Career Support Network for administrative and support staff

Who is the Career Support Network for?

The network can help anyone who is a member of administrative or support staff in the University (including academic-related staff and colleges) and who is looking for confidential, impartial advice about an internal job application or a job interview. The network offers access to a number of managers who are also experienced recruiters and who have volunteered to meet colleagues from across the University and mentor and guide on how to write effective job applications and prepare for/learn from interviews. Our mentors are experienced recruiters rather than careers consultants and so the help they can offer will be focussed on applications and interviews within the University.

How does the network operate?

Typically network mentors are able to help colleagues who haven’t applied for a post for some time, or who are finding a particular application or interview preparation challenging, or who want to learn from an unsuccessful experience.

The Oxford Learning Institute operates the scheme. Staff from the Institute will try to match you with a suitable mentor, based upon the information you have supplied. Mentors are volunteers and so we may not always be able to match you with a mentor. We will, however, always be able to point you towards some self-help resources.

How do I ask for a mentor?

The Oxford Learning Institute organises the network. To ask to be matched with a career support network mentor, please complete our Mentee application form (2,048kb), which will ask you for information on the support you are seeking. This will help the Institute to match you with a mentor and your mentor to prepare for a meeting with you. Once we have matched you with a mentor, you can arrange to meet. Please return your completed form to the Professional Development Administrator.

Are there any good practice guidelines?

Here are some guidelines to observe to ensure that you get the best out of the relationship.

  • The content of all network mentoring conversations is confidential to the individuals in the room.
  • Mentoring is non-judgemental and objective and seeks to enable individuals to take responsibility for their future actions and decisions.
  • Explain to your mentor what you are looking for and check that they are able to support that particular need. If you need support that is outside the remit of the network, then we suggest that you look at the Careers self-help resources.
  • Sometimes you may wish to ask to be matched with another mentor. We will try to avoid matching you with someone who is in your unit or team, but there may be occasions when, for example, we unwittingly match you with a mentor that you know or have worked with. On some occasions, a mentoring relationship will not prosper. If any of these things happen, then you should email the Professional Development Administrator and ask to matched with another mentor.
  • Agree with your network mentor when you will meet and where. If you have to change or cancel, please let your mentor know in good time. Mentors are volunteers and have a role elsewhere in the University that they need to fulfil.
  • If you feel you need more than one meeting, then your network mentor will agree with you how often he/she can meet you.
  • Mentoring relationships should operate for a maximum of three meetings.
  • Participation – of both parties – is voluntary. Either party may break off the relationship if they feel it is not working. Both parties share responsibility for the smooth winding down and proper ending of their relationship.
  • If your mentor believes that the situation you present is beyond their capability or experience to support, they will advise you of this and suggest that you contact OLI for advice.
  • Mentors will be offering advice and guidance based on their experience as manager and recruiters. They can help a mentee to review an application or a CV and they will expect the mentee to do the writing/rewriting/correction of an application or a CV.