At different times in our lives most of us face career-related choices, whether we are currently in education, training or employment, seeking a return to work or considering a career change.
Discussing these choices with a professional, in the context of a careers interview, can be an effective way of exploring our ideas, making constructive steps towards a decision and receiving support to put our plans into action.
What is a careers interview?
A careers interview is an impartial one to one meeting between yourself and a professionally qualified careers guidance practitioner, usually referred to as a careers adviser.
The careers adviser’s role is to support you and help you discuss your concerns objectively in a safe, informal environment. The discussion is confidential so you should feel free to air your concerns.
During the discussion the careers adviser will help you identify your personal strengths and any skills you want to develop to enhance your employability. You will have the opportunity to explore your interests, family influences, personal barriers and your work experience.
They will explore your career aspirations with you, how realistic your ideas are, current job opportunities and future trends.
They may give you study ideas or advice about training opportunities that will help you on your career journey.
Your careers adviser may challenge you about your ideas or plans for the future. By helping you consider the advantages and disadvantages they will ensure you have thought things through carefully.
What can I discuss?
The careers adviser will be led by you and your concerns, so be clear about what you want to discuss and what you would like to gain from the discussion.
To give you an idea of the range of issues a careers adviser can help you with, here are some of the topics that can be explored in a careers interview:
- Choosing what to study at school or college
- Gaining relevant/work experience
- Planning a gap year
- Applying for an apprenticeship
- Leaving a college/university course early or changing course
- Job options after college/university
- Returning to work after taking time out
- Changing career
- Making job applications and CV writing
Remember, this list isn’t exhaustive; you may have other educational or work-related needs that your careers adviser can help with.
Your careers adviser will recommend further research you can undertake for yourself after your careers interview.
These are examples of realistic and achievable actions they may suggest:
- Explore a specific career-related website
- Attend a specific event, such as a college or university open day
- Arrange work experience in a field that interests you to test your career ideas
- Talk to a teacher about your potential for study at a higher level
- Explore apprenticeship vacancies
How can I prepare for my careers interview?
To get the most out of your careers interview reflect on:
- your current situation and what plans, if any, you have made already
- what, if anything, you want to change
- the qualifications and experience required for the career or job role that interests you
- whether you feel you have control in making choices about your future
- any ideas you have that you don’t know how to move forward with
Your careers adviser will also prepare beforehand for their meeting with you.
They will find it helpful to have some information from you in advance, especially on any health issues, emotional or behavioural problems, recent academic performance or qualifications achieved, and relevant paid or unpaid experience.
The outcome of a careers interview
It’s important to recognise that a careers adviser is there to help you make important decisions but they will not make those decisions for you. They will help you to gain a greater understanding of yourself, show you how to explore your career ideas effectively and how to set yourself realistic goals.
As a direct result of their skillful intervention you can expect your motivation and self-confidence to increase, to feel less anxious about the future and more in control of the choices that lie ahead of you.