Career Counselling


Robert Nathan & Linda Hill

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  • Counselling in Practice

    Series editor: Windy Dryden

    Associate editor: E. Thomas Dowd

    Counselling in Practice is a series of books developed especially for counsellors and students of counselling, which provides practical, accessible guidelines for dealing with clients with specific, but very common, problems. Books in this series have become recognised as classic texts in their field, and include:

    Counselling for Eating Disorders, second edition

    Sara Gilbert

    Career Counselling, second edition

    Robert Nathan and Linda Hill

    Counselling for Depression, second edition

    Paul Gilbert

    Counselling Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse, second edition

    Claire Burke Draucker

    Counselling for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, second edition

    Michael J. Scott and Stephen G. Stradling

    Counselling for Alcohol Problems, second edition

    Richard Velleman

    Counselling for Anxiety Problems, second edition

    Diana Sanders and Frank Wills

    Counselling for Family Problems

    Eddy Street

    Counselling for Stress Problems

    Stephen Palmer and Windy Dryden

    Counselling for Grief and Bereavement

    Geraldine M. Humphrey and David G. Zimpfer

    Counselling Couples

    Donald L. Bubenzer and John D. West

    Counselling for Psychosomatic Problems

    Diana Sanders

    Counselling People on Prescribed Drugs

    Diane Hammersley

    Counselling for Fertility Problems

    Jane Read

    Counselling People with Communication Problems

    Peggy Dalton

    Counselling with Dreams and Nightmares

    Delia Cushway and Robyn Sewell

    Dedication from the First Edition

    To my parents, who gave me such a good start in life


    To my daughters Louise and Deborah, who will always be special to me whatever careers they choose



    View Copyright Page

    Foreword to the Second Edition

    What is understood by the term ‘career counselling’ at the beginning of the 21st century? The more fluid and unpredictable nature of work seen today has been accompanied by an upsurge in demand to balance the differing parts of our lives. The need for financial and emotional security has not gone away. Many people still aspire to continuity of employment, and some still see progress in terms of promotion up a hierarchy in spite of many years of downsizing, restructuring and ‘delayering’. The chances are that clients coming for career counselling will have experienced several versions of ‘reality’ – from security of employment to the shock of redundancy, accelerated promotion or development, the pressure for profitability with fewer resources, and being faced with a complete turnaround of corporate values. Such a variety of experiences requires some key survival skills, including the ability to forge and maintain good relationships, the commitment to, and skill of, setting goals and the flexibility to respond to change.

    When the amount of employer-led change is seen to be inequitable by employees, many have responded by demanding, through the annual employee survey, better career development opportunities in return for the ‘self-managed career development’ expected of them. In the competitive market place much is made of the McKinsey-coined term ‘war on talent’, as employers see the provision of career help as one way to support their goals of increasing retention of valued staff and becoming the ‘employer of choice’, as well as minimising any damage to their reputation by employees who leave.

    These changes have been accompanied by an increasing demand for career support at key ‘career transition’ points, both by employers for their employees as well as by individuals acting on their own behalf. Thus, from the line manager and human resource professional, through to all those providing adult guidance, and the independent career counsellor, more and more people who are seen as prospective ‘helpers’ are being asked career-related questions.

    These people are not solely career counsellors; they are making use of career counselling skills, along with many other skills and responsibilities. The chart in Chapter 1 (see p. 4) indicates the wide variety of contexts in which career help is sought, and this is increasingly the case within employing organisations. Hence this second edition of Career Counselling devotes an entire chapter to the place of career counselling within organisations.

    The past 12 years have seen both a mushrooming of people with no allegiance to a professional code of conduct offering career-related help as well as a parallel desire to develop clear ethical and professional standards. Organisations as different as the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), the International Coaching Federation, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) Forum on Counselling and Career Management, and the Institute of Adult Guidance have all produced codes of ethics. Interest in professional career counselling training has also increased. Postgraduate qualifications in Career Counselling, such as the MSc offered by Birkbeck College, University of London, are seen as routes to a potential second career (see Appendix E).

