“Career Advisory – a very demanding profession”, “I did not expect such a huge amount of knowledge”, “The market is not aware of what is behind career advisory”, “I didn’t realize that there is such a need to follow the trends of the labor market”… These are just a few quotes – our students (now graduates) sharing their reflections after the 1st edition of postgraduate studies.
In autumn 2021, they took up the challenge of:
- 11 intensive weekends – 22 days, 176 hours of lectures
- 89 pages of final papers
- 29 clients cases that were solved
- 1 group project, including a presentation
- analysis of the 12 most popular tests / tools available on the market for candidates / employees
- over 50 (!) practical exercises (individual, in pairs and groups)
- support for an average of 2-3 clients (in parallel to their full-time work and study load), most of them successfully found a new job or were promoted
- numerous group discussions
- 45 randomly selected questions from a pool of 77, during the written exam
- 1 oral exam
In the blink of an eye, they became our first graduates, and today, they share with us their conclusions, reflections and what surprised them. If you want to get to know our students better, read about their profiles and first reflections from their studies, read the first post in this series.
(tl;dr: “the average work experience is 18 years / 75% of them work in hard and soft HR in positions and / or roles such as: coach, trainer, recruiter, HR Manager, HR BP or Director HR”)
Reflections after the first edition of the Career Advisory postgraduate studies
Let’s start with the shortest summaries “on point”:
“A Career Advisor must have broad competencies.” “I enrolled in the studies to get practical tools and I got them.” “At the beginning, I had doubts if this field of study was for me because I’m not from HR. I received knowledge that I can use on a daily basis in my work with the team, I’m not afraid to advise, I know how to follow a dynamic market.”
These are reflections shared by one of our graduates:
- “Follow the client and do not force solutions they are not ready for.
- Don’t assume that you know better what the client needs than the client themselves.
- Make the client aware of the possibilities, but leave them the responsibility for taking actions and making decisions.
- Don’t use all the tools you know, only those that the client needs.
- Present the facts and at the same time be prepared for accepting that the client will act against them at their own risk.
- Listen more than you talk.”
What (according to another graduate) can you gain by studying Career Advisory? “Conducting consultations not only provided me with deep knowledge of a career consultant’s work process but also indicated several areas that I should focus on in order to be better at that role. It was a big discovery for me when I found out that the work of a career consultant requires both many competencies and constant market monitoring, which can be described in such precise numbers.”
We are also very pleased that our graduates will be able to use the gained knowledge in various professional areas: “I am convinced that in the near future I will use the gained knowledge within an organization in the employee development process. Today, I know that the client is extremely important in this process, but what’s also important is the consultant’s knowledge, experience and the code of ethics they create.”
Another graduate noticed how the studies influenced their competencies in the area of working with clients, but (what’s interesting) also their own internal fears: “It was a great adventure of facing not only my previous experience in the field of consulting work but also fears, failings and expectations. While working with a client, I noticed that I often focus on generating solutions that actually should be created by my client. I also noticed that my active listening skills are low and that asking open questions is difficult for me. What I liked about my role was that I was able to accompany clients during their “change” and when they were discovering a new perspective in their thinking about what future professional life might look like. I am glad that with my client, we were able to come up with goals during the meetings – at least on the level of awareness, changing thinking patterns, knowing themselves and their values.”
Our graduates also had an opportunity to learn about various cases and types of clients: “Each client has different needs and expectations of a career consultant. Openness and honesty are important, but so is building trust that will have long-term effects and will result in the client taking advantage of a career consultant’s services during their next career change – because they will want to do it professionally and effectively.”
These are some more reflections (and advice for the future) of one of our graduates:
- “Don’t assume that the conversation will go according to any pattern. Listen very carefully, don’t finish the client’s thoughts in your head.
- Be prepared for seeing strong emotions.
- Make detailed notes.
- During the first meeting, it’s extremely useful to know about the communication styles of both the client and the career consultant. Keeping the balance between obtaining information and empathetic listening is difficult.”
Diversity is another advantage mentioned by our graduates: “Each person that I had the pleasure to work with, was in a completely different situation, had different needs and expectations. It confirmed that work processes, tools and models should serve the client’s goals. It’s definitely worth it for a career consultant to have a full range of processes, tools and models as well as their own experiences in order to consciously choose what they should recommend to the client. At the same time, thanks to this knowledge, career consultants can adjust the offer ad-hoc – as they get to know the client and their situation.”
It’s worth remembering (another graduate reminds us) that a career consultant’s job is a “job with a mission”: “Client management is also a competence that can be developed over time and thanks to the gained experience. Each client is a completely different story, which is why a career consultant is a job with a mission. As a reminder: the word “mission” means, i.a., an important, responsible task to do. And these are the tasks that a career consultant deals with – you have to remember that when you start working with people and be ready for a series of surprises that may occur along the way.”
Another of our graduates noticed how comprehensive (but also demanding) the profession of a career consultant is: “When I was practicing elements of the Career Advisory with different clients, I came to the conclusion that there is no common path for all clients. I realized how important it is to have a fresh perspective – free from stereotypes – when working with a client – that will allow you to keep up with them while developing as many options and ideas for the future as possible, without imposing your own way of thinking. Another important aspect in cooperating with clients is communication and the ability to adapt to the client’s style as well as controlling time needed to achieve planned goals of individual stages. Undoubtedly, a career consultant should demonstrate great flexibility and a wide range of competencies, incl. excellent management of themselves, the client and their project. To sum up: the lower the client’s self-awareness is, the more difficult the work will be. Client perceptions can be far from reality and the sooner we notice it, the better solutions or tools we will be able to propose. We also have to accept that we will not be able to help every client.”
Finally, one more thought from another graduate:
- “The client can come to us when their previous attempts to find a job have not been successful or when they have no choice and time for actions anymore. Then it turns out how important the consultant’s work and their ethical and professional approach is.
- For some people, looking for a job may be perceived as shameful. Discretion and trust are important.
- We can’t assume that the client should know something because [xxx]. “We don’t know what we don’t know.”
- The client may not be aware of their own achievements and strengths.
- The client may not realize how important their online (not only) image is.
- An action plan and verifying that the client has done the required actions is important.”
Did this pique your interest? Find out how to develop professionally in the Career Advisory area: https://careerangels.eu/become-a-career-consultant/. Do you have doubts whether this knowledge could be useful to you? Contact Anna.Mady@CareerAngels.eu, who will provide you with all the information about development opportunities in this area.