Barnet mums help put graduates on track to career success

Liz Gould and Liz Manuel (right). Picture: Polly Hancock.

Liz Gould and Liz Manuel (right). Picture: Polly Hancock. - Credit: Archant

Landing a top job fresh out of university is harder than ever and a challenge facing thousands of graduates every year.

But help is on hand for university leavers reluctantly bowing out of student life in the form of two Barnet mothers with an eye for a good CV and a wealth of handy recruitment advice.

Liz Manuel, 53, of Golders Green and Liz Gould, 54, of Hampstead Garden Suburb, set up The Professional Careers Consultancy (TPCC) in 2011 in response to the increasing challenges facing graduates applying for jobs in difficult economic times.

“There were 83 graduates applying for one graduate position in 2011 compared with 31 in 2008,” said Mrs Manuel.

“There are a lot of graduates who have got good skills but don’t have that extra ‘something’. Everyone has something unique about them and it’s about bringing that out in a CV.”

The two friends, both mothers-of-three, run the consultancy from their homes, as well as an office in West Hampstead, offering a range of support to graduates struggling to secure a future career.

Mrs Manuel, a trained lawyer and former Camden School for Girls pupil, and Mrs Gould, a former City stockbroker and Henrietta Barnett pupil, draw on their professional expertise in their roles with TPCC.

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“We do extensive research of the companies and industries that our clients are looking to join – we have a big database of companies – and we talk to experts in the field so we know what we are talking about,” said Mrs Gould.

“A lot of these kids have never failed anything in life and then suddenly they start going for jobs and start getting rejected and their confidence dips hugely. So a big part of our job is building that back up.”

As well as CV appraisals, the friends also offer “mock interviews” to equip graduates with all the skills they need to impress employers during interviews.

But the work of TPCC is not confined to job applications and interviews, they also help to advise graduates unsure of which line of work to take.

Mrs Gould said: “We had one boy who called us and was really struggling with what career he wanted to go into. We talked to him a couple of times over Skype.

“Initially he wanted to go into investment banking, but he’d done no work experience so there was no way he was going to be successful.

“We talked to him and suggested that accountancy might be a better option and then maybe he could move back into banking. He has now got a job in an accountancy firm.

“He said the extra bit of help was essential and he wouldn’t have succeeded without it.”

Asked what motivated their work, Mrs Manuel said the “great elation” in the voices of clients who call them to say they have secured a job made it all worthwhile.

She added: “When people are working with us they don’t want to tell anyone about us because of the fierce competition, but once they’ve got jobs they are happy to tell people about us!”

For more information about TPCC or to book a consultation, starting from £100, visit or call 0845 094 3596.