    Inevitably, people offering career help are being asked to assist with a wide variety of career-related issues (see the definition of career counselling on p. 2) in addition to the more traditional questions raised in career counselling (see Chapter 1). Many of the following examples draw on the survival skills mentioned in the first paragraph above:

    Forging and maintaining good relationships

    • How to network?
    • How to ‘partner’?
    • How to manage ‘upwards’?

    The commitment and skill of setting goals

    • Learning and development – what is on offer and what do I want?
    • How can my learning goals fit in to my career goals?
    • What kind of work—life balance do I want?

    The flexibility to respond to change/managing uncertainty

    • How to manage change effectively?
    • How to transfer skills?
    • How to manage flexible working patterns?
    • How to acquire or re-learn skills?
    • How to ‘self-manage’ in lean periods of employment?
    • How to make the best use of time?
    • How to deal with the stress caused by change and uncertainty?
    • How to manage loss?

    Self-employment and creativity

    • Entrepreneurship – what it is and how to develop it?
    • How to express creativity?
    • How to make the choice of whether to make the leap?

    These ‘questions’ are not only the province of the career counsellor. Some can be addressed effectively by many others, including guidance workers, coaches or mentors. In recent years, the question of how counselling, career counselling, coaching and mentoring differ or overlap is one we have heard regularly. The potential for confusion in both practitioners and clients underlines the importance of establishing clear boundaries. Practitioners need to know when they are offering career counselling, how to manage client expectations and contract accordingly with their clients. They need to be aware when they are operating outside of their skill set and be prepared to refer appropriately (Nathan, 2003).

    Thus, the contexts in which career counselling takes place have multiplied, as much as people offering, and being approached for, career counselling have done so. In spite of, or perhaps because of, the vagaries of the employment marketplace, many clients who approach a career counsellor are still looking for ‘the answer’. In our experience, no matter what the formally agreed contract has stipulated, that desire still remains covertly waiting in the wings. It needs to be acknowledged, but managed carefully.

    RobNathan, London, January 2005


    Career Counselling would never have been written were it not for the experience, support and skill of Linda Hill. Tragically, Linda died less than two years after the first edition was published. Not only did I lose a friend and colleague, but the profession of career counselling lost someone who brought a unique combination of warmth, wisdom and practicality. She knew how to get through to people in a way that always moved them forward.

    For the second edition, I would like to thank Sue Moseley for her meticulous research; Eric Decker, Anton Fishman, Gilly Freedman and Antoinette Gaskell for their incisive comments on the new chapter Career Counselling in Organisations and other amended sections; and Jacey Graham, whose experience as a Diversity Consultant was invaluable in bringing that section up-to-date.

  • Appendix A: Guidelines for Tests

    These ‘guidelines’ can be given to clients at the end of the first meeting, where aptitude or ability tests are to be given.

    Testing is a part of the process of career counselling which provides helpful information about you by making an objective assessment of your aptitudes. These tests are objective; they have been given to thousands of people. This ensures that the information they provide is useful and valid.

    Tests play an important part, but need to be seen in the whole context of career counselling. They are just one source of information about you, and their results will not be accepted blindly at face value. The other questionnaires you complete, covering interests and personality, can yield information at least of equal importance, as can any other exercises given to you by your career counsellor. Although aptitude tests are objective, they can be affected by your feelings, and anxiety, on the day.

    Your career counsellor will help you to understand how such factors may have affected you, when you discuss the results together.

    Test Administration

    The tests may seem rather like an exam because they are accurately timed and carried out under fixed conditions and because there may be another person or other people doing the tests at the same time as you. However, they are not competitive and are purely a way of finding out about you.

