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Careers adviser: Job description

A careers adviser provides information, advice and guidance to help people make realistic choices about their education, training and work. They may deal with a range of people, from school children over the age of 13 up to adults who may want a career change or need help with further training.

Careers advisers can help to identify options for suitable careers, build CVs, identify skills gaps, advise on where to search for jobs and help with the application, and locate relevant training courses.

They can work in a range of locations in the public, private and voluntary sectors. They usually work for the National Careers Service  but may be sub-contracted out to various organisations to maximise the accessibility of the service to as many people as possible. Premises where careers advisers can be based include: schools, further education colleges, Jobcentre Plus offices, community centres, training providers, libraries, Connexions offices, Sure Start Centres, charities, healthcare settings and local authorities.

The National Careers Service also runs an online and telephone advice service, which employs careers advisers.

It is possible to specialise in higher education careers advice and to work in a careers service based within a university. For more information on this role see higher education careers adviser.  

Typical work activities

The work of a careers adviser varies depending on the type of organisation they work in. Those contracted to work in a schools will deal with different issues to those who work in colleges or job or community centres. The variety of work that can be carried out includes:

  • interviewing people one to one or in small groups to discuss career or education options;
  • identifying skills gaps and how to deal with them;
  • helping young people to draw up action plans for employment, education and training and supporting them to achieve these goals;
  • researching careers, options and support organisations to meet people's needs;
  • advising people on how to source relevant training courses or qualifications and what funding might be available;
  • providing advice on CV, applications, job hunting and interview techniques;
  • running small group sessions or larger presentations on all aspects of careers work and topics related to personal development;
  • helping people to understand the current job market;
  • liaising and negotiating with other organisations on behalf of people;
  • using IT for administrative tasks, such as recording interactions with and tracking clients;
  • using computer-aided guidance packages, skills assessment tools, career planners, psychometric tests and personal inventories;
  • writing careers literature or sourcing information products from elsewhere for use within the service;
  • planning and organising careers fairs and conventions;
  • keeping up to date with labour market information, legislation, and professional and academic developments by visiting employers, training providers and training events run by educational and professional bodies;
  • managing a caseload of clients.

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Written by AGCAS editors
January 2014

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