Maybe I need professional help?

Where I try to get someone else to tell me what to do with the rest of my professional life… and hopefully, for free.

Sometimes you need to talk it out with someone impartial, who isn’t your family or friend. You know, someone who can look at you and your plans to become the next great vlogger about living vegan, opening a 3D-printing company or designing board games from your basement, and can say, “Oh, don’t do THAT!”

Sometimes, we just need a professional voice to help us think clearly about our next career move.

If you are just about to leave your current employment, and particularly when it’s a lay-off situation, Human Resources could offer you services to help you transition to your next job or career. Couldn’t hurt asking.

Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash

A good place to start:

I’m located in Montreal, so I begin with Emploi Quebec’s Educational & Career Counselling site. It lists employment counselling services in person, on the phone and online. Programs by Emploi Quebec are offered through non-profit organizations and differ depending on clients’ needs. Many of these organizations offer services mostly in French, but some offer programs in English as well.

Depending on your location, you will have to go through your Provincial or State employment website and search through local job search programs to find employment counselling, and specify your needs.

Here, in Montreal, for example, the Centre Eurêka is specifically for unemployed francophones age 40 and over seeking career counselling. While the Côte-des-Neiges Job Search Centre offers employment counselling services and is bilingual English/French.

The difference between employment counsellors and career counsellors:

One is not the same as the other. Employment counsellors would be able to help you find a job depending on your skillset, education and professional interest. They’ll help you put together your cv, cover letter and advise you on the interview process. They’ll guide you through the job hunting. Career counsellors will help you with career transitions or shifts.

And then, there are the private career counsellors:

If you seek out one-on-one personalized services like these, expect to dish out some serious cash. Anecdotally, I’ve heard of career counselling costing as little as $1,000 for services rendered to between $3,000 and $7,000.

According to Noomi, the Professional Coach Directory, expect to pay a Career Coach between $25 to $75 per hour, and between $1,000 to $2,500 for a commitment of 3–6 months (source: Noomi article).

Wait! What’s the difference between a Career Counsellor and a Career Coach?

Photo by Nik MacMillan on Unsplash

A career counsellor will look at your background, provide you with industry information, and then advise you on finding a career — whether it’s a small shift or an outright change.

A career coach looks at your personal strengths, life goals and values, and helps you find the career taking those under consideration, specifies Noomi in an article here.

However, take note! Career coaching is not regulated in Canada. Credentialing, licensing, registration and certification is a provincial responsibility in Canada. According to the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association, career counselling is currently regulated in Quebec, Ontario, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, but not in other provinces or territories. Career counselling in North America is usually a licensed profession.

If you do want to find a career coach, there are regulatory bodies like the International Coach Federation which certifies the coaches listed on Noomi. And it always helps to go with a recommendation, so hit up your friends and family. They may know someone.

But I’m cheap and now unemployed so…

It’s unlikely I can spare $1,000 so my next step would be to check out those local Job Search Clubs, listed on Emploi Quebec’s website. I haven’t updated my CV or written a cover letter since I began clerking at The Montreal Gazette in 1994! I’m going to need some serious help!

Next week on this blog: Getting serious help


Follow me on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and feel free to drop me a line. I’d love to compare notes with fellow career shifters.

More of my writings > I jumped into the 52-week writing challenge by The Writing Cooperative and began writing on Week 40 of this year.

Note to readers: I do not get paid or remunerations from anyone or any company I write about in my blog.


Jeanine Lee

Visual Journalist & Designer keen on Media Literacy, Educational Technology and Storytelling. Formerly at the Montreal Gazette. Currently looking to the future and writing this weekly(ish) blog about career shifting, re-employment, freelance vs. part-time work, going back to school (!!), and working through it all as a mother of two pre-teens and wife to one very patient man.

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