    The aptitude test session lasts for about three hours and is broken down into a number of shorter tests, with a break in the middle. After a 45-minute break for lunch, you will have a number of short, untimed questionnaires to fill out as well. These will take you from two to three hours.

    Appendix B: Action Plan

    Appendix C: Sources of Occupational Information

    Clients can access up-to-date information about careers, employers and job availability via the Internet, newspapers, professional journals, professional and trade associations, recruitment brochures, books, videos, CDs, DVDs and other publications. It can be confusing to know where to start. Once clients have a reasonably clear idea of their career goals, it is advisable to furnish them with a list of appropriate information resources. Since many libraries, professional bodies and employers carry excellent information online, the actual location of the institution may be of minimal importance. If clients wish to access local information, but are in a location remote from that source, we suggest first using any online resources and then following up with specific requests by email. We start by listing a few key UK-based libraries.


    Two specialist libraries that stock relevant material for job hunters researching employers (for example, annual reports, business and trade journals, contact directories) are:

    The City Business Library, 1 Brewers' Hall Garden, London EC2V 5BX. Tel: 020 7332 1812. Has a fee-paying business research service for anyone not able to conduct their own research.

    British Library (Business Collections), St Pancras, 96 Euston Road, London NW1 2DB. Tel: 020 7412 7677 (for Reader Admissions). Access is open to all. Take proof of identity for a reader's card. Has access to COBRA – the Complete Business Reference Adviser database for people setting up or running a small business. Reading rooms also in Boston Spa, Yorkshire and Colindale, North London.

    Both these libraries have extensive collections (for example, business trend information, trade journals, market research, directories) and staff who can help customers find what they need. Some of their catalogues are available online. Another good reference library for business is:

    Business Insight, Central Library, Chamberlain Square, Birmingham B3 3HQ. Tel: 0121 303 4531. For non-Birmingham-based inquirers, all information is carried on their website:

    Information and Advice Services Available for the Public

    Even in the UK, the provision of these services varies. In England, there is a cut-off age of 19 for provision of ‘information, advice and guidance’. Some areas provide a separate service for adults. In Scotland, services are more integrated. For more detailed information about services available in your country or region, use the following weblinks:

    Careers Information and Job Search Websites

    Clients should use websites not just for the information contained in them, but for the links they open up to other sites and sources of information. Whilst the following recommended sites are UK-based, some will link the user to a much wider base of information about work opportunities worldwide.

    Careers Information

    Excellent resource site for anyone working in careers support.

    Relevant to anyone seeking information on careers, although target audience is graduates. Easy-to-access alphabetical listings of occupations.

    Information on wide range of jobs, from bricklayer to brain surgeon. Help with job ideas.

    Contains tools to match skills and experience to jobs and career choice.

    Graduate careers information about employers and jobs.

    Click the ‘careers portal’ link for career information and more.

    UK government site giving information on childcare and voluntary opportunities. Links to wide range of careers sites (for example, BBC).

    UK government site with information on qualifications needed for different careers, funding information and more. Comprehensive higher education directory. Wide-ranging careers information.

    Lively website with some careers information.

    Vacancy and Job Market Statistics

    A mixture of vacancy information and careers advice. Many national newspapers offer similar sites.

    Regional employment and labour market information in the UK. Search by postcode.

    Labour market data detailed by industry, full- and part-time jobs. Also carries information on employment by age.

    Information and job vacancies in IT and related areas.

    International and UK job vacancies.

    Vacancies in the public and not-for-profit sectors. Broad-based vacancies.

    Broad database of vacancies in UK and worldwide.

    Note that many employers now recruit via their websites.

    Professional Bodies

    A large number of professional bodies and trade associations produce careers information, much of which is provided at little or no cost to the enquirer. The CIOLA (Connexions and Careers Information Officers Link Association) directory (Trotman, 2005), The Essential Guide to Careers and Connexions Information Resources, provides a comprehensive listing of these organisations – look under ‘Information sources’.

