I can’t get an appointment! What can I do!?

As ever, the opening weeks of Autumn Term has led to thousands of you coming through our door and accessing our services online. And when we say thousands of you, we mean it, literally! Over 13,000 of you have accessed King’s CareerConnect in the last 7 days, an increase of 25% on how many people had accessed it at this point last year. And again, looking at the last 7 days we’ve been able to see 309 students (or 1% of the King’s population) for a one-to-one appointment.

Which is great! We’re delighted that you’re engaging with our services, and taking the opportunity to Discover, Focus and Action your career plans. But with so many of you logging onto King’s CareerConnect, we’re hearing a similar message from a number of you – why am I unable to get an appointment?

First things first – we completely understand your frustrations. We’d love to be able to offer more appointments so that more of you can be seen, but sadly we’re at complete capacity for how many we’re currently able to offer. With this in mind, we thought a blog post setting out why we run our booking process the way we do, along with a couple of alternative ways of accessing support might be helpful.

Why are you so busy?

The Autumn Term is always our busiest time of the year. Appointments go live at 7:00 and at this time of year even though we typically have around 50 appointments available each day, they’re often gone by 7:01. So when we say you need to be up and ready to book at 7:00, we really do mean it! We appreciate some of you have been up at exactly that time and still struggling, and we apologise for that. But if you have been trying a bit later than 7:00, that would probably explain why you’ve been struggling.

The good news is that it does get easier as the term and year go on! It may not be much comfort in the short-term, but while appointments still go quickly as the term goes on it gets less frantic (and less reminiscent of a game of Fastest Finger First!) So if what you want to discuss is something that can wait even a few weeks, it might be worth you holding on.

Why can’t I pre-book an appointment?

This is a question we receive a lot, and it’s a fair one to ask. The simple reason is that if we did allow this, we’d be booked up for months in advance. If you think the current system is frustrating, imagine being told you’d not be able to see someone until Christmas! While the current way is by no means perfect, it is a fair and easy one to explain that allows each of the 25,000+ students at King’s equal access to appointments every day.

How else can I access support?

There’s a number of ways you can access application advice without booking a one-to-one appointment. There’s helpsheets available on our Career Kit (scroll down on the right hand side to Applying for Work & Further Study) and there’s a whole module on our Career Hub with handy information, videos and e-learning tools to help you with CVs, cover letters, and application forms.

There’s also a number of group sessions available, both through the Future Advantage series and through faculty-based workshops that Careers Consultants run. The idea of group sessions doesn’t always immediately appeal to people looking for one-to-one guidance, but actually seeing what fellow students are doing, and learning from what they’re doing well and what they can improve on can be of great benefit when it comes to your own career planning.  If you’re studying for a PhD or are a member of research staff, then there’s a series of recorded webinars available which will help you get started.