First question, can you tell the reader who you are? So name, job title etc.
My name’s Riley, Jeff Riley, Careers Consultant.
And what departments/students do you specifically help?
I work with the Schools of Mathematics, History and Politics & International Relations. However, because of the way the Careers Service is designed I also contribute on a pan-London basis to careers work in International Development and the City and Finance areas.
How do you do this? What do you spend most of your time doing?
Most of my time is divided between work for my departments and more general work for Queen Mary Careers & Enterprise. A lot of this would be interviewing students either in the Careers Centre or, for my departments in the Library (we just don’t have enough interviewing rooms in the Careers Centre). Alongside interviewing I research my sectors – right now I’m doing a lot of research around options for History students – and organising careers events. These take a lot of time enrolling and briefing speakers.
What’s the hardest thing about your job?
I’ve been doing this job for a while so whatever most student’s ask me about I’ve got some starting points for them. However, I still come across students studying subjects that are very specialised and I’ve no immediate answers to their questions. Now, I think any student should be able to come to a consultant and get an answer to the question, ‘what can I do with my degree?’ They don’t want to hear a vague response about the value of a degree in general but quite specific material about their discipline but it’s pretty impossible for me to have that at my fingertips. So that can be bit of a struggle.
What do you enjoy the most?
The Careers Consultant job is really varied and it is a great job. If I had to nominate one thing though it is the fact that I can have conversations that really open up possibilities for students. Occasionally you feel you have had conversations that are part of a turning point.
What are you most proud of? What is your biggest success to date?
In my career as a whole probably creating a reputation for the Careers Service in the area of International Development. More recently I’ve been at Queen Mary for nearly three years and I think while I have been here I have worked with my Schools – and with student societies – to create some high profile events. This year we ran ambitious ‘Mathematics Impacts’ and ‘History Impacts’ events which really raised the Careers profile significantly
What is the most common question you get asked by students?
What can I do?
And finally, tells us one thing we wouldn’t know about you.
I always think how interesting this answer would be if it was anonymous! As it isn’t then I can tell you that I’ve lived in the same flat in Clapham for 23 years. I helped build it and 25 other homes along with a small group of friends who formed a housing Cooperative.