    Reference Books

    For career counsellors, some of the most useful publications for reference include:

    Occupations (DfES, annual)
    Careers 2006 (Trotman, 2005)
    The Careers and Personal Advisers Handbook (A.Dixon ed., Trotman, 2003)
    Jobfile: The Essential Careers Handbook (P.Herington and J.Frankcom eds, Careers Management, 2005)
    British Qualifications (H.Davison ed., Kogan Page, 2005)
    Second Chances (Careers and Occupational Information Centre, annual)
    Mature Students Directory (M.Flynn ed., Trotman, 2004)
    The Mid-career Action Guide: A Practical Guide to Mid-career Change (D. and FKemp, Kogan Page, 1991)
    The Penguin Careers Guide (J.Widmer, Penguin, 2004)
    The A–Z of Careers and Jobs (J.Poynter, Kogan Page, 2004)
    Guides to Specific Careers

    A number of publishers produce guides to specific careers, each of which describes the nature of the work, together with details of entry and training.

    Examples of websites giving information on specific careers:

    Information and advice on media careers. Links to other relevant sites.

    Information on environmental careers.

    Less Conventional Guides
    The Career Guide for Creative and Unconventional People (C.Eikleberry, Ten Speed Press, 1999)
    Odd Jobs: Unusual Ways to Earn a Living (S.Kent, Kogan Page, 2002)
    Cool Careers for Dummies (M.Nemko, P.Edwards and S.Edwards, IDG, 1998)
    Do What You Are (P.D.Tieger and B.Barron-Tieger, Little, Brown, 2001)
    The Work We Were Born to Do (N.Williams, Element, 1999)
    Careers Un-ltd(J.Robinson and C.McConnell, Pearson Education, 2003)
    The Everything Alternative Careers Book: Leave the Office Behind and Embark on a New Adventure (J.Mannion, Adams, 2004)
    Back to Work: A Guide for Women Returners (D.Wolfin and S.Foreman, Robson, 2004)
    Careers and Motherhood, Challenges and Choices: How to Successfully Manage your Career through Pregnancy Birth and Motherhood (K.Mitchell, McGraw Hill Education, 2004)
    Career Change
    The Career Change Handbook (G.Green, How to Books, 2003)
    Lawyers' Career Change Handbook (H.Greenberg, Quill, 2002)
    Changing Your Career: Practical Advice to Help you Move on (S.Longson, Kogan Page, 2003)
    What Can I Do with No Degree? (M.McAlpine, Trotman, 2004)
    Fearless Career Change (M.Stein, McGraw Hill, 2005)
    Job Search
    Great Answers to Tough Interview Questions (M.J.Yate, Kogan Page, 1992)
    The London Jobhunter's Guide 2003/4 (T.Gough and F.Fitzsimons, Pearson Education, 2003)
    Hindsight: From Starting up to Successful Entrepreneur, by Those Who've Been There (R.Branson and R.Thackray, Virgin Business Guides, 2002)
    Anyone Can Do It (S. and B.Hashemi, Capstone, 2002) (helps 16 to 30-year-olds start up in business)
    The Small Business Handbook: An Entrepreneur's Definitive Guide to Starting a Business and Growing a Business (P. and S.Webb, Prentice Hall, 2001)
    Self-Help Workbooks

    These publications contain exercises that can be used by individuals who want to further their career development. To gain maximum benefit from them, some discussion of the exercises is necessary, so workbooks are best used as an adjunct to career counselling.

