Why Career Professionals Should Walk-the-Talk

CPC Career Team 4

By Cathy Milton.

“The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.”

Ernest Hemingway

Imagine this…you attend your first appointment with a new dentist. The dentist greets you with a big smile, and the first thing you notice is that this dentist could really use a good dentist.

Or, you visit a cardiologist for a stress test. When you enter the office for your consultation, you can’t help but notice that the doctor is about 100 pounds overweight and there are empty fast-food containers sitting on the desk.

How do you think you’d feel if you were presented with either of these scenarios?

Personally, I’d probably feel that these folks were channeling the old “do as I say – not as I do” philosophy. Certainly, both situations would do nothing to establish any feelings of confidence or trust.

For career practitioners, the same dynamic applies in our interactions with our clients.

For example, an employment strategist strongly recommends that a student get involved in volunteer work in their targeted field. This particular strategist, however, has never personally engaged as a volunteer. Are they equipped to coach and encourage the student if, later on, some of the challenges and frustrations of being a volunteer surface? Perhaps – but unless they’ve been there, can they really empathize and offer expert advice from an insider’s perspective?

This same strategist provides clients with a helpful list of website links for career-related networking and discussion forums, encouraging them to join. Imagine the clients’ surprise and disappointment when, after having excitedly joined these groups, they discover that their career advisor is nowhere to be found.

Think of the many things that career practitioners encourage their clients to pursue – basic training in a new skill, advanced-level training in an existing skill, keeping abreast of technology trends, volunteering, keeping their resume up to date, setting career goals along with a plan for reaching those goals. Many more items could be added to this list.

Career practitioners would do well to follow their own advice.

Benefits of Walking-the-Talk

For a career professional who truly does walk-the-talk, there are many benefits and rewards. And, by default, these benefits also accrue to clients.

For the practitioner, there is immense confidence in knowing, deep down, that they ‘know of what they speak.’ There is no need to speculate or guess – they know because they’ve been there, done that.

When roadblocks or challenges arise, a career professional who walks-the-talk is able to genuinely understand and empathize with their clients. They’re also equipped to offer practical suggestions and guidance based on their own experiences.

Clients will sense whether or not their career professional has hands-on knowledge of a subject. For those who do, the client/practitioner bond will undoubtedly be strengthened. “Integrity” and “respect” will be words that the client uses to describe their career professional.

Most importantly, the client – many of whom engage a professional when they’re in a vulnerable state – will quickly learn that they can trust the wisdom and advice of their career counsellor. Trust forms a strong foundation for any productive and gratifying relationship. What could be better than that? 

Cathy Milton is an active volunteer with Career Professionals of Canada, providing leadership to programs as an Advisory Board Member, Communications Team Lead and News Feed Editor.


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Hi, fantastic advice and an fascinating article, it is going to be exciting if this is still the state of affairs in a
few months time

Thank you Cathy for a wonderful article!!

Yes it must be hard for Career Practitioners to Talk the Talk if the have not Walked the Walk.
As a practicing Career Practitioner I always encourage my clients not to do a job if you don’t feel fully supported or confident you can carry it out! There are some who can fake it till they make it! But who are they truly helping? I can honestly say I have been a survivor, was a recipient of food bank and Christmas Hamper, took survival jobs to pay rent! Had to learn to ask for help. Volunteered for 3 months full time until I was offered an interview and got the job! Did not receive EI or IA as I did not qualify due to not being in country long enough! Yes I did learn the hard way, but I also learned very quickly how to network and use my contacts! Which I still do today to help my clients!! I do count my blessing, but I worked hard for it!! Anyone can do it if they really want to, just got to focus and put your mind to it. By prioritizing your immediate needs you quickly get everything into perspectives. I love my job and everyone I work will will tell you that! Hoping it rubs off to others!! I always say don’t do a job you don’t like, it will eventually show through your performance. We are very proud to say we are either first or second place in the Province for employment stats per capa size of our area!! We have a great team, aas most of us have Walked the Walk and know how to Talk the Talk, it’s not easy but it is possible! I wanted a license for a Day Care and my very first Career Practitioner encouraged me to follow my passion, which was Producing a Children’s TV Show! I did for 5 years, then worked as an Executive Assistant/ Event Co-ordinator for BIA then became a Bridal consultant then an SPCA officer, by networking and volunteering all those areas allowed me to become a successful Case Manager/Career Practitioner in today diversified employment community! We just love challenges and using our contacts to help others! Thanks Cathy, ( gosh sorry for going on!)

It’s a pleasure Cathy, your article inspired me to share it! Thank you for the opportunity! If anyone can take something from it and use it, that’s the goal! Share and share alike!!