This article is authored by Nina Perry, Career Coach and Director of Careerdiem, part of the Career Money Life Supplier Community.
There are a couple of things in life that annoy me. When I have to take out the rubbish and when I see articles about successful individuals who were once told by a “career teacher” to “forget about” or “give up on” the profession they were considering, they went on to do it and became a huge success. Essentially, the message is “career person had no idea, I’m so glad I didn’t listen to them”.
As much as these stories have excellent outcomes, I want to take a moment and say that effective career counselling will never involve someone telling you what to do.
Career counsellors work as collaborators, sounding boards, supporters, and coaches. We work with you as you develop and manage your career and we know where to find information that will help you. We have suggestions about how to make decisions, and we’re thrilled when we can help you articulate your strengths, values and skills. Most importantly, we understand that managing your work and all your other life roles is a very personal and complex thing.
After you have worked with us, you will feel more confident, motivated and productive. But we will never decide for you. I genuinely believe that career counselling is more valuable now than ever before, and in particular during five times in your life.
When is career counselling a great investment?
- When you are feeling ‘stuck’.
You might be feeling this ‘stuck-ness’ in the role you’re in or while you’re at school and trying to decide on your future. It may be when you’re making an important decision; when you have a good idea of what you’d like to do, but don’t know how to get there, or when you’re balancing your life roles with your career dreams. Getting ‘unstuck’ involves working through a few things; understanding yourself a little better; understanding your decision-making criteria; identifying your options; making an informed decision and acting. A career counsellor will be beside you through these stages because moving through ‘stuck-ness’ on your own is hard. For more great articles about this, I love to visit the Career Psychologist.
2. You hear 70% of jobs aren’t advertised, and you have a professional network of 1 person (and this person is your Mum).
When I was looking for work after a career change, I heard the above statistic, and my heart sank. I knew no-one, and the thought of networking left me feeling slightly anxious (and I am an outgoing person!). A few years down the track, I have to say that the number one, most effective job search strategy is networking. People like to hire and/or recommend people that they know; it’s not rocket science is it? Not really, but there is an art to networking, and it’s a bit like dating. You don’t want to appear desperate; it is important to be yourself, and your initial meeting should be mutually beneficial. If you are like me and the thought of networking leaves you cold, talk to a career counsellor. We have a multitude of ideas of how to get you started, and we will support you on your way.
3. You’re sending resumes and not getting interviews, OR your interviews are not turning into job offers.
I once helped a client who had sent over 200 resumes and had received only one interview. This scenario was not only hurting their confidence but think about all those lost hours of trying. If you are not getting interviews from your resume it can mean two things; you haven’t got the experience they need (but this information you would already know from the job advertisement), or your resume is not telling them how suited you are to the role. A career counsellor will help you to work through both. Also, if your interviews are not turning into job offers, there are ways we can help you pinpoint what went wrong, and/or how to turn a closed-door into an opportunity to find another one to knock on.
4. You’re facing a significant career change.
Maybe a career change has been forced upon you (e.g. redundancy), or you have the desire to make a change for yourself. In both cases, there is an opportunity to start a new chapter in your career. This is an exciting time. It is also the perfect time to stop for a minute and take an audit of a few things; your skills; values; strengths; and what is going to make this next chapter particularly satisfying and productive for you. Getting help as you navigate this change is an excellent investment.
5. You’ve lost confidence in yourself and your abilities.
Being unfulfilled at work, experiencing no success with your job search and feeling like you’re on the wrong path can strip the belief you have in yourself; and if you feel this way you are not alone. Research suggests that 70% of the population experience imposter feelings at some time (or multiple times) during their career; and when it comes to feeling unfulfilled, 86% of the Australian and New Zealand workforce feel disengaged from their work. If this is you, then a career professional will help you get back on track. I am not saying the process is easy or instant, but I promise you it will be worth it.
If you have seen yourself in any of these five times, and have thought about reaching out to a career counsellor, then now is the time. Yes, it will take some time and effort, but isn’t it time you start enjoying the third of your life that you spend at work?