About me

Sarah Blackford is an academic career consultant with over 20 years’ experience working in the Higher Education sector. Qualified with a master’s degree in career education and guidance in Higher Education (MA CIEGHE, Warwick University), Sarah’s consultancy offers specialist career guidance and coaching to those looking for professional assistance with their career planning, including making informed career decisions, resolving issues and seeking specialised careers information. A registered member of the Career Development Institute (CDI) and Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (AGCAS), all her training is conducted within a professional and ethical code of practice.

Sarah’s consultancy provides individualized career guidance interviews in person or via Skype and delivers bespoke career development talks and interactive workshops ranging in length from a few hours up to several days. Training is conducted primarily in European universities and research institutes in discussion with the development manager, with all courses underpinned by recognised career theory. Career management courses cover the following key learning areas:

  • Enhancing self-awareness: professional and personal skills analysis; personality – Sarah is a qualified MBTI practitioner (Steps I and II); work values; considering other career decision influences;
  • World of work knowledge – enhancing labour market information, in particular familiarity with non-academic professions;
  • Networking and communication skills;
  • CV and cover letter writing and successful interview technique;
  • Making informed career choices

Additional training topics include academic mobility, negotiation, time management and work: life balance and other “in-role” career development.


Having started my career in research at York University, followed by five years in scientific publishing, I switched career paths into careers advisory work in Higher Education working as a careers adviser at Lancaster and Leeds University Career Services. For the past 20 years, I’ve been providing career coaching and guidance, specialising in working with (but not limited to) PhD students and postdoctoral researchers. Most of my work is carried out in universities and institutes in Europe with occasional trips further afield and, of course, Skype enables me to offer one-to-one careers advisory sessions worldwide.

Co-founder of the network Careers Advisers supporting Researchers in Europe (CARE), with Dr Barbara Janssens (DKFZ, Heidelberg) I’ve also published several research papers and am the author of the self-help book, ‘Career Planning for Research Bioscientists’. Much of my advice and resources are available on this blog and you can also view my profile on LinkedIn and Researchgate.

Please feel free to contact me by email: s.blackford@lancaster.ac.uk


My logo is the picture on the front cover of my book and is an image very kindly gifted to me by photographer, Tom Donald. This bird, flapping hard and just in the process of taking off, I thought represents a great metaphor for the work we put in to get our careers off the ground and flying !

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