Careers’ meet the team: Kelly McDonald, Careers Adviser

Name and job title:
Kelly McDonald, Careers Adviser

How long have you worked in Careers at York and what did you do before you worked here?
I’ve just completed my first year with the team which has been fantastic. I am not new to the University however – I worked with the Researcher Development Team here at York for two years as a Research Staff Developer which also involved supporting researchers with their career planning. I have been a Careers Adviser for 13 years which makes me feel very old!

What do you do in a typical day in your job?

That’s a tough question – the great thing about this role is that it is so varied.

A morning of careers appointments could mean I am asked about work experience in nano technology, reviewing an application for a victim support worker, reassuring a crying first year who’s worried they haven’t got their life planned out, preparing a third year nursing student for their first nursing interview, referring a student for immigration support. You constantly have to think on your feet and locate the most useful resources to support each student’s needs.

In the afternoon I might be preparing for a group session. I would be liaising with a department, researching an area, possibly speaking to an employer or capturing any relevant recruitment updates – indeed anything I can do to tailor the session and make it fun and interesting.

Alongside those tasks I might also be providing e-guidance to a graduate no longer based in York, supporting a student volunteering project, helping to organise an employer or alumni event or analysing student destination stats to better understand where students might be moving on to.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

The students without question and the variety. 

If you could do any job in the world what would it be?

Professional Forager. Yes that is a real job! I love anything food related and I love being outside, so this would be a pretty cool job. I would source ingredients for restaurants and become a real expert in local food from cheese, humanely raised meats and novel items I could introduce to chefs. The best perk would be spending the day literally in the field and eating – win win!


Oh – or Professional Sleeper of course! As a sleep deprived mum, I think I could be fantastic at that!!

What are you:

  • Watching? MasterChef of course
  • Reading? The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt – it’s really great
  • Listening to? San Fermin – sort of orchestral indie rock music I suppose. There’s loads of them in the band and they are a clever bunch who can all play/ compose really great music. Their single Sonsick is unbelievable. 

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