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Career Advisor Profile – Katie Roberts

Career Advisor Profile – Katie Roberts

Could you tell us more about yourself?

When I was at school, I wanted to be either an actor, professional tennis player or ASIO spy. Unfortunately reality soon hit and I found myself in the first year of a Commerce/Law degree. After 18 months I became disillusioned and changed courses three times before graduating with a Bachelor of Science majoring in Psychology and Management. I have always been interested in careers and started reading the career section in the newspaper every week at the age of 14. I think people's choice of reading material provides an interesting insight into their career possibilities.  

 How many years have you been a career advisor?

After graduating from the University of Wollongong, I worked as a Recruitment Consultant for TMP Worldwide in London. I then returned to Sydney and started my own career consulting business in 2002. After 5 years of working by myself, I decided to expand the business and now employ a team of 15 consultants across Australia with offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane.

 Why did you decide to become a career advisor?

After working in a few different jobs, I struggled to find a role I liked so I started researching post graduate courses. There were hundreds of courses to choose from, which made me wonder how people made a decision about which course to study. That was my light bulb moment. It was then that I realised I wanted to become a Career Counsellor and help people make that choice.

 What sets you apart from other career advisors?

I have been in the same position that many of our clients find themselves in, so I can really relate to them. I have also worked in a variety of jobs (over 30!) so I have a good understanding of what many jobs involve.

 What single event had the most impact on your career?

I used to be terrified of public speaking so I enrolled in a Toastmasters course in 2003 and learnt how to overcome my nerves and build my confidence. Since completing the course I have spoken to groups of over 500 people at events and conferences across Australia. This has allowed me to build the profile of my business and accept speaking engagements that I would have otherwise turned down.

 How do you stay up to date with new trends?

I read career articles in journals and newspapers to stay abreast of the job market and I also subscribe to a number of recruitment newsletters to keep up to date with the latest employment trends and industry growth figures. 

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

Over the last 2 years we have seen an increase in redundancies, leading to a greater demand for our outplacement service. A tightening in the job market has also led to more people utilising our resume writing and interview training services to help them become more competitive when applying for jobs.

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

We are seeing more and more people prioritise job satisfaction and work-life balance over income. Many of our clients are making transitions from high paying corporate jobs like law and accounting into industries such as the arts, social services and the not-for-profit sector.

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

Think about what's most important to you in a job. E.g. money, flexible work hours, job satisfaction, challenging work etc. How does this fit with your current job? If your values are not aligned to your job, it's time to consider a career change. The next step is to meet with a Career Counsellor who can help you identify your career interests and values and give you independent advice on your career options. 

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

Avoid jumping into a new career or course without doing your research first and talking to people who work in the industry. Also, avoid sending the same resume to every recruiter. Your resume should be tailored for each job by highlighting your relevant skills and experience. 

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

Nothing! Trying different careers and courses has given me a realistic understanding of what many jobs involve and allowed me to understand and appreciate the anxiety people experience when they don't have a clearly defined career path. I have a much greater empathy for people who are stuck in their career as a result of my own experience.

What are your career goals?

To continue to grow my business by expanding into other states and keep improving the services we offer. This year we started providing free career counselling to groups of young people at risk and I'm keen to expand this service in 2011.

Anything else you would like to share?

Life is short. Don't waste it by working in an unfulfilling job! Remember this quote - 'Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.' - Confucius



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