I was honoured to be invited to the University of Western Sydney (UWS) Careers Expo this week.
As an alumni of UWS, Karin Fehlmann of Employer Liaison Coordinator Careers, Office of Employ-ability and Graduate Success found me on LinkedIn. Heads up it’s another great network to belong to.
Panel members included psychologists from the NSW Department of Education, Juvenile Justice, the Australia Psychological Society, Learning Links and the College of Professional Psychology.
As part of the Employability Panel we were asked questions by students. Here’s some of my advice for those early in their counselling career.
What advice would you give to students with regard to career planning and career options that you wish you would have known when you started off ?
Gain business, administration and presentation skills. Do a course in running a business. Be familiar with Excel, Word, PowerPoint, know how to type and be Social Media savvy.
I did a Certificate IV in Workplace Training and Assessment, this proved very useful and launched me into a training contract. Early on I learnt to touch type and have never looked back.
· What skills did you gain when you first started that assisted you to transition into the roles you have now?
I had people come up to me after the panel and say how much it meant to them to hear how my call centre experience when I first arrived in Australia. Customer service skills and problem solving abilities in the workplace, in your life are transferable skills. They are attractive to employers as they demonstrate you are well rounded.
· What are key skills required that can be developed?
Perseverance, adaptability and a yes mindset are key. Working as an intern in Relationships Australia I had field experience from the ground up. Invaluable for running a business organization and my psychology practice.
· How important has networking been to your career? Any tips?
Networking and have mentors is vital. I am the Randwick Mental Health Professionals Network Coordinator. The MHPN is a fabulous and free place to gain professional development points and meet others in your local area. Other psychologists are a great referral source. I like to have a mental health referrals for all over Australia. I get phone calls around the country, so I love to share my networks.
My other advice for early career therapists is to identify gaps and fill them. Aged Care, Employment Services, your local Council wherever other people may love your idea to run a mindfulness meditation group. Offer to give a presentation at an interagency. Belong to your professional body and associations. Join your Social Media groups – LinkedIn – please connect with me. Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube,Facebook join ours here: Resource Therapy Group on Facebook
Of course the classic advice still holds true. Volunteer for an organization – Lifeline, meals on wheels or training event. This gives you real world experience. I started out Youth line Wellington. It was a great opportunity and challenging.
At the Resource Therapy Institute we have had volunteers on our training workshops in the past. They get thousands of dollars of free training and benefit from networking with other health carers.
What’s your experience and suggestions you would offer an early graduate ?
Love to hear your thoughts and reflections. Please use the comment box, scroll down to the bottom. Thanks Philipa