Career Guide

Careers Adviser

Ben Maples  · Dec 5th 2023

Is helping people a key goal for your dream job? Do you enjoy seeing people achieve their aspirations?

Collection of pens and paper

If so, then you may have what it takes to work as a careers advisor. Essentially, careers in careers if you want to get technical! The role focuses on supporting individuals to find work, train and discover their potential. Want to know more? Read our comprehensive guide on an employment advisor below!

Careers Adviser Career Guide

What is a work advisor?

To jump right in, let’s consider the career advisor job description, which explains this role advises, supports and guides individuals through decisions revolving around training, education and employment. The careers officer advisor definition states the position can be at a school, college, university, or recruitment agency.

Wherever they are, they provide impartial advice to aid candidates to make choices which affect their future. A school advisor will specialise in college and university applications, apprenticeships, internships, work experience and full-time work advice. Whereas, a career advisor for adults can help with training and course options for people aged 18 and over.

The topics they may cover include CV writing, cover letters, job applications, skills development, suitable career options, training courses, news on the current job market and funding available for training and classes. They tend to either work with school children aged 13 and up or with adults seeking a career move. Appointments can be face-to-face or within a group, or virtually through online chat, email, phone and social media.

A trainee careers advisor may earn less than or around £21,000, but it depends on your employer if you’re training while working.

What does a jobs advisor do?

In a nutshell, they’ll provide national career advice and guidance. But at a deeper level, the job is responsible for leading consultations with individuals or groups to discuss education and career options. They’ll hear ideas, career aims, problems and possible restrictions to identify skill gaps and available choices.

A careers advisor will support clients in drawing up plans for training, education, jobs and skill development. Suppose there is a particular personal situation or barriers that an individual needs to overcome in aid to reach their aspiration. In that case, a course advisor will discuss this with them and possibly refer them to what agencies can help.

Other duties include advising clients on qualifications, courses and training on offer, and if there is funding or financial support available. Also, researching jobs, organisations and explaining the current employment market to candidates is part of the role. A course advisor can aid with CV, cover letter, application and interview advice, as well as what jobs to apply to. There is administrative work involved like record keeping, diary management, organising career fairs, seminars, workshops and presentations. A careers advisor may run events, write content for careers literature and write reports. Using career planners, skills assessment tools, and psychometric tests can be included in daily tasks depending on the candidate and job they desire.

Careers Adviser Career

How to become a careers advisor?

Career advisors can qualify following two main routes, either by studying a postgraduate qualification or by training in the job. There are careers advisor qualifications which graduates of any degree can do, under a Masters or Postgraduate Diploma in Career Development.

This careers guidance qualification incorporates the CDI-awarded qualification in Career Guidance/Development, which is recognised professionally. Several universities offer these programmes, and they can take one to two years to complete on a full or part-time basis. Some careers advisor courses accept individuals who have professional qualifications of equal measure or relevant experience. The programmes usually involve work placements with academic learning.

However, if you already have a job in this field, you can undergo careers advisor training while on the job. Your employer may fund and allow time off work to complete a QFC Level 4 Diploma in Career Information and Advice, or the QFC Level 6 Diploma in Career Guidance and DEvelopment. The first diploma focuses on career information and advice solely, whereas the latter involves additional guidance and development training. For example, a school careers advisor can either study a postgraduate course or learn on the job after securing employment.

The careers officer advisor definition states the position can be at a school, college, university, or recruitment agency.

Another option to enter this career is to take on a two-year Career Development Professional Higher Apprenticeship. To get a place on a course, apprenticeship or prior before starting your job, you’ll need to complete and pass a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.

What skills are useful when becoming a careers advisor?

A careers consultant will need excellent listening, communication, time management and organisation skills, as well as research skills when seeking information regarding training and careers. They’ll need to be empathetic, non-judgemental, flexible, calm and polite. Being able to build a rapport with people, manage a caseload and honouring confidentiality agreements is vital.

Also, adapting to each individual’s situation, working in a team and independently is essential for careers advice and guidance. Someone working in a Jobcentre career advice department, as an example, should have superb analytical and problem-solving skills and can stay calm under pressure. IT and particular software skills are essential when researching sources of careers, advice and guidance.

Careers Adviser

What is the average career advisor salary?

A trainee careers advisor may earn less than or around £21,000, but it depends on your employer if you’re training while working. A job advisor who is qualified tends to start at £21,000, and after gaining responsibility and experience, can see a wage of £27,000 per annum.

Those at the managerial level, for example, a Jobcentre careers advisor at a senior level, may earn £35,000. There is no set pay scale for careers advisors, and earnings can be affected by the type of employer, location, qualifications and experience. If you work on a freelance basis, you can set your rates, but most individuals don’t move to self-employed until they have enough experience.

What are the career counsellor prospects?

A career consultant may work in private, public and voluntary sectors, from schools and universities to local government and charities. The National Careers Service hires the majority of advisors across England and is managed and funded by the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA). As a National Careers Advisor, you may conduct online and phone appointments with anyone over the age of 13.

Career advisors can qualify following two main routes, either by studying a postgraduate qualification or by training in the job.

There are offices throughout the country where you may arrange face-to-face consultations to adults over 19. Career advice is contracted out to various organisations so you may be in charities, libraries, Jobcentre careers advice, schools, places of worship or local authorities. Also, they can be in community centres, training providers, housing associations, healthcare providers and probation offices.

After a few years, you may come across options to progress into a supervisory or managerial role. These senior roles lead a team of advisors or manage an entire careers centre. If you take this route of progression, you tend to spend less time consulting with clients. Other opportunities include specialising in a particular careers area, like working with people with educational needs or disabilities, or with specific groups like travellers or the unemployed.

Some choose to work as a higher education career advisor and solely work within education. It is possible to work on a freelance basis in the private sector at a management or careers consultancy. However, individuals can move industries and work in health and social care, community work, counselling, youth and employment services.

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