August 2011 Reflections

 CAREER DEVELOPMENT EDITION                                                                          




Last month I volunteered at the Career Development Association of Australia (CDAA) stand at two Melbourne Career Expos   Both of these

were well attended with long queues of people lining up for free career advice and help with Resumes.   All of us volunteers were kept very

busy assisting people with information about what courses they should choose, answering questions about how to change jobs and making

choices about their career direction.  There was the typical mix of school leavers, university graduates, career changers and those who were

returning to work after a break following parenting responsibilities, illness or redundancy. 


 It was fascinating to talk with people and find out how they made their initial career decisions.  For some of them they found themselves in

courses or jobs which had really been chosen for them by well meaning parents who may have encouraged them towards choices which

appeared to be secure and financially rewarding.  However, some of these people never were interested in this type of work and after a few

years they became very dissatisfied with their jobs, feeling stuck and lost regarding where to go now.  Many of them in fact had other

interests they would have liked to pursue, but these were not encouraged  early in their careers as they were perceived as being less secure

or not realistic in the real world of employment.    It was great to be able to talk with these people and reassure them that it was not too late

 for them to follow their own paths and find out where this may lead them. 


One of the things that emerged from these two Expos was the lack of knowledge about what Career Practitioners actually do.   Career

Development is one aspect of the work I do with clients so this month I thought I would talk more about this part of my work and how I

approach this.  I see many people who, like those I described above, have never had the opportunity to really plan their career themselves.

Over the last few months I have been providing career services to some  mature aged clients referred via VECCI under their Grey Matters

Program.  These people are 45 +, who for various reasons have been out of the workforce for some time.  Issues of loss of confidence, low

self esteem and perceived negative views of employees to older workers are common issues faced by these workers.  One of my greatest

source of satisfaction in my own work is being able to help these clients recognize their skills and experience and to believe in themselves

again.  They leave with a renewed sense of their identity and armed with the tools they need to regain employment and purpose in their life.


When working with clients who are having trouble finding their career direction  I often start with asking the client to think about their early

dreams and identify some of the hidden areas which may give us a clue as to their innate abilities and characteristics what have been

unexplored or discarded.   Often this opens up possibilities for new directions or how to incorporate these into experience and knowledge

they have gained over the years.   Finding what you are passionate about is the key to job satisfaction.  When you are doing something that

you are good at and love, then your work will be a source of pleasure and fulfilment to you.    There are times in most people’s lives when for

 various reasons they find themselves doing work which they do not enjoy.  Even when circumstances mean that you are not in a position to

change this, if you can find an outlet for still doing some of the things that you love elsewhere in your life, this will help to sustain you until

you are able to move into something more satisfying.


Career Counselling also involves identifying your personality type and clarifying the values you hold.  If you are a “people person” then you

won’t be happy working in a job where you work alone and if you value autonomy and independence you will hate working for an employer

who expects you to follow a rigid process and not allow any flexibility to make decisions about your work.   By using self awareness and

developing knowledge about the labour market you are in a better position to be able to make changes and choices about your career.

Once you have identified the direction you want to go, I will help you develop a plan for how to get there.  Together we will work out the

steps and I will support you as you put your plan into action, monitoring and reviewing your progress along the way.  You may need coaching

 on how to research opportunities in your chosen field, how to tailor your Resume for each job application, how to network and how to

present yourself most effectively at interviews.   I will help you with all of these.


These days most people will have many jobs in their lives   The job you are in today may not exist in 5 years.   The most important

characteristics for workers today is being able to demonstrate your transferable skills, to be committed to lifelong learning and development

and to have a flexible attitude to change.  People need to develop what we call career resilience – the ability to be able to adopt your skills to

 meet the changing nature of our society and the world of work. 


Career counselling can help you to reach your full potential  and stop you continually wondering why your career is not as it should be.  

I can  help you identify your skills, knowledge, your passion, your values, your personality and support you in your search for job 

satisfaction.    If you are in need of a career change or would like help with finding your direction, I would love to assist you.  Please contact

me on 0438 855328 to talk about your career goals.