The University of Edinburgh Careers Service
A Week in the Life of a Careers Adviser
As a Careers Adviser I work with clients from a range of backgrounds. I see
clients in a central Edinburgh office and in libraries or community centres in
the South West Edinburgh area. Careers Scotland is a national organisation
that provides free, impartial and informed careers advice and guidance to
people of all ages throughout Scotland.
I am the duty careers adviser for adult clients today at the Careers Scotland
Centre. The Centre is open to the public from 9am – 5pm, so I need to be
sure I arrive in time to grab a cup of tea and check my emails before the doors
It has been a busy day on duty – clients have called in to the Centre to get
advice and information on a wide range of topics. One client needed help
with his CV to emphasise his transferable skills. Another individual required a
more in-depth interview, as she wanted to change careers completely, so I
made a full length appointment for her with myself at a later date.
I also advised quite a few clients over the phone and email. A client wanted
to know how he could change from working in an office to qualifying as a pet
behavioural psychologist! These sorts of questions make the job fascinating,
as it allows you to research information for clients, however unusual!
Today I am seeing clients in Sighthill Library and Platform Adult Learning
Centre in Wester Hailes. I take my laptop with careers information and
interest guides so I can print off details for the clients.
The aim of using locations out of the city centre is to attract clients who would
not normally be aware of, or use, the service. It is also a great opportunity to
develop collaborative working with the libraries and Community Education, as
we are quite often seeing similar client groups and cross refer.
I am attending a community guidance network meeting for the South West
Edinburgh area this morning. Community Education, libraries, an
employability initiative and the local college are amongst those represented
on the group which meets every six weeks or so. Attendance can vary at
these meetings but this morning was excellent as I met people I had not come
across before. These seemingly casual networking opportunities can lead
into the development of short courses or inputs into other community
The University of Edinburgh Careers Service
After the meeting I come back to the Centre and catch up with phone calls
and emails. I also spend some time preparing for my role as a facilitator at a
training event planned for the following day. A client I saw last week phones
to say he was successful at the interview we had prepared for. This sort of
feedback gives you enormous job satisfaction.
Today I am acting as a facilitator at an all-day training event in Stirling for
careers advisers who wish to work with adults. This gives me the opportunity
to develop my experience in training and also shares my knowledge of the
client group with others.
The day goes very well and I think I have able to dispel any myths or worries
my colleagues had about working with adults. A careers adviser has a broad
range of skills which are equally valuable when working with an adult or young
I am back in the centre today as I am offering appointments. My clients
ranges from someone who had just been made redundant from the IT sector,
to a client who wants to find out more about computing courses suitable for
absolute beginners. Life is never dull as a careers adviser, as clients’
experiences and life histories are so diverse.
As I have a spare hour, I decide to sort through some information that may be
useful for the resource area. This is a good way of keeping up to date with
careers information and any updates on new courses.
I get a call from an organisation involved in my community network as it is
holding an open day in Wester Hailes next month. They are keen for me to
come along to speak to the public about what Careers Scotland offer.
As I have a space in my diary I book them in.
The weekend beckons so I make sure I have answered all the emails in my
inbox and head for the door before my phone rings again!
C graduated from the University of Manchester with a degree in Politics and
Modern History and went on to comlete the PGCE in Secondary Education.
After teaching History at a secondary school and further education college for
several years C decided to retrain as a careers adviser. Since gaining the
Diploma in Careers Guidance she has worked for 8 years for a careers
company and for Careers Scotland since its creation in 2002.