    What Colour Is Your Parachute? (R.N.Bolles, Ten Speed Press, 1998)
    The Lotus and the Pool: How to Create Your Own Career (H.L.Dail, Shambhala Publications, 1989)
    Build Your Own Rainbow: A Workbook for Career and Life Management (B.Hopson and M.Scaily, Management Books, 1999)
    Who Do You Think You Are? Understanding Your Motives and Maximising Your Abilities (N.Isbister and M.Robinson, Zondervan, 1999)
    How to Get a Job You'll Love (J.Lees, McGraw Hill Professional, 2005)
    The CCS Self-assessment Manual (R.Nathan and J.Floyed, Career Counselling Services, 2002 – available under licence only)
    Springboard: Women's Development Workbook (L.Willis and J.Daisley, Hawthorn Press, 2000)
    Recruitment Agencies

    For details of recruitment agencies, consult:

    For details of recruitment agencies, consult: Website of the Recruitment and Employment Federation. Gives details of member recruitment consultants.
    The Personnel Manager's Yearbook (AP Information Services, annual). Contains a modest listing. Executive Grapevine publishes the UK and International Directories of Executive Recruitment Consultants.

    Appendix D: The Use of Software to Support Career Counselling

    Modern careers software enables career counsellors and their clients to access a huge range of information. The advantage of specific careers software over the Internet is that the information it contains may be more precisely tailored to the needs of the user. Some clients may become bewildered by the array of information on the Internet. A few providers are mentioned below. For a more complete list, refer to the annual publication CIOLA – The Essential Guide to Careers and Connexions Information Resources (see p. 154).

    Career Builder

    Self-assessment exercises linked to occupational suggestions:

    Careers Information Database

    Suitable for all ages:

    Careers Match

    Matches interests and qualifications to careers:

    Europe in the Round

    Information on working in the European Union:

    Work Trends

    Information on labour market trends, including sources of job vacancies:

    Appendix E: Training Courses

    Some UK-based courses in career counselling are listed here. Qualifications are specific to career counselling and career guidance work.

    • Postgraduate Diploma in Careers Guidance (DCG): Can lead on to MA in Careers Guidance.
    • MSc Career Management and Counselling (available only at Birkbeck College, London University): Network learning and workshops over two years; can lead to work in private or public sectors, see
    • Qualification in Careers Guidance (QCG)
    • S/NVQ Level 4 in Advice and Guidance: Contact the Institute of Career Guidance (see below) for information.
    • The CCS Core Skills Career Counselling Training Course: Practical five-day programme over two modules, leading to licence to use CCS Self-assessment Manual materials. Open to people currently using counselling skills in their work, see http://www.
    Professional Bodies

    Institute of Career Guidance (ICG)

    Third Floor

    Copthall House

    1 New Road


    West Midlands DY8 1PH

    Tel: 01384 376464

    National Association for Educational Guidance for Adults (NAEGA)

    PO Box 459

    Belfast BT2 8YA

    Tel: 028 9027 1509

    National Institute for Careers Education and Counselling (NICEC)

    Sheraton House

    Castle Park

    Cambridge CB3 0AX

    Tel: 01223 460277

    Appendix F: Relevant Journals

    British Journal of Guidance and Counselling. Cambridge: CRAC
    Career Development International. Bradford: Emerald Group
    Career Development Quarterly. Alexandria, VA: AACD
    Counselling and Psychotherapy Journal. Rugby: BACP
    The Counselling Psychologist. London: Sage
    HR Magazine. Alexandria, VA: Society for Human Resource Management
    International Journal of Human Resource Management. London: Routledge
    International Journal of Training and Development. Oxford: Blackwell
    Journal of Occupational and Organisational Psychology. Leicester: BPS
    Journal of Organisational Behaviour. Chichester: Wiley
    Journal of Vocational Behavior. San Diego, CA: Academic Press
    People Management (Journal of the CIPD). London: Institute of Personnel Management
    Personnel Review. Bradford: Emerald Group

    Appendix G: Useful Organisations

    Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Staff (AGCAS)

    Millennium House

    30 Junction Road


    S11 8XB

    Tel: +44 (0)114 251 5750

    (See website for various email contacts.)

    Brief Therapy Practice

    7–8 Newbury Street

    London EC1A 7HU

    Tel: +44 (0)20 7600 3366

    (Offers training in solution-focused counselling.)

