In my role as a careers adviser I meet a wide range of people, all with different circumstances and needs. It's important to build trust and a rapport with someone in order to get them to open up and enable you to advise them as best you can. Everyone I work with is in a slightly different position and has a slightly different back story, so the most important element is to make the advice as tailored as it can be for the individual. That's why my job is so enjoyable as I'm always working with different people who are each hoping to achieve a slightly different goal. Sometimes people have a clear idea of what they want to do, but often they come to me with a blank piece of paper.
One such example is a young woman who came to see me recently with a real ambition to develop a career and "not just a job". She explained that she wanted to be able to take her family on holiday, and she wanted her children to be proud of their mum.
She had already considered careers in law, accountancy and midwifery, but wasn't sure where to start. Together, we looked at job profiles, her CV, potential training and courses she could attend, including access and funding. I signposted her to lots of online resources, and she left with a focus and some homework!
I'm expecting to see lots more people just like her this month. While no two clients are the same, it's fair to say that there are certain times when there's an increase in the number of people wanting to change career, such as January. People see the New Year as an opportunity to better themselves, and vow to find a new job, change career, or retrain to open up new opportunities with their current employer. We all naturally feel we want to change something fundamental at this time of year, and for many it is career and job based, as it makes up such a large proportion of our life.
Research from the National Careers Service, released last week, shows that 47% of people think about finding a new job or changing career at least once a week, with as many as one in five thinking about changing their job every day. From my experience, there are certainly 'pinch points' when people are more inclined to want to change their working life. Sometimes it is because individuals are unhappy in the job they are in, but for many it is because they start to look at the bigger picture and plan for the future when the clock strikes midnight on the 31st December. This often means thinking about training or new skills to help them get a promotion, or perhaps move into a new area with their current employer. Yet, we've also found through research that 32% are aiming to update their CV or look for a new job this January.
Often people don't know the best way to go about looking for information on training, jobs and careers, which is certainly where we can come in. I've heard time and time again from clients that many think they have missed their chance as they are too old, believe they can't afford to leave their current employment to make a fresh start or know they want to do something else, but don't know just what that dream job might be for them.
Changing careers can be daunting, and I'd encourage anyone in that situation to contact an adviser to find out their next best step, either by phone or online, to discuss their options and get the support they need.
So, while January may be the time to make New Year's resolutions, there is someone who can help you realise them throughout the year.
For further help and support at a time that suits them, people can speak to an impartial adviser at the National Careers service on 0800 100 900 or web-chat online, from 8am to 10pm daily. They offer quality, impartial careers advice and guidance to both young people and adults in England, whatever their circumstances.