Career Planning Resources

If you’re a current tertiary student or recent graduate, your first port of call in seeking career guidance should be your university’s or institution’s careers service.

But if you don’t fall into either of these groups, what resources are available?

Over the past few years there has been an increase in the number of independent (private) careers counsellors. Independent careers counsellors work on a fee-for-service basis (though long-term unemployed people are able to access the services of a careers counsellor for free through government agencies).

Currently a nationally recognised accreditation system for careers counsellors does not exist, although professional bodies are working towards the establishment of such a system. Of the professional groups, the Careers Industry Council of Australia (CICA) and the Career Development Association of Australia (CDAA) have undertaken more work than others in this area.

When considering using the services of a private careers counsellor, it would be prudent to establish the bona fides of the provider – their level of experience in the area, their qualifications and fee structure. Private careers counsellors can be found in the Yellow Pages under ‘Career Counselling’. Recruitment consultants and job boards often offer some career planning services on their websites as well.

States have withdrawn government-provided careers services. The federal government has also made radical changes to its provision of services – the national employment service has been privatised and careers counselling services are currently provided by CRS Australia (formerly the Commonwealth Rehabilitation Service).

The provision of career information is under the control of the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR). The Federal Government has funded a major project involving the development of an online career resource site. The site, known as myfuture, was launched in July 2002. It provides a unique, comprehensive career exploration and information service for students in the secondary and teriary sectors in Australia. The site also provides information for those assisting job seekers, from family and friends to teachers and career advisors.

The complexity of information available and the rapid change experienced in the world of work are prime drivers in the need for people to contact careers counsellors. The three most common reasons for people having difficulty reaching a decision with their career planning are:

  • lack of career information
  • lack of knowledge about available options
  • lack of direction.

Careers counsellors don’t necessarily provide answers to problems, nor will they make decisions for their clients. However, they can assist individuals sort through issues and may suggest strategies and provide alternatives so that clients can make their own decisions.

(This article was adapted from the internet job seeking guide ‘Working The Web’, by Col McCowan, Head Careers and Employment, Queensland University of Technology and Mal McKenzie, Manager Careers Service, University of Technology, Sydney).

Further Resources

Career Development Association of Australia
Careers Industry Council of Australia
CRS Australia
Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations
Professional Standards for Australian Career Development Practitioners