    British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP)

    BACP House

    35–7 Albert Street


    Warwickshire CV2I 2SG

    Tel: +44 (0)1788 550899

    British Psychological Society (BPS)

    Occupational Psychology Section

    St Andrews House

    48 Princess Road East

    Leicester LE1 7DR

    Tel: +44 (0)116 254 956

    Career Counselling Services

    46 Ferry Road

    London SW13 9PW

    Tel: +44 (0)20 8741 0335

    Careers Research and Advisory Centre (CRAC)

    Sheraton House

    Castle Park

    Cambridge CB3 0AX

    Tel: +44 (0)1223 460 277

    CCDU Training & Consultancy

    University of Leeds

    Woodhouse Lane

    Leeds LS2 9JT

    Tel: +44 (0)113 394 3900

    Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD)

    Career Management and Counselling Forum

    151 The Broadway

    London SW19 1JQ

    Tel: +44 (0)20 8612 6200

    The Guidance Council

    Renaissance House

    20 Princess Road West

    Leicester LEI 6TP

    Tel: (from UK only) 0870 774 3744

    Institute of Careers Guidance (ICG)

    Third Floor

    Copthall House

    I New Road


    West Midlands DY8 1PH

    Tel: +44 (0)1384 376464

    Learning and Skills Council National Office

    Cheylesmore House

    Quinton Road

    Coventry CV21 2WT

    Tel: +44 (0)845 019 4170

    Pilat (UK) Limited

    29 Hendon Lane

    London N3 1PZ

    Tel: +44 (0)20 8343 3433

    (For 360-degree feedback.)

    Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA)

    83 Piccadilly

    London WIJ 8QA

    Tel: +44 (0)20 7509 5555

    Appendix H: Career Counselling Exercises

    The exercises described in this book are drawn from The CCS (Career Counselling Services) Self-assessment Manual. Versions suitable for photocopying and handing to your client for completion are available to download from

    The following are the settings where the exercises may be useful:

    • one-to-one counselling or coaching;
    • career planning workshops;
    • job search support;
    • personal development workshops;
    • development centres;
    • stress management workshops;
    • managing personal/career change programmes;
    • interpersonal skills development.
    Inappropriate Use of the Exercises

    Many people, clients and career counsellors may be tempted to use ‘an exercise’ that seems relevant. The framework it provides, as well as its content, may seem sufficient to enable clients to do the ‘work’ themselves, without talking it through. Such an approach is fraught with dangers. These include:

    • what is written down by the client may merely repeat prior thoughts;
    • the lack of professional career counselling to talk through the responses may lead the client round in circles; and
    • one exercise may be seen initially as a panacea.

    Clients may not be sufficiently prepared for undertaking the exercise as part of a career counselling process. Hence, while interesting, the result may be one of disappointment and a consequent loss of faith in such exercises for the future (we have experienced some clients who have repeatedly attempted exercise after exercise, with increasingly sophisticated, but futile, attempts to analyse and make sense of the ‘data’). In certain cases, an exercise could raise uncomfortable feelings. Without professional support to talk these through, the result could compound the client's sense of ‘stuckness’.

    Because of these potential dangers, these exercises should not be distributed as part of a ‘self-help’ workbook or placed on an Intranet site without appropriate positioning as part of a supported career counselling process.

    Guidelines for Using the Exercises
    • Use only in conjunction with individual or workshop-based career counselling.
    • Ensure that you have read through the text of the book where the exercise is described.
    • You should be confident enough to deal with the emotions that some exercises may engender. This confidence is most likely to be gained from a combination of experience and training (see Appendix E). A good way to begin is to complete the exercise and talk it through with a colleague trained in career counselling.
    • Position each exercise according to its particular objective, as well as its role in relation to any other exercises.
    • Try suggesting that ‘we will be looking for patterns arising from several exercises’.
    • Choose exercises you believe the client will be successful in completing.
    • Ensure that the client ‘owns’ the exercise (that is, does not treat it as ‘homework’ to be handed in for assessment).
    • Remember that, if clients do not complete an exercise, they may have thought about what it asks for but not been able to commit to paper. Give them time to talk it through.

