Posted by: Gillian | July 5, 2010

Careers advisors

Dennis Hayes and Tristram Hooley are asking about professionalism in careers advising.

Interesting thoughts here from Tristram, Bill Law and David Winter. My version:
1) In this context, professionalism as accumulated knowledge precludes both instant job-titles and historians
2) Without considerable understanding of the macro-economic environment and the psychological development of individuals (plus a bit of crystal-ball-gazing), the careers advisor may well be as good as the mate-in-the-pub bearing in mind that the mate in the pub is likely to be in a very high socio-economically relevant relationship with the career-seeker and that is not to be ignored. After all, they both drink in the same place regularly enough to be termed ‘mates’.
3) The careers professional/advisor as facilitator is a great idea but maybe needs to come with a timeline. Some people really do need ‘careers’ advice for the next three months. Others need starting out on a path or weaving back into a new reality or re-envisioned future. Careers teachers of legendary yore gave up once you were given the application forms. Careers advisors should at least give a five-year career development plan with a decent range of honestly-researched options.
4) True careers advisors are really life coaches with all the counselling and life knowledge that implies – but are better researched in terms of what the job market requires now and will require in ten years’ time.
5) Qualifications for careers advisors cannot measure outcomes in a future world. Peer review for maintenance of privacy, range of solutions, placement-with-prospects, understanding of clients, etc may mean professional certification is a way forward but, ultimately, no-one is going to care for a certificate if the mate down the pub comes up with the bright idea that sets a life on track.
6) So, certification is to weed out the really bad guys rather than to prove the good ones? Rock: meet Hardplace.
7) In this world, perhaps reputation is all and reputation over time will be based on much more than a few application forms today: it will depend on knowing the market of tomorrow and providing the start today.


  1. Hi Gillian

    I have (sort of) responded on Tristram’s blog –

    • Thanks, David.

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