Job profile

Careers Adviser

Careers Adviser Job Profile

What is a Careers Adviser?

As a careers adviser, you will be responsible for providing information, advice and guidance to those who need assistance when making important decisions about their education, training and work. 

You will need to be impartial when providing this type of counsel to your clients, based on training and study-related advice. You should always have your client’s best interests at heart and help them to make a decision about their future where they can reach their full potential. You may cover issues such as: 


  • Options for suitable careers
  • How to write a good CV and cover letter
  • The job application process
  • The current labour market
  • Skills development
  • Suitable training courses
  • Available funding for courses and training

You will be working with people of all ages from school children over the age of 13 to adults who may be seeking a career change or help with further training. 

Your meetings will usually be carried out face-to-face and these can be individual consultations or group work. However, you may also carry out meetings via an online platform, such as Zoom, or provide written help via email, social media or online chat. 


As a careers adviser, you'll need to:

  • Interview people one-to-one or in small groups to discuss their career or education options
  • Listen to their ideas and career aims
  • Identify skills gaps and how to deal with them
  • Help clients identify and consider the range of choices available to them and outline possible ways forward
  • Help clients develop their own career management skills
  • Draw up action plans for employment, education and training and support clients to achieve these goals
  • Discuss with clients how to overcome any barriers to reaching their goals and refer them to other agencies for advice where appropriate.

Specific activities can include:

  • Researching careers, options and support organisations to meet clients’ needs
  • Advising clients on how to source relevant training courses or qualifications and what funding might be available
  • Providing advice on CV, applications, job hunting and interview techniques
  • Running small group sessions or larger presentations on all aspects of careers work and topics related to personal development
  • Helping clients understand the current job market
  • Using computer-aided guidance packages, skills assessment tools, career planners, psychometric tests and personal inventories

Other activities may include:

  • Administrative tasks such as report writing and record-keeping
  • Writing careers literature or sourcing information products from elsewhere for use within the service
  • Planning and organising careers fairs and conventions
  • Keeping up to date with labour market information, legislation and professional and academic developments by visiting employers, training providers and training events run by educational and professional bodies
  • Managing a caseload of clients


Salaries will vary depending on a range of different factors, such as employer, location, experience and qualifications. According to Glassdoor, the average salary for a career adviser in the UK is £26,111. However, if you are self-employed or work on a freelance basis, you will set your own fees.

  • As a newly qualified careers adviser, you can expect to earn around £25,000 to £28,000
  • As you become more experienced, your salary can increase from £30,000 to £40,000 
  • Salaries for those at management level will be approximately £40,000+

Working hours

You can expect to work around 37 hours a week, Monday to Friday. However, there is the opportunity for part-time, temporary, fixed-term work, job-sharing and flextime. You might also be able to take a career break, depending on your business, clients and whether you are able to keep up to date with developments in the sector.

What to expect

​​You may work in a variety of locations including schools, colleges, community centres, job centres, libraries and housing associations.


  • Job opportunities exist in towns and cities throughout the UK.
  • You may have to travel during the day to different places of work and also to meet employers, training providers and professionals from other organisations. You may occasionally travel to other parts of the country for meetings and conferences, which could involve overnight stays.


There are two main ways to qualify as a careers adviser:

  • Take a specialist postgraduate careers guidance qualification
  • Train on-the-job in the workplace.

Graduates with a degree in any subject can apply to do a Postgraduate Diploma/Masters in Career Development, which incorporates the CDI-awarded Qualification in Career Development. These courses are available at several universities and take one or two years to complete depending on whether they are full or part-time.

Although you’ll typically need to have a degree, some providers will accept applicants with equivalent professional qualifications or suitable relevant experience. Courses include a mix of academic learning and work placements.

Alternatively, if you already work for a careers organisation, you could train on the job. Qualifications include the:

  • QCF Level 4 Diploma in Career Information and Advice – for those providing careers information and advice, but not guidance
  • QCF Level 6 Diploma in Career Guidance and Development – for those providing career guidance and development.


You will need to have:

must have skills:
  • Excellent communication and listening skills
  • The ability to motivate and build a rapport with a range of people
  • Flexibility and adaptability
  • An empathetic and non-judgemental approach to work
  • An understanding of the issues around confidentiality
  • The ability to work individually or as part of a team
  • The ability to manage your own caseload
  • Research skills for finding out information about a range of careers and training opportunities
  • Organisational skills
  • Analytical and problem-solving skills
  • The ability to work and stay calm under pressure
  • Familiarity with information technology.

Work experience

If you have experience working with young people or in an advisory role this will help your application stand out and will also provide you with the skills for success in the interview process. Experience where you are able to demonstrate good communication and listening skills, such as in a customer service role, is also valued.

Career prospects

Once you’ve gained experience there will be opportunities to move into a supervisory role and then on to a team leader or manager role. In more senior roles, you’ll be responsible for managing a careers centre or team of advisers. You’ll spend less time advising clients and more time on areas such as strategy.

Business adviser roles are open to graduates of all subjects. Some higher national diploma or degree subjects may be particularly relevant. Below are some of the courses on offer that will help you get your foot in the door to the world of Business Development. 


You can gain employment in the public, private and voluntary sectors – including schools, colleges and local authorities. 

The National Careers Service, available in England, is one of the largest employers of careers advisers. It runs an online and telephone advice service for those over the age of 13, with offices also located across England where people can book face-to-face appointments as long as they are over the age of 19. 

You could be employed at a National Careers Service telephone service centre or in one of their local offices. Work is contracted out to different careers organisations, and premises can include:

  • Schools or further education colleges
  • Jobcentres
  • Training providers
  • Libraries
  • Community centres
  • Probation offices
  • Housing associations
  • Healthcare settings
  • Charities
  • Places of worship
  • Local authorities.

Related Courses

Undergraduate related courses:

BA(Hons) Community Education 

Train to become a professional qualified Community Educator with a BA(Hons) in Community Education. 

This degree is perfect for those already interested in working with young people, adults and communities, to facilitate their critical and social education. 

Teaching is underpinned by theories and practices relating to youth and community work, equality and social justice, well-being and community empowerment.

Other related courses

Postgraduate related courses:

Post-graduate Certificate – Coaching and Mentoring

The programme is aimed at professionals from across the public, private and voluntary sectors (education, health, social work etc.) who have responsibility for training and supporting peer and colleague development.

Promoting cross-sector and inter-professional working, this programme explores the theory, practical implementation and management of coaching and mentoring in modern and varying workplace contexts.

To successfully complete this programme you’ll complete the following three core modules:

  • Critical self-evaluation and development
  • Situated Professional Learning
  • Contextualising Coaching and Mentoring
Other related courses
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