    The exercises are organised in five stages:

    • Exploring

      (Who am I?)

    • Clarifying

      (What do I want?)

    • Identifying options
    • What stops me/can help me move forward?
    • Action planning
    Enjoyable Events (See p. 54)

    Objective: To identify what you have found enjoyable in all parts of your life.

    Instructions: Using the table below, list the three to four most enjoyable events/experiences in (any part of) your life. These should be specific events/experiences, not a general statement of what you have enjoyed. Then in the other two columns write down:

    • What you enjoyed.
    • What you gained or learned, if anything, from each event or experience.

    Review the exercise with your career counsellor, a colleague or a friend, highlighting patterns of what you enjoyed and what you gained and learned.

    Complete the comments column of the table. Were there any surprises? Were most of your events at work or outside of work? How consistent were these patterns with your current or last position? What are the implications of these patterns?

    An A4 version of this form is available to print out from

    Satisfying Achievements (See pp. 55–6)

    Objective: To establish patterns of:

    • achievements you have found satisfying;
    • what you found satisfying about those achievements; and
    • skills you used in attaining those achievements.

    Instructions: Using the table below, list the three to four most satisfying achievements from (any part of) your life. These should be specific achievements, and not general statements of what you have found satisfying. Then in the other two columns write down:

    • What you found satisfying.
    • What skills and other qualities you used in each achievement.

    Review the exercise with your career counsellor, a colleague or friend, highlighting any patterns of achievements and skills which you may have missed.

    Complete the comments column of the table. Were there any surprises? What are the implications of these patterns for you?

    An A4 version of this form is available to print out from

    Job Satisfiers (See pp. 61–3)

    Objective: To evaluate the elements of job satisfaction most important to you.


    • List below in any order those elements of work you must have in your next job. Be specific. You could think of ‘tasks’ (what you will do), ‘people’ (who with), ‘environment’ (in what type of organisation) and ‘rewards’ (pay, working conditions and so on).


      Minimal management responsibility

      Using my creativity

      Improving people's lot in some way

      Little routine

      Working with intelligent, non-conformist people

      A small, forward-looking organisation

      No less than £25k at current rates

      Try and keep your list to 12 elements. Write them below:

      My elements of job satisfaction:

    • Look again at the ‘job satisfiers’ you have listed in the previous table. Answer the question: ‘Which is more important to me – number 1 or 2?’ If you answer number 1, for example, circle the figure ‘1’ in the first column. Then proceed for every pair of job satisfiers − 1–3, 1–4, 1–5 and so on, until 11–12. Work quickly. Some ‘satisfiers’ may overlap, nevertheless make a choice.

      Count up the number of circles for each job satisfier. This is your ‘weighted’ score. Write down the scores next to each job satisfier.

    • Discuss this exercise with your career counsellor, colleague or friend.
    • List your three top job satisfiers:
    Identifying Options
    Generating Job Ideas

    Objective: To expand your ideas about work possibilities.

    Introduction: To make a decision about your best course of action, you need self-knowledge, some sense of purpose (not your exact direction) and knowledge of the options available. You may want a similar job to your last one. However, there are many other possibilities open to you. You should be aware of these before dismissing anything.

    Some alternative ideas to a conventional ‘full-time job’ are listed below:

    • part-time work (possibly combining two options);
    • consultancy/short-term contracts/interim management (increasingly in demand);
    • freelance work (for example, specialist writing);
    • self-employment (could work from home or a business centre);
    • temporary work (usually through employment agency);
    • franchising (for example, Prontaprint);
    • co-operatives (a common-ownership working structure);
    • seasonal work (for example, grape picking);
    • casual work (for example, reception, pub work, data input);
    • voluntary work (could be useful to gain experience);
    • working abroad (could help with language skills);
    • combining travel and work (for example, ship's hairdresser);
    • stepping-stone work (gives you necessary experience for more fulfilling work).

