As a Work and Business Psychologist (officially known as an Industrial and Organizational Psychologist), I have seen countless pensive looks on people’s faces as they say some version of:
“But you’re a psychologist – doesn’t that mean you need to see people for a long time in order to see success with a client? And doesn’t that mean that you’re expensive?”
Since my PhD is in Psychology, many people assume that they’ll need to work with me for months at a time before they can see real results. In addition, they assume that career-related services will be beyond their budget. Thankfully, that’s not usually true. Sometimes, impactful and sophisticated instruction and support can be accomplished within hours or days of working with a client. Unlike Clinical Psychology, most of my client’s issues are not considered a deep-rooted problem that could potentially require many months (or longer) to work through.
Usually, I’m dealing with a professional or recent graduate who just needs some guidance to get further ahead on their career goals or to navigate their way out of a difficult work-related situation. I’ll admit that sometimes these things are easier said than done – otherwise, the person would solve the problem themselves. Over the years, I’ve become a highly-skilled Career Psychologist with unique expertise so it is entirely possible to achieve meaningful results in a timely fashion.
5 Situations Where Career Psychology Pays off – Very Quickly
1. Identifying Ways to Overcome Underemployment – I have worked with countless clients who have acquired a post-secondary education and earned some work experience but still aren’t earning what they expected. Or they’ve got the education and experience but they are not working in a satisfying role. In these situations, I help my clients find alternative roles where they can learn more valuable/marketable skills, apply what they already know, and earn more money. This helps them solve the problem of underemployment or being overqualified.
In some cases, we’ll start with some psychometric testing so that we get an objective look at some skills and interests that may be worth highlighting. In addition, we may reframe or repackage the client’s skills and experience so that a future employer can clearly see how the client’s unique qualifications and experience are a good fit for their needs even if they look different than what they were looking for.
2. Getting Screened in and Invited to a Job Interview – Unfortunately, I’ve seen many qualified people screened out of jobs that they’ve got the right education, skills, and experience for – all because their application wasn’t put together well. Something as simple as a one-hour consultation where I review the details in the job posting, your resume and cover letter can make the difference between getting an opportunity for an interview, or getting lost in a virtual pile. For years, I have supported the HR function, so I understand how most HR professionals do their screening. I can help you send out the right message via your resume and cover letter. Whether it’s a government job, a private-sector job or a position in the non-profit sector, even freelance work … your application sets you up for success or for disappointment.
3. Preparing for a Job Interview – There is no shortage of free resources online about how to prepare for a job interview. But, when you’re facing stiff competition for a job, it’s worth preparing more thoroughly and strategically. This will increase the odds that you’ll put your best foot forward and outshine the other candidates. For many jobs, committing a mere 1.5 to 3 hours of practice is enough. At work, like in sports, when the stakes are high, preparation is key (read this article about why some people rise to the occasion during big moments/opportunities but others choke).
4. Preparing for an Executive Level Board Interview – Often, the jump from a manager position to an executive role involves a Board Interview. During these pivotal interviews, the successful candidate needs to show that they have the appropriate knowledge and experience, but they also have leadership skills and behaviours that will help them get excellent results.
During these hiring or promotion processes, hiring board members often ask deceptively simple questions but they’re expecting comprehensive and nuanced responses. Far too frequently, candidates who would make extraordinary executives fail to express themselves and their abilities adequately in order to gain a favourable evaluation during these interviews.
When done properly, ‘decoding’ the common types of behavioural interview questions or role-plays only takes an hour or so, followed by some targeted practice and this can make all the difference in one’s career success.
5. Navigating Your Way Around a Workplace Bullying or Harassment Situation – Any situation that involves a toxic/abusive workplace can become very complicated for several reasons. Dealing with this type of negativity is stressful and it can be isolating when colleagues want to stay out of it to avoid becoming a target themselves, thus jeopardizing their livelihood. The tension can start to take a toll on the victim’s physical and mental health. Plus, the energy that it takes to make sense of what’s happening and remain productive doesn’t leave much extra energy to find an actual solution (see this article on finding ways to succeed despite obstacles). At a minimum, when people call me to discuss these scenarios, I can offer some advice. Depending on their preferences, I can help them find a new role – sometimes with the financial support of their employer and/or interventions from unions, lawyers, mediators, or investigators.
If you’d like to discuss any of the issues addressed in this blog, I invite you to contact me privately by phone (I offer a no-obligation, free 15-minute initial phone consultation), email, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook.
More than career coaching, it’s career psychology®.
I/O Advisory Services – Building Resilient Careers and Organizations.™
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