Giving career advice a career?
November 15, 2010 5:27 AM   Subscribe

I am in England taking a career break for graduate school for public and industrial policy. In the last seven days I have been approached about 10 times for career counseling by students (mainly in the media department) looking for placement ideas and opportunities. I am thinking of charging for it now. What are the best, least expensive ways to get started with career advising?
posted by parmanparman to Work & Money (1 answer total)
Well, my background sounds similar to yours in that I'm also a professional (ex-banker) who left his field in 2008 to take another Masters.

While back in Business School I was regularly approached by students by classmates or their friends who knew my background and professional expertise. I considered helping my fellow students part of paying back folks that helped me when I was lacking relevant professional experience and a network.

But I didn't let these queries get out of control, not helping with some that seemed very vague or "tell me how to do it" (they just wanted someone else to find them a job). So over a coffee I'd evaluate CVs, suggest areas of exploration for careers (banking is remarkably rich in that there was multiple career paths even for folks with identical degrees) and that really was about it. I helped them understand how to find a job rather than find them a job.

If you let students take all your time, every moment of your waking day they more than likely will, so I'd suggest capping your exposure. In my case charging didn't seem realistic for many reasons - for example, what would be the specific product I was offering, what were the success criteria to insure happy customers, refund policies (as once money is involved, at some point someone is gonna be unhappy so you better have policies in place that a fee paying customer is aware of before cash changes hands), etc, etc.

And from my own personal perspective, I was much, much happier just giving away what expertise and assistance I could, all the while realising that my most limited commodity - time - had to be valued first and foremost by myself.
posted by Mutant at 7:25 AM on November 15, 2010

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