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News > Career Development > Career Support Volunteers Guide

Career Support Volunteers Guide

A guide for alumni who volunteer to share their knowledge and experience to help support others in their careers.
Career Networking Event with Alumni and BSN Sixth Form Students
Career Networking Event with Alumni and BSN Sixth Form Students



  1. Introduction
  2. Who will you be supporting with their career?
  3. Safeguarding considerations/code of conduct
  4. Volunteer criteria
  5. How does it work?
  6. Support categories defined
  7. Mentoring guidance
  8. Jobs Board
  9. Contact us



1. Introduction

Our incredible, diverse, international, intergenerational, global alumni network contains a wealth of knowledge and experience. With that in mind, the BSN Alumni Community Network has been designed to facilitate career support and development among its members. It allows you to:

  • Establish or expand your professional network by making career-based connections
  • Find and contact professionals in specific industries and roles who have volunteered to help
  • Receive valuable, personalised career advice and support
  • Volunteer to share your wisdom and experience and help others navigate their careers
  • Post or browse job opportunities on our Jobs Board

Volunteering to guide and support a fellow BSN alum or Sixth Form student with their career can be a very rewarding experience. The opportunity to talk and learn from alumni with different professional experiences and backgrounds is invaluable for the recipient. Perhaps you benefitted from career advice from alumni when you were a student at the BSN. Volunteering is a great way to give back!



2. Who will you be supporting with their career?

Career support is available to all members of the BSN Alumni Community Network, including BSN Sixth Form students, alumni (former students aged 16 and above, staff and parents), and current staff and parents.



3. Safeguarding considerations/code of conduct

  • If you are under 18 years old, you must only communicate with other members using the secure, in-built messaging system within the network.
  • Please note a record of all in-system correspondence is stored.
  • Be mindful of sharing any personal/contact details and respect the personal information of other members.
  • Be respectful, considerate and professional in your dealings with other members.




4. Volunteer criteria

All you need is a willingness to help and the ability to commit a small amount of time. We are interested in all perspectives from whatever point you are at in your journey, whether you are a recent BSN graduate with experience of university life, an established professional with in-depth knowledge of the job market, or anything in between; whether your career path was straight and logical or took many turns and twists; your stories can have a huge impact.



5. How does it work?

To become one of our career volunteers, you need to join the BSN Alumni Community Network and indicate on the registration form that you would like to help. There are various categories of support to choose from—see later in the guide for details. You will also be asked to indicate the industry/industries in which you have experience. If you are already a member and you missed these options or would like to adjust your choices, you can edit those sections on your profile.

As a volunteer, your profile is discoverable via a search function on the Career Support tab. Members of the Alumni Community Network seeking career support can search for volunteers with specific experience using the filters below. Multiple selections are possible. If their criteria match your experience, your profile will appear in the search results.

Career Support search filters:

  • Industry experience, e.g. Agriculture or Communications
  • Employer, i.e. a specific company
  • Educational institution
  • Career Development categories
  • Functions e.g. teaching, finance, operations
  • Country where the volunteer lives
  • Or, enter a keyword e.g.programming —this will search all sections of your profile for the keyword

It’s important to ensure that your profile is fully complete and up-to-date. Otherwise, it may not appear in relevant search results. Please pay particular attention to the following sections:

  • Photo (this doesn't technically have any bearing on the search results but it makes you seem more approachable)
  • About me (enter your bio), this can be found in the general edit profile section
  • Education
  • Work
  • Has experience in

Once a member has identified you as someone to potentially help them in their career, they can send you a Career Support Request which you will receive via email. This will include a personal message; here is an example:

You can click the sender’s picture to visit their profile on the Alumni Community Network (you will be asked to log in first). You have several response options:

  • Yes I can help
    • Click the link below this option to log in to the Alumni Community Network and reply to the message.
  • Unfortunately, I can’t help because…
    1. I’m too busy at the moment, but keep me in mind for future requests
    2. I don’t feel I can provide you with the support you are requesting
      • The sender will receive a notification that you cannot help them.

You can also find the support request in your messages on the Alumni Community Network (the email icon on the top menu bar).

Please note a record of all career support requests and emails on the Network is stored.



6. Support Categories defined

There are several categories of career support that you can offer, to help tailor the support. Read the descriptions below to decide which form(s) of help you are willing to offer.

  • Career guidance: you are willing to provide general career guidance and advice
  • Answer to specific questions: you are willing to answer specific career-related questions
  • Industry/sector-specific help: you are knowledgeable about a specific industry or sector and can advise, e.g. how to get started in your industry and what specific skills are needed
  • Interview preparation: you are willing to help with interview preparation, which could involve role playing the interviewer and providing feedback on the interviewee’s answers
  • Mentor relationship: see mentoring guidance below
  • Returning to work: you have experience returning to work after a significant break and are willing to share that experience and advise someone in a similar situation. This can really build their confidence
  • Setting up a business: You are, or have been, a business owner and can share your experience and advice on how to set up a business
  • University Life: you can help someone understand what it is like to attend university and how to make the most out of this experience. This is not specific to subject choice
  • PhD / Postdoc: you can share the realities of studying for a PhD or Postdoc qualification
  • Work experience / internship: you are willing and able to offer a work experience placement or internship at your employment
  • Giving a talk, presentation or workshop: You are willing to give a talk, presentation or workshop to BSN Sixth Form students or alumni, online or in person. Periodically the BSN Careers Department organises career events for Sixth Form students.


7. Mentoring Guidance

What is mentoring and is it for me?

You should consider entering into a mentor relationship if  you are willing to provide long-term guidance and support to the same alum, helping them navigate their career. This is more of a coaching role, assisting the alum to establish and work towards their goals, building their confidence and helping them develop; but you’ll also share your own experiences. You don’t need any special qualifications, but it helps if you are a good listener, sounding board and storyteller. This is a relationship so it works both ways and you have the opportunity to learn new perspectives and insights, perhaps from a member of a different generation.

How to conduct a mentor relationship

We recommend using the following framework to conduct your mentor relationship, which can take place over several meetings depending on availability and need.

  • Introduce yourself
  • Discuss what you are both hoping to get out of a mentor relationship to confirm expectations
  • Get to know each other: encourage the mentee to talk about their interests, talents, ambitions, long-term goals and any concerns or worries. Share any relevant personal experience
  • Do a goal setting exercise together. Discuss the following questions and record the answers:
    • What are your short-term and long-term objectives?
    • When do you realistically expect to achieve them?
    • What actions can you take to achieve them? Think about taking courses, volunteering, interning, doing your own research etc.
    • What support would you like from me?
  • Schedule a follow-up meeting in 6 months or so when you will review your progress and discuss the next steps
  • Schedule as many follow-up sessions as you mutually feel is needed



8. Jobs Board

The Network supports its members to share job opportunities. The Jobs Board is on the Career Support page underneath the Featured Volunteers section. Posting a job is easy; click the ‘Post an Opportunity’ link and complete a short form. The posting will need approval from an administrator so there will be a short delay before it is published.


9. Contact us

If you have any questions or feedback about Career Support through the BSN Alumni Community Network, please contact  

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