Career Guidance in a Nutshell

Have you ever looked for help of a career guide or counsellor? Do you actually know what a career guide is doing? How can he or she help you with your career choices and during career changes? What theories career guides work with to accompany you on your journey?

Understanding the role of a career guide

What does the term “career guidance” actually mean? There are different notions used when we talk about career support, e.g. “career counseling”, “career development”, “vocational counseling”, “vocational guidance”, “career information and advice”. These terms refer to diverse activities which are offered to help people with their careers and they can be included in one concept named “career guidance and counseling”. 

Career guidance services

A career guide can offer a wide range of support, or specialise in a certain domain. The most common services encompass providing career information, skill assessment, developing career management skills, personal guidance or coaching. Career guidance can be especially beneficial when you are at a crossroad of your career choice, when you undergo a career transition or career shift, when you start your career in a new country or when you wish to grow your career. Career guidance is provided in different settings such as employment offices, schools, NGOs, training centres etc. or by individuals.

Benefits of career guidance

Career guidance can bring a number of benefits both for young people preparing for their careers, as well as for those who have already many experiences or for those who are in a disadvantaged position at the labour market. Among those benefits are for instance:

  • Increasing awareness of different career options
  • Understanding requirements of different career paths
  • Acquiring skills and competences needed for certain professions
  • Increasing motivation, improving work habits, validating skills
  • Navigating own career path and understanding it

For those interested in more

If you wish to study more in-depth information of different career models, methods, approaches and theories, you might wish to take a closer look at these theories:

  • a/ Early theories (starting from the early 20th century) focused mainly on the content, the individual factors that shape individuals (personal traits, abilities, interests, values etc.). These theories perceived career decisions as a single static act (representatives: Parsons, Holland, Bordin, Brown etc.).
  • b/ Starting in the fifties in the 20th century, more attention was paid to the process-oriented factors. Newly established theories began to understand career development as a dynamic process involving a series of decisions (representatives: Ginzberg, Super, Gottfredson, Miller-Tiedeman and Tiedeman).
  • c/ Synthetic approach brings theories which work with both content and process. Following theories are working with context and change (Krumboltz, Social Cognitive Career Theory or SCCT, Cognitive Information Processing Theory or CIP and Contextualised Approach).
  • d/ A significant contribution to understanding of career development in existing social conditions brings a constructivist perspective (Savickas, Peavy). We can also draw inspiration from systemic approach (systemic coaching) and strength-based approaches.

You can also draw inspiration form the literature below.


OECD. Investing in career guidance. 2019. Available at:

PEAVY, V. Sociodynamic counselling. A constructivist perspective. DZS pro Centrum Euroguidance, Praha 2013. ISBN 978-80-87335-55-0

AMUNDSON, N. E. Active Engagement: the “being“ and “doing“ of career counselling. Ed. 3. Ergon Communications, Canada 2009. ISBN 978-0-9684345-8-1

PATTON, W., MCMAHON M. Career Development and Systems Theory. Connecting Theory and Practice. Second Edition. Sense Publishers, Rotterdam 2006. ISBN 90-77874-13-5

HOLAHAN, C. J. et al. Coping, stress resistance, and growth: Conceptualizing adaptive functioning. In: Handbook of coping: Theory, research, applications. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1996.

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Author: Team AVITEUM, Prague / Czech Republic

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