    Whilst some of the above may be useful time-fillers, others could be an alternative way of managing your career, perhaps even preferable to you.


    • Write down any work ideas you have, no matter how fanciful. Include training courses if you like. If you get stuck, ask a friend or colleague to prompt you. Ask for ideas from as many people as you can. Look in the index of a careers book or try one or two websites. We recommend the following:

      The Penguin Careers Guide (J. Widmer, Penguin, 2004)

      Grad File (Careers Management, 2001)

      Occupations (DfES, annual).

      These titles should be available in your local Reference or Careers Library., University of London careers information site (excellent links), graduate level careers information, wide-ranging careers information

      Write your ideas below:


    • Now list the options under the following three headings:
      • ‘Similar’ – ideas similar to the job(s) you have already done.
      • ‘Complementary’ – ideas related to the work you have done.
      • ‘Breakthrough’ – job ideas which are completely different.


    • Evaluate each of the most attractive options in terms of benefits and risks.

      Do writing course with view to part-time journalism
      • Always wanted to do it.
      • Develop new skill.
      • I'd enjoy it.
      • Might distract me from job hunting.
      • Hard to get contacts.

    • Discuss this exercise with a colleague or friend.
    • List below the options most attractive, in spite of the risks:
    What Stops Me/Can Help Me Move Forward?
    Blocks and Bridges (See pp. 64–6)

    Objective: To identify those resources in your life which may help or hinder you in achieving your goals.

    Instructions: Using the form below, write down your ‘Bridges’ – the internal and external resources you currently have which would help you achieve your goals. Typical bridges include skills, qualifications, training, experience, contacts, knowledge, motivation, self-belief, money, support from people and your own personal qualities. Similarly, list your ‘blocks’, which could include a lack of certain resources.

    Talk though the blocks and bridges with your career counsellor, colleague or a friend. How real are they? How could they be overcome? Which ones could not be? Could some of your bridges help you overcome a block? If some cannot be overcome, what could you do? (Often an increased awareness of blocks can help to minimise their impact).

    An A4 version of this form is available to print out from

    Action Planning
    Setting Objectives (See p. 151)

    Objective: To set some realistic and achievable career and personal development objectives.

    Introduction: New Year's resolutions often last less than a week or two. Why? Because they are usually made in haste and with insufficient commitment. They may well be unrealistic and too general, for example, ‘I want to stop drinking’. Similarly, a career objective such as ‘I plan to become a manager’ is no more than a statement of intent. This exercise will assist you to narrow down your intentions to more precise objectives.

    Instructions: In the table on p. 175, write in column 1 a general statement of intent. Then, following discussion with your career counsellor, complete columns 2 and 3 (see the example).

    Complete columns 4, 5 and 6, headed ‘My commitment’, ‘How realistic?’ and ‘By when?’. Rate your commitment to the statements you write in column 3 on a 1 to 10 scale (1 = not at all committed, 10 = completely committed).

    Rate the degree to which you believe the objective is a realistic one (1 = highly unrealistic, 10 = utterly realistic). Write in a date by which you intend to achieve each objective in column 3.

    Rewrite any objectives (or discard them) if they are either unrealistic or if your commitment is questionable (less than 8). Or think of ways to increase the chances of achieving the objective by breaking it down further into realistic ‘bite-sized’ chunks which may be more attractive to you.

    Highlight (or underline) the objectives you plan to pursue. Decide on a date at which you will review your progress. Write this in brackets in column 6. At this point, you may want to modify some of your objectives.

    Tick or cross through the objective when you have achieved it to your satisfaction.

    An A4 version of this form is available to print out from


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