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How to know who to trust to help you with your career?


A question I often get asked is, how can I assist someone in finding the best source of career help for them? 

In this blog I aim to answer that question and offer a guide as to where you can find the right career support for you.

Many people I speak with and hear about are either laid off, worried they might be, or starting to question whether they want to do what they are doing now for the rest of their career. 

For many, it’s a nervous and sometimes stressful time.

Most of them are unsure where to start, and with the press full of news about recessions and job losses, how do you know who to trust to help you with your career?

My hope is that the information within this post will help you to find someone who is qualified and experienced to help you with your career. After all, your career is vital in affording a home for you and your family and enjoying the time you spend with them and your friends. 

So, you don’t want to risk investing your money and time with someone providing advice that, whilst well intentioned, is unqualified and has little foundation in career strategy.

I’m seeing many people, who themselves are worried about what the future holds, offering advice or career help simply as a way to earn money. Inadvertently, this could prove more harmful than it is beneficial.

Making the right career coaching investment

Questions to ask yourself when choosing a Career Coach / Advisor / Guide 

  • Are they a member of their professional body? 

The UK’s professional body for Career Professionals (Coaches, Advisors, etc) is The Career Development Institute (The CDI). By working with a member, you ensure that you are working with someone who has agreed to work to a strict code of ethics.

  • Are they properly qualified / accredited?  

Did you know that the UK has an official Register of Career Development Professionals? You can search it at Find A Professional Everyone on the register has career qualifications or has demonstrated equivalency through a rigorous accreditation process.

  • If you are not in the UK look out for either: 

CCI (Institute of Career Certification International) accreditation at CMF or CMP level. ICCI accreditation is the gold-standard international accreditation. Their website is Career Certification

Or find out what your country’s accrediting body is and check that the career coach you intend to hire is in it.

  • Are they up-to-date with CPD (Continuous Professional Development)? 

A true Career Professional is continually updating their skills so they can provide you with the best possible service. They’ll be happy to talk with you about relevant CPD they’ve undertaken recently. 

  • Do they have a good reputation? 

Ask to see testimonials and recommendations. You may well be able to see these ahead of speaking, on their website, on LinkedIn, or on other platforms.

Ask about the sort of people they work with and the results they’ve achieved. It’s also ok to ask them why they do what they do. Are they passionate about helping you, or is it just a job?

  • Can they help with your particular career issue? 

Tell them about what you want to achieve and what help you are looking for.  

Career Coaching/Advice/Guidance is relevant to young people, older workers, and everybody in between. Some Career Professionals specialise in particular areas, so if they feel that they aren’t exactly the right match for you they will probably refer you to someone who is.

  • Do you click? 

Career conversations are personal and so it’s important that you get on with your coach. Talk to more than one Career Professional if you need to so that you can both be confident and comfortable in working together.

  • Are they insured?  

Make sure that whoever you choose to work with has relevant Professional Liability / Indemnity insurance.

Circumstances when you should consider avoiding certain support:

  • Someone who isn’t serious 

There are undoubtedly a few very good career coaches out there who are not members of The CDI or appropriately qualified. I know some of them (and secretly, I’d love it if they were members because they are great people and great coaches).  

Without knowing people personally, the safest way for you to ensure that you hire a good career coach and be sure that they are professional is to check that they do belong to their professional body. Ideally, they’ll also be on, or working towards getting, onto that ‘UK Register of Career Development Professionals. 

After all, you’d expect your hairdresser to be properly trained and insured as  you would your dentist, doctor, nurse and solicitor, in addition to the host of other professionals you hire throughout your life.

If they aren’t insured or properly qualified / accredited, it should set alarm bells ringing as to whether they are a Career Professional, or more interested in your money than your success.

  • Someone who does it all for you  

There is a well-known proverb you may have heard before: Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish and you will give him the skills to feed himself for a lifetime.

There’s nothing wrong with paying someone to write your CV, as it may be an investment you want to make. However, a CV is your introduction to an employer and therefore represents you. So, if you choose this service, spend wisely and find someone who takes time to get to know you, so your CV does  the job it’s intended to do.

Remember, you will need to tweak your CV over time or have different CVs for different jobs to which you’re applying. It is always preferable to know how to do it yourself; and this is something a Professional Coach can support you with. Over time it will prove to be a shrewd investment. 

Working out your ideal job isn’t as simple as assessing your skills, it’s also about your passions and what you want to achieve in your career. Someone who is not a Professional Coach probably will not have the skills, experiences or access to the resources needed to help you make the right choice. They can help you utilise your network (LinkedIn, for example) and help you identify opportunities in the hidden job market.

Protect your investment

My main advice would be to do your research and feel confident that whoever you engage with as your Career Professional is informed, supportive and likely to provide a return on your investment. Because that’s what working with a Career Professional is. An investment of your time and money in YOUR future. Like any investment you should expect a return.

What you learn from a Career Professional will help you now, shape your future and stay with you throughout your career. It will provide benefits in both your work and personal life.

Add questions to build in conversation:

  • Over to you have you ever invested in support for your career before?
  • How did you come to choose your career coach or advisor?
  • Are you familiar with the concept of career coaching?


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