Should I engage Career Services?
Are career services only relevant if you are unemployed or actively seeking for job changes? Read on to better understand the range of career services to support different career needs.
Isn't career services meant to help people find new jobs?
This is a common perception and it is so because traditionally, career services are provided at work transition points eg. when graduating from school, when changing jobs. This is also why career services are often found in universities, schools and public employment service agencies (public sector agencies who provide career services to reduce unemployment). The important need for individuals at these transition points is to find a job hence career services are designed to meet that need.
The services to help an individual with their job transition could include:
Selecting job priorities - identify suitable areas of work
Building job transitioning skills - coach and guide in areas like resume crafting, portfolio building, networking, job search, interviewing
Providing information and resources - share frameworks, labour market information, content to facilitate decision making
Facilitating job referrals - engage employers for job opportunities and provide referrals
The effectiveness of the service is often measured by number of job placements, participation.
Career concerns are growing beyond jobs and transition points
In our present day, the concern for careers has gone beyond finding jobs. Traditional mindsets about staying on, suffering at work for financial sustenance till retirement are giving way to a more critical mindset about how work and life should be. The change in mindsets towards work is likely the result of a confluence of environmental factors such as digitisation, pandemic response, geopolitical and economic challenges and workforce profile changes as the boomer generation are replaced by millennial workers. Today, having a job is not sufficient. Having a right job that provides financially is the goal.
This is why there is new concern for careers - more employees are wondering about next jobs but too fearful to leave their existing jobs. Many are also pondering, contemplating about how their jobs, careers can fit with their lives while they are still employed and engaged at work. Among tertiary students, more are assessing what matters and is meaningful to them, before they assess their suitability for the fields of work after graduation and make better informed course or major selections. The retiring generation need ways to find meaningful endeavours in life, to fill the void created by their retirement from jobs.
Career services has expanded, to meet more career concerns
Today, career services are expanding to offer more diverse forms of career support to meet different career needs. They can be broadly categorised into 3 forms in Table 1 below.
Personal career direction sense making support
Coaching and counselling on life and work situations, dilemmas, discovering personal career attributes and crafting work and life direction.
Job transitioning support
Coaching and guidance on job selection, job search skills (eg. interview, resume, networking), job search artifacts (eg. resume, portfolio), provision of resources and job opportunities.
Work performance support
Coaching, guidance and mentoring to enhance workplace performance and implement efforts to adapt and grow in work places.
Beyond these categories, career services are also doorways to address other deeper personal or life issues. At times, challenges and situations at work could be a presenting issue, caused by deeper personal challenges and struggles which are the root causes for those challenges. By engaging and discussing the issue through the lenses of work, it allows the individual to gain realisation of their challenges and struggles to seek appropriate forms of help.
Seeking support from career services
Depending on the type of career service you feel you need based on Table 1, you should ascertain the experiences, qualifications, credentials of the Career Coach, Career Counsellor or organisation that can address your career concern.
The career services industry in Singapore and many Asia Pacific nations is unregulated. There is also a lack of data points to determine service effectiveness and pricing. It is best that you consider carefully before deciding.
To help you better decide on a Career Coach, Career Counsellor or organisation, we compiled 8 useful questions for you to ask:
Are you / your organisation trained and certified in the field of Career Development?
What methods and tools do you / your organisation use in the process of coaching, counselling?
Are you supervised by any professional peer or supervisor for your practice?
What are your / your organisation's past experiences in the field?
Are you / your organisation holding any professional memberships with a Career Development Association or body?
Do you / your organisation subscribe or adhere to any ethical Code of Practice?
What are some of your professional development activities to keep your practice fresh?
How do you / your organisation stay updated in the labour market practices and trends?
Every action you take is a vote on the type of person you wish to become ~James Clear, Author of "Atomic Habits"
At AVODAH People Solutions, we provide career guidance services to people who are considering career changes, making a job change or currently in a transition to find a job and also career enrichment services to people who want to be more effective at work. Share your career situation with us so that we can support you. You can also use our curated listing of free career resources.