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Career Advisor Profile – Jenni Proctor

Career Advisor Profile – Jenni Proctor

Could you tell us more about yourself?

I am the mother of three wonderful adult children and the wife of a very supportive man.  I still have many of my childhood friends and the values that come from growing up in a secure environment in a country town.  I love travel and many forms of music and believe that growing older is inevitable but growing old in your attitudes is not an option.

You are very active in the CDAA, could you tell us more about that?

When I started my own career transition I was advised by Paul Stevens to attend my first AACC (CDAA) conference. I didn’t know any career counsellors, I just knew I wanted to become one! I enjoyed that so much that I decided the best way to get to know other people working in the career profession was to get involved in their Association. Becoming Queensland President and being on the National Committee were not pre-planned, but they were both great experiences.

How many years have you been a career advisor?

My work with careers started nearly 8 years ago.

Why did you decide to become a career advisor?

My interest in Career Development started when I took a job as a receptionist for a “Personnel” company (now there’s a phrase you don’t hear much anymore!) in London as a young backpacker.  Everything about the work made sense to me and somehow I knew that I needed to work in that profession.  It took me many years and two careers before I finally studied Career Development and started working as a Career Practitioner. 

What sets you apart from other career advisors?

I have a fascination with mid-career change and transitions for mature workers.  This has developed into helping Baby Boomers plan their lifestyle for a non-traditional retirement, considering their employment and entrepreneurial options.  To enable me to support my clients in this way I have studied online marketing and internet businesses.

What is your approach to career development?

My approach is very influenced by the Systems Theory Framework.  People’s careers are impacted by everything around them and to help the person you must understand their context.  I have also noticed a lot of Planned Happenstance in my own life and the career narratives of clients.

What single event had the most impact on your career?

Winning an ACS Judith Leeson Excellence in Career Teaching award was important to me.  It was when the program we were running in a primary school started to be taken seriously. 

It was also when I realised that I had stopped thinking of myself as a teacher playing on the fringes of career development and started thinking of myself as a Career Practitioner who happened to still be earning a living as a teacher.

How do you stay up to date with new trends?

I read avidly, online and offline, and love reading the Australian Career Professional journal.  I attend the CDAA conference every year and as many professional development events as possible in Brisbane.

What trend do you think will have most impact on your work in the future?

I think that I am going to become very involved in using career development theories and best practice to assist Baby Boomers plan their biggest career transition of all.

How is the current economic situation impacting on your career advisory work?

This year has been a quieter year, without doubt, and clients have been more prepared to put up with unhappy work environments.

Are you starting to see more people thinking of making a career change?

Because career change is my main market I’m always seeing people wanting to make a career change.  It worries me that the concepts of ageism are so deeply entrenched in many government organisations and organisations, but despite that people still can and do make amazing career changes.  Attitude and networks are the key to their success.

What advice would you offer someone that is stuck in their career?

I advise them to carefully consider their personal criteria for their next job, based on their past experience.  Once they understand what really matters to them often they see that they can actually achieve that within the organisation where they are currently working, or in some other way in their lives.  Feeling stuck is very disempowering and many other problems can come from that feeling, so I advise people to take control in some way even if it is just that they know they are looking for a way out.

What career advice would you offer to job seekers not to do?

I always remind job seekers not to just send out mass mailings of identical resumes.  Tailoring the resume to each job is essential, as is adapting the cover letter.

If you had to start your career over again, what would you do differently?

I’d accept the outstanding job opportunity I was offered in Personnel in London and have worked in careers my whole working life earning megabucks.

What are your career goals?

I have two main career goals:

1.    To build Career Clarity into a strong systemised career development business, offering subcontracting work to other career practitioners.

2.    To make a major impact on the attitudes and sense of empowerment of mature workers, to change careers or forge new business ventures irrespective of age. 

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