Career in Your Suitcase
A practical guide to creating meaningful work... anywhere

Talking to a professional

This is a preview to the chapter Talking to a professional from the book Career in Your Suitcase by Jo Parfitt.
Please note this text is copyright protected.

Galen Tinder, REA Manager, explains how to understand and use a career consultant, coach, mentor, recruiter or career management firm in order to realise your career dreams.

In this chapter you will learn that careers consultants come in a variety of forms, and with a number of different titles. Consultant, counsellor, advisor, coach and mentor. It does not always follow that one ‘careers advisor’ will do exactly the same work as another. It is not what they call themselves but what they do that matters. In this chapter we are using the title consultant as a general term.

Austin


Austin is a 33 year-old computer network administrator who has decided, after 12 years in the field, to change careers. He wants to spend less time with machines and more with people, but beyond this he does not know what direction he wants to head in. Does he want to stay in the computer field but orient himself toward management? Or should he bid farewell to computers altogether? He has often thought about teaching high school students, but this would require the major commitment of returning to school.

Simon


Simon is 42 and has just moved to Spain with his family. He wants to start his own property development business, buying, restoring and renting out interesting old houses. He has experience in the building trade and can turn his hand to most aspects of this area. He does not know the Spanish market, speaks little Spanish and knows nothing about the tourist industry and rental market.

Janice


Since graduating from college 16 years ago Janice has worked for the marketing department of a regional supermarket chain, the last five years as Senior Vice President. By nearly all standards she is in the middle of a successful career. The only fly in the ointment is that Janice does not enjoy her work. She has decided that while she is still in her thirties it is time to move in a new direction. She has even identified her goal: Janice wants to direct the marketing efforts of a not-for-profit artistic organisation. She is not aiming for the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art; she would be happy with a county art centre with a budget of $200,000. But Janice, who was recruited by her present company straight from college, has never had to conduct a job search and doesn’t even have a resumé.

Suzanne


Suzanne is 49 years old and after raising her children into their mid teens is ready for the work world. She has never held a paying job but has been active in responsible positions for volunteer organisations. She is interested in working as an administrative assistant, but is unsure about the best way to obtain such a position.

These people represent just four of the many situations in which professional careers advisors (also called career counselors or careers advisors) can provide valuable help and guidance.
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What else is in the chapter 'Talking to a professional'?

Who Can Help You With Your Career Goals?

Coaches

There seem to be so many people who say they offer coaching these days. They may call themselves a Life Coach, Business Coach, Executive Coach, a Transformational Coach or a ...

When to Use a Coach

If you are still at the ‘searching’ stage and unsure what you want to do and where your passion lies, you will need the answers to these questions before you ...

How to Choose a Coach

Sadly, there are many thousands of people out there who advertise themselves as coaches, but who have received no formal training of any kind. It is important that a coach ...

Mentors

Mentors also come in different sizes and shapes. A mentor is generally a person who is in a similar field or position as yourself, but has a greater depth of ...

When to Use a Mentor

If you know what you want to do, for example to write and publish a book, or to create a portable career, then you may need a mentor in addition ...

How to Choose a Mentor

Mentoring is less widespread than careers counseling or coaching and can be provided on an informal basis, often within a company, by someone higher up in the hierarchy to you. ...

Recruiters

This is a point of confusion for many people who expect career counselors or consultants to find them jobs, and recruiters to help them with self-marketing. There is a distinct ...

When to Use a Recruiter

Many job hunters have an unrealistic expectation that recruiters will be enthralled with their resumé and promote their interests to the companies they work for. The fact is that recruiters ...

How to Choose a Recruiter

First, we need to remember that there is not a line of recruiters waiting to sign us up. Recruiters do not work for individual job seekers, but for companies who ...

Career management firms

A career management firm offers services like those provided by career consultants. In fact, if you contract with a firm, you are likely to work with a particular consultant. Be ...

When to Use a Career Management Firm

Unless you have close ties with somebody at the firm, there is no reason to use one. You are better off engaging the services of a sole practitioner consultant. This ...

How to Choose a Career Management Firm

Career Management firms vary greatly in quality. Since they charge you up to 30% of your first year’s salary, it is critical to choose wisely. First and foremost, you want ...

