Chapter 7. Career Counselling

7.1 Background information

Objective of this chapter of the toolkit is to support you in providing basic information on labour market to the young people you will be meeting with and in inspiring them to start thinking about their professional careers. You will get knowledge on key rules in planning owns career, key terms concerning labour market and some tools helping to assess own professional predispositions. At the end of the chapter we propose you a set of exercises you can use meeting the young people. You don’t have to use all scenarios – chose the most suitable for you and your audience. Feel free to modify them if necessary.

Please have time to duly perform all exercises and tasks proposed below. This includes searching by your own for appropriate resources in your language, reading recommended texts and testing the tools before you propose them to the youth.

We wish you good luck!

7.2 Let’s start!

“What profession I would like to have in the future?” Do you remember when you asked yourself seriously this question for the first time? Who you wanted to be? Why did you choose this profession? Please think for a while and write down the answers:

I was……… years old when I was considering seriously for the first time what profession to choose.

I wanted to be……………………………………………………………………………………………………………

I chose this profession because ………………………………………………………………………………

If your studies, volunteer activity, hobby or job is similar to the profession you had considered in the past and they give you satisfaction, you are lucky. Most young people have no idea who they would like to be in the future or their choice is random, based on what professions they know. Usually they know only standard professions as teachers, shop assistants, policemen, doctors, actors, etc. Thus, it is crucial to “broaden their horizons” showing other, new and perspective professions they could have (more on this subject: About future professions). Sometimes, they aren’t ready even to think about their professional future or even about their future. In this case, it is better to start with asking them to imagine how they would look like in age of 30, where would they live, how their flat / house would look like, which people they see around them, how they would spend their day etc.

Let’s continue recalling your own experience. Have you received any help in choosing your profession? How did you know that this profession would be appropriate for you? How you defined your further education path? Please think for a while and write down the answers:

I receive the following help in choosing my profession from the following people / organisations / institutions: ………………………………………………………………………………………..…

I didn’t receive help in choosing my profession. I coped on my own. Now I think that …….…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

I knew that I would be a good………………………(name of the profession you had chosen), because…………………………………………………………………………………………………….…………….

After having chosen to be a …………………………(name of the profession you had chosen), I planned my education as follows: ……………………………………………………………………………..

The other decisions I took, were: ……………………………………………………………………………………

Again, if you were able to answer to all the question above, you are lucky. Most young people don’t plan their career path and don’t receive professional help in defining their strengths and weaknesses (more about what kind of help they could receive: Career guidance  – what is it about?)

7.3 Being a role model

Assuming that you will be meeting much more younger people than you, you must accept that you will be a role model for them. A role model is a person whose example, success, behaviour, experience, etc. can be followed by the others. You don’t have to be an expert in career counselling. Your role is to inspire them, empower them (“yes, you can!”) and to give them some basic information.

Your potential impact on future decisions to be taken by your audience will be bigger, if you:

use examples or stories from your own life,

clearly point out key messages you would like to pass,

use simple language and simple constructions, including simple phrases,

ask questions to sustain interest of the youth to your messages,

mention what you would done differently in your audience age,

leave enough time for questions and let the youth to ask you for what really concern them or make them worry.

Please remember, that is better to say less, but strongly, than to say more, but cursorily. Try to focus on what really matters. Before the meeting write down a maximum of 3 key messages. For example, if you study IT or you are a programmer, your list of key messages may look as follows:

learning is fun, if that’s you who chose what to learn,

knowledge of English is an entry pass to a whole word,

science fiction books stimulate imagination.

People love real-life examples and stories. It would be great if you could share some from your life, illustrating the key messages that you would like to pass. Thanks to them your audience would better understand and remember your messages.

For example, do not tell that learning foreign languages is important nowadays, but tell a story: “When I was teenager a group of American tourists came to my village. They asked me for a road to a local library. Despite following English at school, I couldn’t describe it to them. I was ready to die of shame! That day I decided to learn by heart all new vocabulary, make all my homework and even, learn English by myself in my free time thanks to the Internet resources.  Now, thanks to good knowledge of English, I’m working for an international company”.

You might be “tested” by your youth audience. You might be asked questions leading to “incorrect” answers in a school environment (e.g. that you gave up with your high school, because it had been too boring). Just act naturally!

7.4 Career guidance – what is it about?

When we asked you to remind yourself whether you had received any help in choosing your profession and what kind of help it was, we had in mind whether you received a career guidance. A career guidance means providing assistance to people (not necessarily young) to help them in making educational choices (e.g. what kind of school to choose), training choices (e.g. what new language they should take up) or which profession to choose. It is also about providing assistance to those, who have a job, but want to upskill, to re-skill, to change a profession or to manage their profession in any other way.

