Confessions of a Careers Advisor

  • Emma Finamore
  • Last updated 06 Jul 2015

They’re arguably the most important people when it comes to making those vital school leaver decisions. But what exactly goes on in the mind of a careers advisor? 


Our anonymous source gave us the inside scoop.

I sometimes get asked the most ridiculous questions. And this goes for both parents and students. It can be difficult to know how to respond. I think the worst was: “Is physics the same as psychology?”

We’re meant to know it all, but we don’t. I try my best but it’s hard to keep up with a complex school leaver market that’s changing all the time. I once gave some advice during a session, only for a student to tell me I was wrong – by pointing out new guidance in the information leaflet I had just handed out. The same student also let me know my cardigan was inside out…but hey, we’re all human. Even careers advisors.

I can still surprise myself by getting careers advice spot on. I've had some students go on and take PhDs in subject we spoke about – which never ceases to amaze me.

I love being the person to open their eyes to possibilities. My "proudest moment" is every time I tell a student about a career or job they've never heard of, in the subject area they love. Schools can be such bubbles and the kids often don't often know the ‘real world’ jobs that are possibilities for them.

I’ve learned a lot during my time as a careers advisor. As a very general rule, students are best off when their teacher has had another career before becoming a teacher, because they seem to have a better understanding of the range of careers.

Teachers and advisors in schools often give misinformation. The most common is misinformation about necessary A-level combinations for degrees, which isn't ideal. With the complexities of the modern job market it's imperative that careers advice within schools has more funding. For example, there aren't enough forensic scientist jobs in the world for all the students studying it at university.

My job can be incredibly frustrating at times. I find myself saying the same things over and over, and over again. It can be annoying when you have parents who are really interested in finding out as much as possible, but a student who couldn’t care less! 

At the end of the day though, it’s a great thing to do. Just knowing that I've expanded a student’s universe even a little bit, and opened new doors, gives me a great sense of achievement.


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