Reference cards compiled by the Oxford University Careers Service

These cards reveal its procedures of the Oxford University Careers Service in the first half of the twentieth century. The secretary interviewed a student, or former student, in search of a job and jotted down his impressions, which today seem startlingly frank. To these were added the opinions of college tutors, a record of the interviewee’s educational history, and notes on their first steps towards a professional life. Anyone with literary ambitions had, of course, to find additional ways to earn a living, and shown here are the early choices of three young authors: W.H. Auden (Christ Church, 1925–8), William Golding (Brasenose, 1930–34) and Philip Larkin (St John’s, 1940–43).