different ideas and move direction, and for the rest of us, we perhaps fall into our career.
Open University students are no different, a significant proportion of Open University students are studying to either start a new career, change their career or to develop in their current career and the Careers and Employability Services can support you and help you identify you career goals and make them come to fruition.
What do you do now?
- Person 1: My job now is that I’m Director for Access, Careers and teaching support
- Person 2: I’m head of Careers and Employability Services.
- Person 3: At the moment, I work as a producer at the Open University
- Person 4: I’m a researcher
- Person 5: I work in the Library, and I’m a Librarian
- Person 6: I’m the Head of the Law School at The Open University
- Person 7: I work for the Open University Library services, in the Digital and Information literacy team
- Person 8: Electrical and mechanical engineer
- Person 9: I work with computers
- Person 10: I’m a senior manager in the Library
- Person 11: I organise large scale events and academic seminars
Lynne, Careers adviser: When you signed up for your Open University qualification you might have thought about the subjects that interested you and what you wanted to do with your qualification, we at the Career service can help you explore your interests, your skills and also where your qualification can take you.
If you are one of the many Open University students who are studying for career reasons, you might be thinking what can do with this qualification or you might have a particular career sector in mind and be thinking how with this qualification help me progress in that career.
We can support you to explore the career sector that you’re interested in or also to help you find out about job opportunities you might not have thought even possible. We work closely with employers and other external bodies to find out about opportunities that are open to Open University students.
What makes you good at your role?
- Person 1: What makes me really good at my role is questioning and listening Person 2: Listening talking to people, negotiating
- Person 3: As a researcher, knowing where, even if you don’t have the answer, knowing where to go even using the library resources or the internet.
- Person 4: I think it most important to think outside the box
- Person 5: I’m really interested in how people learn
- Person 6: I’m interested in the information and helping people
- Person 7: It’s about solving problems
- Person 8: The discipline of lots of prior planning and analysis
- Person 9: And I think probably the most crucial skills to being able to get on with lots of different people.
- Person 10: Engagement working with people understanding lots of complex ideas and bringing them together
- Person 11: I’m a very good listener, a good communicator and I’m very organised
Ros, Careers adviser: We know that OU students come to us from a variety of backgrounds, and they bring with them skills from their work, and their home life and the activities they do outside of that but also of course from study. And the key is, the challenge is to identify those skills. We have a range of activities on our website and in our publications and on your course sites which will help you with this process.
Your next question might well be how do I present those skills to employers and you need to learn to do this and it is a skill you can learn in writing a cv in completing job application forms and the in going through the interview process itself and we have a range of methods that we can use to help you with that and help you communicate those transferable skills to employers.
Career planning tips
Person 1: Of course use the all the wonderful resources of the Careers and Employability services here at the Open University, both in terms of the careers advisers and the all of the online resources and so on.
Person 2: Find out about the skills that you need and the experience and then go about getting those things.
Person 3: If you’ve got any issues or you want some advice definitely the careers service is the right place to start.
Person 4: Don’t get too stuck onto one track, certain things have certain skills that definitely transpose into other skills.
Person 5: Keep an eye out for opportunities that might surprise you along the course of your career
Person 6: It’s never too late to change if you’re unhappy in what you do.
Person 7: Think about what you enjoy doing, take the advice of the careers service and follow that dream all the time.
Ellen: There are a number of different ways that Open University students can connect with the Careers and Employability Services.
Our website includes a vast array of guidance and information, talk to us in our forums, webinars and social media platforms.
If you have a specific question, email us, or arrange to speak to us by phone or in person.
So there‘s a range of different ways that you can connect to the Careers and Employability Services to help move your career plans forward.
Please note: Overseas students studying full time through one of our partner organisations are not eligible to access our full careers guidance service, including contact with a Careers Adviser, and are advised to contact your host organisation for information on what careers services are available to you.
All other OU students outside the UK are entitled to the full range of support offered by the Careers and Employability Services, including links to information related to international employment.
Statement of service
You can view the careers service Statement of Service here.
As an OU student or an Alumni who finished study within the last 3 years, CES specifically uses your personal information for the provision of personalised careers and employability support. This is a service which is part of our public task of delivering higher education qualifications.
We use your personal data in the following ways:
- To provide access to OpportunityHub (the CES careers management system) using your OU credentials. Your details will be used to communicate potential events or opportunities according to your student profile, preferences and choice of study. You can manage your preferences from within the system and switch off any communications you no longer wish to receive.
- To record any requests from you for careers support via the OU student management system.
- To create and document an action plan as a result of a careers appointment; this remains confidential within Careers and Employability Services.
For more information on how the OU uses your data, and on your rights, please see our privacy notices.
The OU Careers and Employability Services are accredited against the national matrix quality standard for the provision of information, advice and guidance services through our Regional Student Services and Student Recruitment service. Specialist careers advisers are professionally qualified.