Career consultants

Career consultants can be generalists or specialists. The generalists handle everything from career development to the nitty-gritty of salary negotiation. Specialists tend to focus on either helping you decide what ...

When to Use a Career Consultant

A career consultant can be useful especially for those who have little idea about how to conduct a job search or who need an objective party who can hold them ...

How to Choose Someone to Help You Achieve Your Career Goals

A first rate career consultant is master of a formidable list of professional functions. So when we are thinking of using the services of a career consultant, how can we ...

Consultant Credentials

There is no magic formula for choosing a consultant, but there are a number of criteria that may carry a greater or lesser weight, depending on your situation. In looking ...

Experience

First, verify that your consultant has experience working in the field and that she has worked with people like you. You may be: ...

Specialisation

It’s a good idea to figure out what kind of help you need before your first visit. If you want help figuring out what to do, see a career development ...

Local Reputation

The best way to find a competent professional is on the basis of recommendations from satisfied clients. If you know people who have seen a career consultant, ask them their ...

The Fit

As the client of a consultant, you are a consumer of services. Make your purchase with the same care you would give to a decision about what new television set ...

Work Samples

If you wanted to have a family portrait painted, it is unthinkable that you would commission the services of an artist whose portraiture you had never laid eyes on. Why ...

Flexibility and a Collaborative Style

Quality consultants are good listeners and do not operate with a predetermined agenda and process into which they squeeze every client. You want to work with a consultant who understands ...

Costs and Fees

Before you begin working with a consultant, make sure you know how much her services will cost. Your consultant should be able to explain clearly how much she charges, how ...

Back To Our Case Studies

Generally, there are two kinds of overlapping help that people seek from careers professional. The first, typified by the example of Austin, is career guidance, sometimes called career/life development. People ...

Austin

The person Austin works with may call himself or herself a career specialist, or a career development professional. In some cases, she may even be a business or career coach ...

Simon

Simon knows what he wants and where he wants to go but does not have the inside knowledge he needs to get there without help. He needs to talk to ...

Janice

Janice presents us with a different picture. She’s fairly clear about where she wants to go, but doesn’t know how to get there. By way of contrast with Austin, Janice ...

Suzanne

Suzanne presents yet a fourth kind of situation. Although in her late forties, she has never worked before. She questions whether she has any marketable skills. She is nervous about ...

Resumés

Many people do write their own resumés, perhaps with a bit of help from a friend or family member. The results are often adequate, but less effective than they could ...

Cover Letters

A resumé usually needs a cover letter, a document that many people find more challenging to write than the resumé itself. The cover letter is by no means a meaningless ...

Networking

Despite all the hoopla surrounding the Internet, and despite its undeniable usefulness as a research tool, most people still get their jobs through networking the old-fashioned way. Many people new ...

Interviewing

Some people are such consummate networkers that their formal documents – the resumé and cover letter – are of secondary importance. But even skilled and experienced networkers can lose their ...

Use of the Internet

The Internet, as we noted, has transformed the ways in which we conduct research. But for the novice the enormous volume of information available can be daunting, if not overwhelming. ...

Staying Organised and Focused

People who are impressively organised in their personal and professional lives sometimes conduct their job search in a surprisingly haphazard manner. They can benefit from having somebody to whom they ...

Troubleshooting and Advice

No two job searches are the same, and each one yields its share of puzzling or unusual circumstances. Often the right course of action can depend on the subtleties and ...

Support and Affirmation

No matter how qualified and resilient the job seeker, job hunting is often distressing and demoralising. Ideally, everyone has a supportive cheering section of friends and family members – but ...

Career Consulting For Expatriates

As this book amply demonstrates with its numerous personal stories, pursuing vocational goals can be both more complicated and more adventurous as an expat than on your own turf. Your ...

Remote Consultants

Career consulting can be successfully conducted via the telephone or webcam, using a program such as Skype (www.skype.com) which is free. This is especially effective when supplemented by the use ...

Making the Most of it

The nature of your expatriate experience depends partly on whether your new home shares your native country’s cultural history. For example, Americans who move to France or Italy normally have ...

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