The career guidance consists of:

a career information – providing information on, for example: what are professions in demand on labour market, what professions are the most risky for being unemployed, what are precise tasks to be performed on a given job position, what school / course should be finished for different professions, what professions need a formal exam to certify qualifications, what skills are the most valued by employers, how to apply for a job, etc.

a career counselling – providing counselling focused on the specific issues faced by particular people (e.g. diagnosis of own strengths and weaknesses, attribution of professions the most suitable for a given person).

Career information is increasingly accessible on the internet.

In Poland the most complex information on different professions can be found on the The portal contains a catalogue of more than 130 professions described as follows:

what are key tasks to be performed within a given profession,

where do a person work and in which conditions,

what skills should a person have,

what style of work is connected with a given profession,

how to get a given profession,

useful links,

a list of similar professions to a given one.


The portal contains also:

a guide on a labor market (how to look for a job, how to look for a job abroad, how to get the first working experience, how to develop vocational qualifications, how to choose a profession, how to set up own enterprise, how to receive an unemployment benefit),

a tool entitled “Your Potential” that allows to assess own skills and qualifications (more about this tool: What colour is your parachute?).


It is also worth recommending to see a catalogue of professions at an official portal run by the Ministry of Labour: Although it hasn’t been updated for a while.

Another popular portal, that we can recommend in Poland, is People can not only learn how to write a CV (based on ready to use formats), get familiarized with key trends (e.g. in which professions employers have been mostly looking for employees), but also they can take part in a simulation of a job interview and learn about how to search for job and which mistakes to avoid. They can also create their employee’s profile (visible for employers) and reply to job offers.

In Norway there is possible to get informtion about available jobs on the market through several websites. The most popular ones are (private website run by Schibsted Media Group), (run by Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration)  and

The are also seleral websites posting vacancies for spesific part of the labour marked like (engineering and technical vacancies), (media and press related vacancies)

In Romania, young people can find information about available jobs on the market, using specialized websites, such as:

National Agency for Employment, where people can look for jobs, and companies can add jobs:, –  the portal that works as a job fair, and also provides career counseling services – online (success stories, articles providing advices for CVs, job interviews, competences to be developed, etc.) –  the portal that works as a job fair, and also provides career counseling services – online (success stories, articles providing advices for CVs, job interviews, competences to be developed, etc.) – the portal that works as a job fair, and also provides career counseling services – online (success stories, articles providing advices for CVs, job interviews, competences to be developed, etc.)

Career counselling – as it needs a personal approach – is conducted on one-to-one basis or in small groups. They can take a form of career planning workshops (one of the most popular career planning methodology is called “Parachute”; more about a methodology on which the course is based: What colour is your parachute?)

In Poland people can be assisted for free by a career counsellor (doradca zawodowy) in the following institutions / organisations:

County Labour Offices (Powiatowe Urzędy Pracy) – although the service is accessible only for registered unemployed people,

Centres for Career Information and Planning (Centra Informacji  i Planowania Kariery Zawodowej), operating at each of 16 Regional Labor Offices (Wojewódzkie Urzędy Pracy). The centres offers individual career counselling, group workshops and psychological support. Centres are employment agencies. Services are accessible for everybody,

Career offices at high schools (Akademickie biura karier) – services are accessible for students and graduates of a given high school. They are operating at most of high schools

Voluntary Labour Corps (Ochotnicze Hufce Pracy) are  state-run organisational units working to prevent the social exclusion of young people, including unemployment. They offer career counselling and employment services (e.g. Mobile Vocational Information Centres, Job Clubs, Youth Career Centres). To find more:,

public pedagogic and psychological counselling centres (poradnie pedagogiczno-psychologiczne) offer a wide range of services for children and their parents, including career information and counselling,

public secondary schools – school vocational counsellors should provide information on different professions, potential schools to choose and help in assessing owns skills and predispositions,

non-governmental organisations active in a field of professional activation, counteracting unemployment and supporting entrepreneurship. To find one in your neighbourhood please visit a data base on the biggest Polish portal for non-governmental organisations and choose: counteracting unemployment, supporting entrepreneurship,

other institutions and organisations, as a local public library if there is a need for such activity and funds to cover its costs. Seek for information in your neighbourhood.

In Romania people can get support in their professional careers using the following resources:

career counselling provided by the local agencies for employment;

career counselling provided by NGOs focused on helping young people to enter the labour market;

career counselling services provided by schools, and universities, through career offices or career centers;

specialized websites, such as:,;

recently, some companies developed their own programs or center for career management.


