Dear Career Counsellor, who are you?

Posted November 19, 2018, by Jenny Sakr

Saying it’s a challenge to navigate life, while at the same time, trying to find some kind of purpose and fulfilment through your career is an understatement. Figuring out what you will love to do when you are still young (then making spot-on education and career choices) is no easy feat. Partly because you don’t necessarily have a clear picture of what all the options are, partly because there is too much choice, and partly because you don’t really know what you love, or you might not fully appreciate what you are good at. Or if you do know what you love and where your talents lie, you don’t know how those passions can translate into a money-making career. These are some of the many the reasons why a lot of us end up part-way down our career path and we realise want to change our direction. Or we end up halfway through our degree deciding we hate our chosen field. People are messy. Careers are messy. We are all individuals with personal tastes, skills, talents, challenges, and circumstances. And those elements don’t always seamlessly align with an all-star career.

What then? Do we just give in to “fate” and tumble down the career river powerless, with no control or options along the way? How then, can we pick up a paddle and find a smooth route down the career river?

If you want to develop a career but don’t really have a clear picture or vision of what your career could look like, actually you are not alone. And this is where a career counsellor can step in.

What is a career counsellor?

A career counsellor can help you to find clarity in relation to your career goals. They can help you identify and improve areas of weakness. Furthermore, they approach your personal circumstances from a holistic point of view so they can help you address personal characteristics or circumstances which may hold you back on your career path.

What does a career counsellor do?

Career counsellors for adults can help you navigate a career change or help you to address obstacles you have come up against which are preventing your career from progressing how you want. Career counsellors for students can help you identify a career path for the first time, or help you better understand the opportunities you can expect or hope for when you graduate.

Career counsellors don’t solely approach your needs from a practical point of view, although of course, there are certain practical elements to what they do. For example, they can help you research and discover jobs and careers you weren’t aware of, or prepare for an interview. A career counsellor addresses your needs holistically. This means, they could help you identify where you fall down in an interview, perhaps nerves get the better or you or your body language sends invisible messages to the hiring messages. They can do mock interviews with you to help you practice so you can go to the real thing feeling more confident.

As another example, if you have had time off work, you might feel nervous about explaining to a hiring manager what you’ve been doing. Your career counsellor can help you reframe how you think about the time you’ve been away and understand how you can present it as a strength, not a weakness or something to hide. Anyone who has raised a little rabble of young children can easily handle a fast-paced office environment. In fact, after you’ve taken care of a child, a fast-paced office will feel like a holiday! When you’re looking for work it’s all about framing and a career counsellor can help us to frame our character, skills, and experience in a way that will help us achieve career goals.

Whatever your personal circumstances, during your meeting with your career counsellor, they can do a lot to help you find new clarity and purpose.

Why get a career counsellor?

Going to see a career counsellor isn’t a pre-requisite for success. However, if you have some kind of doubts, a question mark in relation to your career, or lack of direction – whatever stage you are at (adult or student) then a career counsellor can help you find answers.

A career counsellor doesn’t have a magic wand, but they are professionals, and their expertise lies in helping you to identify and resolve whatever it is holding you back.

Sometimes we can hold ourselves back, and we may have internal turmoil or fears we need to resolve before we can take the next step forward at work. Your career counsellor can help you identify what’s happening internally and help you to resolve those issues. Then, you can begin to move forward again.

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Do I need a career counsellor?

Unless you are one of those annoyingly focused people who know exactly what they want to do and how they are going to do it, I think nearly everyone could benefit from spending time with a career counsellor! I mean, in real life how many of us do know what we want to do from day one? We might know we are good at x thing, but even that doesn’t narrow career paths down because there are so many different ways to apply x talent at work.

What’s the worst that could happen if you do go to see a career counsellor?  

And what’s the worst that could happen if you don’t go to see a career counsellor? You can continue riding the career river of life and see where the flow takes you, and where you tumble too next.

Your call, but don’t forget there may be rapids ahead!

Jenny Sakr
Jenny Sakr

Jenny found her way with words while interning during uni, since, she's produced articles on it all – from hair and beauty to homewares, travel, career advice and study tips. On a weekend you're most likely to find her lining up for a table at the latest cafe or restaurant.

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