Caroline Sandford Love Your Career
Career Counsellor listening to her client

Throughout our lives, we can be faced with many situations such as not being clear about career direction, returning to the paid workforce after a break, facing a sudden change in job situation and having to reassess, not knowing how to successfully secure a job, wanting to change direction in career, and so forth. In these situations, the benefit of gaining experienced, qualified and unbiased help can certainly assist in building confidence and gaining the skills and knowledge necessary to transition as smoothly as possible, to the next step in our career journey.

We tend to seek career support when we hit a crisis point – maybe we are overwhelmed with making a decision, or we don’t know where to start, or we face a sudden loss of job, or can no longer face the current situation that we find ourselves in. In fact, many of these crises could be prevented if professional career help was provided on a regular basis.

Currently in New Zealand, anyone can call themselves a career practitioner, regardless of their experience, skills and qualifications. And there are many out there. While qualifications are not the only thing you should look at when seeking quality career support, they are a good starting point when you are choosing someone to help you with your career. Think about when you make an appointment to see your medical doctor about a health issue – you would expect them to have a medical degree. And if you were seeking help from an alternative health practitioner, such as a naturopath, you would expect them to be qualified – to have learnt their trade and provide expertise in their field. This is the same when making an appointment to see someone about your career – they should possess the qualifications, experience and skills to a level that you can trust, based on knowledge and expertise.

So how do you start looking for a career practitioner who has the appropriate qualifications, experience and skills and to be the right person for you?

The Career Development Association of New Zealand (CDANZ) is the main association for career development practitioners, representing career practitioners in private practice, corporate, education, rehabilitation and government. CDANZ requires professional members to have met a set of career competencies through their experience and qualifications, gain annual ongoing professional development and adhere to a Code of Ethics. Ensuring that the career practitioner that you engage is a professional member of CDANZ, is a great beginning to knowing that they have already met the level required, and have the necessary experience and qualifications to be a professional member in the industry.

But of course, are they right for you? Here are some questions that you can ask to find out more:

• What is their experience, training and qualifications?
• What is their specialised skills and knowledge?
• What types of services do they offer and how they work?
• What is the cost and length of sessions?
• What tools do they use?
• Do they have a website? If so, check them out
• You may also want to ask for a written quote and their terms of business.

I am currently a member on the National Executive of the CDANZ, and part of the Professionalism Committee developing Professional Standards for our association. So you can imagine that this is a subject that I feel really passionate about. If you would like to know more about what is needed to become a professional member of CDANZ, or the development of our Professional Standards, please get in contact.

So take your career seriously, just as you should your health, and seek professional help, not only when you come to a crisis point, but along the way to ensure that those crises are kept at bay!