Counselling can help job seekers become stronger candidates

Having to lay off an employee is never an easy task. Though not much can be done to reduce the anxiety that workers feel at the prospect of unemployment, some companies try to lessen the blow by offering their former employees access to career-transition counselling. And offering such services to employees when parting ways can be beneficial to the employer as well, according to those in the industry.

Sandra Baxter says career-transition counselling has helped her in her job search.

The services offered to her by Toronto-based Knebel Watters & Associates (KWA) has provided Baxter with a sounding board off which to bounce ideas and concerns and from which to gain another perspective, said Baxter, who has worked in the IT field at a directorate level managing personnel and setting up PMO offices.

Another IT executive who’s using career-management counselling says the process has helped to make him a better candidate.

“When you get laid off, it can be a tough time, but at the same time, it can be a great career opportunity to really understand what you are interested in. It gives you a chance to really think through what you want to do next,” said the executive who didn’t want his name to be used.

As a result of the tough market conditions, business was shrinking at the company where he used to work, he said. The company needed to reduce the number of senior people it had. The career-transition counselling was a part of the severance package, and it has helped him to clarify what he’s after in his next position, in terms of the type of work he wants and the type of culture he’d feel comfortable with.

In fact, the executive has decided that he wants to save some of his counselling hours at Toronto-based IQ Partners Inc. for when he is once again employed, as it will help him in directing his career. Through the self-assessment sessions he’s discovered that he moves up through organizations too quickly. He wants to better pace his movement up the ranks in future jobs so that he can get to know a company better. He hopes that having someone to talk to about his career will help him do that.

Baxter said the service has given her a chance to network with her peers. Along with tips on her resum