12 Things Every Career Practitioner Should Know

Businesspeople ca. 2003

By Sharon Graham.

Are you new to the career services field? Four Canadian Career Masterminds share what every Career Practitioner should learn, understand, and apply with every client.

The Canadian career development field has many high performers. After a particularly interesting Mastermind Mentoring Program, four participants explore what it takes to be effective. Adrienne Tom, Carrie Wakeford, Maureen Farmer and Wayne Pagani propose 12 things that every career practitioner should know. If you are new to the field or you want to enhance your competencies, consider the advice shared by these Masterminds.

Do not judge or make assumptions. Everyone comes to see you with a history – life experiences that you will never know fully. Try to understand where the person is now.

Identify your client’s expectations upfront. Engage clients in front-end discussions to determine their expectations. Discuss and clarify roles – what you are able to do to help and what their responsibility is in the process. Do this well in advance of working with them so that you ensure you can meet their needs. Sometimes a client needs something different from what they are asking. Refer clients who fall outside the scope of your practice to other professionals, even if they try to convince you otherwise.

Build a safe sharing environment. Trust is crucial; remind the client that your conversations remain confidential, because this creates a safe environment for the client to share aspirations as well as perceived or real barriers to success. The more candid your client is, the healthier the insight, and the more likely your client will achieve a successful outcome.

Ask lots of questions and dig deep. Asking the right questions and listening attentively helps to identify issues that the client may not recognize. You need to understand your client from a holistic perspective. A robust needs assessment helps with this, so stay current on intake techniques to determine client needs.

Determine client objectives. This means that you need to understand, not only their goals but also their motivations. Determine if the client is currently employed and/or in career transition. Find out if the client is in survival mode and needs to bridge an income gap. Identify any other challenges that your client may be experiencing. Clarifying this can enhance the development of an accurate plan of action and expedite service delivery.

Keep current with vocational resources. This requires ongoing exposure to career assessments, other meaningful resources, and collaborative expertise. Whenever appropriate, provide your clients with appropriate assessment tools to help them gain a better understanding of themselves. Clarify their values, interests, passions, and preferences, along with strengths, skills, aptitudes, and talents.

Clarify the client’s career/job target. Define your client’s target before you establish their value proposition. Confirm that your client understands the value of a clear target and how this impacts job search success. In addition to knowing the job target, determine the industry, sector, size, scope, and type of organization they want to approach. Understand the needs of employers in the targeted market. Be clear about the competencies that are being sought.

Determine the conditions of employment that your client wants to have. Establish what type of corporate culture is conducive to job satisfaction and professional development. Consider all possibilities to fulfill these conditions, including salary and compensation expectations.

Help clients understand the power of their existing skills. Transferable skills may seem obvious to practitioners, but most clients are not familiar with the term. Often the most talented, skilled people lack confidence, and it may be necessary to draw out skills or watch for undervalued skills.

Understand your client’s strategic value proposition. Everyone has a unique set of competencies and value to offer an employer. Guide your clients to discover, share, and leverage this value proposition. Help your client to ensure that his or her value proposition is consistent and authentic.

Keep current with market knowledge. Stay connected to the labour market. Track the latest trends using the same resources you recommend to clients. This allows you to educate clients who struggle with market research. Meet decision makers such as hiring managers, HR professionals, and/or recruiters in person and/or follow them online.

Keep up with Career Transition Strategies. You must be able to provide clients with a strategic job search plan that is effective in the current market. You must learn new ideas, methodologies, processes, and best practices and modify them to meet the unique needs of your clients. This requires a strong understanding of the newest technologies such as Automated Tracking Systems (ATS), tools such as JibberJobber, and online social media such as LinkedIn.

CPCMastermindADThank you to Career Professionals of Canada’s Experienced Practitioners Mastermind Group for providing this information. Learn how to join a Mastermind Mentoring Group facilitated by Career Professionals of Canada and get professional development throughout the year.

Are there other things every practitioner should know? Please share your ideas by commenting below.

Sharon Graham is CANADA’S CAREER STRATEGIST and author of the top-selling BEST CANADIAN RESUMES SERIES. Founder and executive director of CAREER PROFESSIONALS OF CANADA, Sharon is committed to setting the standard for excellence in the industry. A leading authority on resume, interview, employment and career transition, Sharon provides career practitioners with tools and resources to enable them to provide exemplary services to Canadians.

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