In Norway is is possible to get professional career counselling through career centers in each county. These centers are free to use for anyone above 19 years old and you get help with mapping your skills, putting together a CV and finding related jobs.

In addition almost all of the high schools, universities and university colleges have their own career senters available for their students, also free of charge. has a list of links to the institutions mentioned above.

There are also other NGOs and local institutions that are available especially for young people like

7.5 Key issues to know before choosing a profession

What we really recommend to you, is to let your young audience aware of some key issues they should know before choosing a profession.

It’s up to them to decide what profession to choose –  because their life depends on this decision! It may happen that their family or friends would like them to become a doctor, a lawyer, a farmer, a manager of the family business, etc. But they should search for their own way.

Choice of a profession don’t have to be a choice for a whole life. With age their interests and values will change, external conditions will change, thus they should keep flexibility and be opened for making something new, even hard to imagine or inexistent now.

When they will be considering their professional future, they should take into account:

their predispositions, so inherited features as temperament or abilities, that may working in a given profession make more difficult or easier (as reasoning, spatial orientation, strength, body coordination, hearing sensitivity, etc.),

their values, so what is important for them: independence, acceptance, respect, harmony, beauty, helping others, family, money, etc. Some professions enable implementation of precise values, for example a profession of an elderly caretaker enable of helping others,

their interests, so what activities attract them, make them engaged and happy. Encourage them to undertake new activities and to take experience in different fields – may be some fields are waiting for them to be discovered? Recommend them to become volunteers and use your own volunteering experience (if you have it) to show them how volunteering can contribute to personal development,

labour market trends, so real possibilities to work in a given profession. They should look for trends concerning professions they have in mind and check which professions are dying professions, so for which professionals it will be very hard or impossible to find job, and which are deficit professions (they are very likely to find job now) or future professions (it is predictable that such professionals will easily find job in the future) (more about this last category of professions: About future professions),

mobility, so their readiness to move to another village or city. Would they like to stay where they were born or were studying, or they don’t mind changing localization?

7.6 About future professions

As the world evolves, so do labor market trends. Try to explain to your young audience that the best bet would be to position themselves for jobs that are showing significant growth potential. The key is to plan a career in such a way so that their professions will be in demand in several years, not eliminated.

Thus is important to search for information on long-term labor market trends – in different trusted places, both online and offline. Always verify information you receive, because a choice of a profession is too important to make it based on one source.

Here you are examples of the most common trends:

an aging population will put healthcare workers such as doctors, nurses, physical therapists, home health aides, and pharmacists in more demand,

as more technology is developed, IT professionals such as programmers, security specialists, and administrators will continue to be in high demand,

alternative energies such as wind power, solar power and biofuels will create new career opportunities, from mechanics and plant managers to scientists, engineers, as those energies will become more important,

as the global business will be still developing, there will be a need for persons specializing in international law, tax codes, work and environmental regulations in different countries,

as marketing would consist rather in consumer education, demand for people who specialize in blogs, newsletters, website articles, whitepapers, and special reports will also increase.

7.7 What colour is your parachute?

What Colour is Your Parachute?  is an excellent manual for job-seekers and people willing to change a profession published by Richard Bolles, translated into 21 languages (including Polish, Romanian, please check if there is a Norwegian version) and regularly updated. The author encourages to look for a job that gives a new meaning to one’s life. He asks for skills, we use with pleasure, and in what fields we would like to use them. Then he gives a lot of practical advices how to look for job. We strongly recommend you to read this book in your language. It may change a way you are thinking of your future career.

The key in career planning workshops based on this methodology is to find owns the most loved “talents” – abilities (strengths), thank to which in some fields we reach over standard results and it gives us satisfaction. Abilities can be discovered while looking at owns achievements. Everybody has achievements – it means results, we are particularly proud of. They don’t have to be major successes as winning a competition. In a case of junior secondary school pupils it could be, for example: being an organizer of an amazing birthday party, taking very good care about owns dog and helping a classmate in a physics class test. Next step is to identify professions in which those abilities could be used. Identification needs knowledge on professions, thus it should be done in contact with a vocational counsellor or via an online tool with an algorithm linking abilities to appropriate professions.

There are at least two online tools based on this methodology:

eParachute – created by the Richard Bolles and his team, available in English for a small annual fee at,

Your Potential – created by the Foundation for Social and Economic Initiatives, available in Polish for free at If you know Polish, we strongly recommend you to register in this tool and devote at least 2-3 hours to identify your achievements, select your abilities which were behind those achievements and describe your dreaming working place. As the tool is linked to a catalogue of more than 130 professions in the end you will come up with a list of 10 most suitable professions for you.

To find more about the methodology itself please look at the Richard Bolles website: