Can career counselling help you move ahead?

Career counselling can help you get ahead in work because it can identify problem areas, or skills gaps, and provide support to help you move forward. Here’s what you need to know.

Can career counselling help you move ahead?

When you’ve put in years of study and long hours at work you hope you’re headed for promotions and pay rises. But what if things aren’t going the way you’d hoped? Could career counselling help you move ahead at work?

We spoke with careers counsellor expert Katie Roberts, who began her national business Katie Roberts Career Consulting 17 years ago after working for a recruitment firm.

“I decided to move into career counselling because I wanted to do something more than tell people whether or not they were successful at getting a job,” says Katie. “I wanted to help people identify their interests and skills and assist them to create a successful career path.”

When should I think about careers counselling?

Career counselling can start in high school,helping students from years 10 – 12 look at study and training options to suit their interests and abilities. Once you reach university, career counselling can also help students unsure of their course choices.

“I changed courses three times before I settled on psychology,” says Katie. “When I graduated I had a few different jobs before I knew what I wanted to do.”

“Counselling can help graduates decide whether they should do further study or start searching for work. It can assist people who are unhappy at work or contemplating a career change to identify new pathways. It can also help people move ahead in their career.”

How can counselling help me get ahead?

Career counselling can help build your career by working with your skills and helping you find opportunities for exploration. It’s easier to get ahead at work if you’re in a role which suits your interests, values and personality.

“Career counselling can help identify issues which might be holding you back,” says Katie. “It can also identify your transferable skills and any gaps in your skill set. Then you can get guidance on suitable courses and ways to overcome any barriers you face in current or potential positions.”

But what if I hate my job?

Don’t just assume if you hate your job that you should quit and move along. Career counselling can help work out the issues which are making you unhappy.

“There are a whole lot of reasons why people might hate their job,” says Katie. “They might dislike their boss, or colleagues, or the industry they work in, or the money. The job itself might not be the problem. Counselling helps to identify where the problem areas are and whether you can change anything to be happier in the current position or whether you need to look for a new employer. Sometimes it might be about transferring your skills to a new industry. But you want to understand the things that made you unhappy so you don’t repeat the problem in your next position.”

How do I find a good career counsellor?

Whether you live in a big city or a regional area, you can find career counsellors through the Career Development Association of Australia. Some counsellors will provide online services if location is an issue. Choose two or three counsellors to discuss your needs with and select the one you feel the most comfortable with.

How long does counselling take?

Counselling may be as short as a single session or may require a few months of meetings, depending on the individual’s needs. If there are other areas requiring assistance, such as help with resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles and interviews, it can take sometime.

“Usually the career counsellor will provide a plan for the person to take away and that might include things like speaking to people who work in the industry that they’re interested in about the pros and cons. Or doing some research online to look at different courses and subjects. Then the findings will be discussed in the next session as they explore different options. Career counselling is a way of having someone experienced and objective provide expert guidance to help you create a satisfying career.”

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