Career Guidance for Career Professionals

As career development professionals, we are adept at spotting areas for improvement in our clients’ resumes, and we can pinpoint ways in which they might better achieve their employment and career management goals. Objectivity is our ally when we seek to give someone else advice. But what if it is our own career that needs guidance, or our own resume that requires revising? As someone relatively new to the field, this is a dilemma that is very familiar to me.

Full disclosure: I have been trying to obtain a position in the field for a long time now, with little success. The problem is, since it is my own career at stake, I find it difficult to determine exactly where the problem lies and thus I am unable to figure out the solution. I have no objectivity, so instead of moving forward I find myself stuck in limbo, frustrated that I can’t seem to figure things out.

This situation begs the question: what does the career professional do when personally in need of career help? If the problem is not one that can be easily resolved, should the career professional seek out the guidance of another? Have any of you encountered this problem? If yes, what did you do to help resolve the issue? I’d love to hear any tips you might have for how we can aid our own careers when we’ve lost perspective and the ability to see things clearly. If you’ve never dealt with this lack of clarity, what has been the key to keeping your personal career development on track?

Profile photo of Karen Schofield
Karen Schofield
Karen Schofield, B.A., BEd., CDP is a recent graduate of the Career Development Practitioner program at Conestoga College. She previously worked as a substitute teacher, and also taught adults seeking a secondary school diploma.


  1. Profile photo of Roberta
    March 12, 2013, 2:05 pm   /  Reply

    You’re not alone, Karen. Over the years I’ve supported many career professionals through my private practice – just as you’ve noted, it makes good sense to have an objective perspective. Of course, career professionals can do lots on their own to prepare for such sessions – walk your talk and gather all the building blocks for your career coach/counsellor to work with. If a career professional is coming to me for help with career planning, I ask him/her to gather any previous career assessments or notes from self-reflection activities; if s/he is coming to me for help refurbishing a resume, I ask for previous versions of the resume, job ads or descriptions, etc. You can save a lot of time – and money – by getting all the pieces in place so that your counselling/coaching session can be really focussed and productive.

    Also, look for mentoring programs – some professional associations have them in place and others are looking at adding them. A mentor can be a great source of objective career guidance.

    In a recent comment on another blog post, Deirdre Pickerell mentioned our “Where’s the Work?” project – a free pdf is available at:

    Finally, this tip sheet on Career Management for Career Professionals might spark some thoughts:

    • Profile photo of Karen Schofield
      March 13, 2013, 4:55 pm   /  Reply

      Hi Roberta, and thanks for your comment. I appreciated hearing about how you’ve helped career professionals with their own career issues, and the links you provided are great resources. I like your idea of finding a mentor, and I think this is something I will look into. Thanks again for the feedback!

  2. Profile photo of Julie
    March 12, 2013, 2:17 pm   /  Reply

    I completed all the courses for the Career Deveopment Practitioner program in 1998 and I immediately secured a career coach. It was awesome, and every position I wanted, I was offered! I re-visited this career coach when I decided to re-locate from Ontario to Calgary, and again, it was the best move I could have made! My career coach helped me to identify the type of work I wanted to do (job developer – basically matching people with people), where I wanted to do it (education sector), and challenged me by suggesting unique things to do in the interview. I targeted my efforts and now work at the University of Calgary in the Graduate Students’ Association (I had identified I didn’t want to work in a unionized environment, and the GSA is a not-for-profit, non-union organization) :-) LOVE it! I highly recommend we all have a coach! Julie Brown, BA Psych, CDP :-)

  3. Profile photo of Scharlene
    June 10, 2013, 12:01 am   /  Reply

    Great post Karen and thank you for sharing. As Career Practitioners we might sometimes have the misconception that we shouldn’t be in this type of dilemma because we are the go to people for our clients, so shouldn’t we be able to manage our own careers effectively?

    I currently work in the Career Counselling field so like Julie, if I were to make a move to another position within the field or even outside of our field I too would seek the assistance of a career counsellor, co-worker or mentor in the field that I am hoping to transition to. We tend to provide great guidance, resources and tips to our clients but when it comes to our own careers sometimes all of that goes out the door because it is hard to “counsel” yourself as we are probably our own hardest critique.

    So having feedback from someone else as well as a fresh pair of eyes to review our resumes is very helpful. I recently had an instructor of mine review my resume and provide me with feedback and I couldn’t believe the types of mistakes I was making with my own self-marketing tool. Things that I reiterate to clients everyday! sometimes taking our own advice and being objective for ourselves is hard to do, so let someone else do it for you I say!

    Reminder Tips:
    *Join your alumni group on LinkedIn and network with past and present classmates
    * Seek out a mentor in the field (past practicum practitioner or ContactPoint member)
    * Volunteer in the meantime to keep your skills sharp (could lead to employment)
    * Be open to part time and consulting opportunities to get your foot in the door
    * Get your resume critiqued if you are not getting interviews
    * Work with a Job Developer

    All the best with your job search Karen. Any recent updates?

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