How to choose a career practitioner

When you’ve reached a point where you think you need someone to help you with your career, who do you turn to? You could pick a friend or colleague. But perhaps you’ve decided you need someone independent, with some professional expertise. You could call them a career adviser, a career practitioner, a career coach. It doesn’t really matter. The main point here is, how do you pick one?

First, you have to find one. Here are four ways to find a professional career practitioner.

Once you have identified some possible people, there are some factors to consider before you make your final choice.

  • Do they belong to a professional body, such as the Career Development Association of Australia?
  • What is their professional status? For example, are they a Professional Member of CDAA?
  • Do they comply with a professional Code of Conduct?
  • Do they have recognised qualification? This could be, for example, a psychology degree, Certificate IV or Graduate Certificate in Career Development.
  • Do they have experience relevant to your circumstances? For example, if you are interested in the private sector or public sector, do they have experience in this sector?
  • Do they have experience relevant to your target market? For example, if you are interested in senior executive jobs, do they have experience at this level?
  • Can they explain the theoretical underpinnings for their services?
  • Are they active in their professional field?
  • Do they explain the ethical basis of their services? For example, confidentiality clauses.
  • Can they explain what sort of relationship they will have with you? For example, collaborator, helper, adviser, coach, mentor.

Choose from this list what is important to you and ask career practitioners about them.

Dr Ann Villiers, career coach, writer and author, is Australia’s only Mental Nutritionist specialising in mind and language practices that help people build flexible thinking, confident speaking and quality connections with people.