Job descriptions and industry overviews

Careers adviser

25 Jan 2023, 13:37

A careers adviser offers information, guidance, support and advice to people seeking work, further education and training.

Blurred image of a person in a professional setting, possibly a careers adviser at work.

A careers adviser offers information, guidance, support and advice to people seeking work, further education and training. Their work can include the administration, interpretation, and feedback of psychometric tests. Working in a variety of settings, they provide both one-to-one and group advice to students, job-changers and the unemployed.

Outside of private practice, career guidance services in Ireland are both education and labour market based and are located within educational institutions and in local employment centres.

Within educational settings, careers advisers work in higher and further education institutions, and through second chance education programmes.

In the labour market, services for jobseekers, persons with disabilities and asylum seekers are provided by Ireland's national and local employment services (NES/LES). Key activities offered include:

  • Labour Market information: Providing information and advice on areas that relate to the client labour market situation, such as welfare-to-work issues, education, employment and training opportunities, including referral to related services.
  • Mediation and Guidance: Registration and orientation; providing intensive personalised guidance leading to development of a career path plan; career counselling; referral to other local employment service networks (LESNs) or third party agencies; assistance with securing active labour market programmes and employment; post-placement supports.
  • Group Guidance: Providing tailored options to meet the needs of a specific client group.
  • Client-Employer Liaison: Contacting employers, identifying vacancies suited to clients and potential training needs; advocating on behalf of clients; information and referral to job vacancies.
  • Post-Employment Programme Assistance: Providing the full range of LESN supports to persons experiencing difficulty in accessing employment from labour market programmes.
  • Post-Training/Education Programme Assistance: Providing the full range of LESN supports to persons experiencing difficulty in accessing employment from employment related training or education.

Work activities

  • Providing one-to-one guidance to individuals in relation to their educational and career development.
  • Identifying individual needs using a variety of techniques including guidance interviews, psychometric assessment, computer-aided guidance packages and other evaluative instruments.
  • Planning, developing and delivering group guidance sessions on all aspects of careers development and work related topics.
  • Using information technology for a wide range of administrative and informational tasks.
  • Establishing links with employers, relevant agencies, professional bodies and further education and training institutions to keep up to date with labour market information, legislation, professional and academic developments.

Work conditions

Travel: during the working day not a major feature of the job apart from attendance at conferences, college open days, employer visits etc.
Working hours: Normal office hours with additional hours common especially for those working in HE institutions, though those in private practice will commonly work evenings and weekends.
Location: in towns or cities throughout the country.
Opportunities for self-employment: possible to work in private practice.

Typical employers

  • Private practice.
  • Universities and other HE Institutions both private and publicly funded.
  • FÁS and Local Employment Service (LES).
  • AEGI (Adult Educational Guidance Initiative) guidance services and Youthreach centres nationally.

Career development

There is no structured career path so career development depends very much on the employing organisation.


Salaries vary considerably depending on employer. Those working in HE institutions are normally on an incremental salary scale which varies from institution to institution – in general those working in the university sector being paid more than those other HE colleges.

Specific degree subjects required

Open to non-graduates and graduates of any discipline. Qualifications vary depending on institution. Some may require a specific qualification in career guidance while others will accept relevant experience or related qualifications such as HR or recruitment consultancy.

For those seeking membership of the Institute of Guidance Counsellors a recognised qualification in guidance is required.

Other relevant degree subjects

  • Psychology
  • Human resource management.

Postgraduate study

A postgraduate qualification in guidance is available including one in adult guidance.


Further training is provided through in-service courses.

Tips for applications

Job applications need to be really well prepared and error free

Skills and qualities

  • Highly conscientious and committed to the highest standards of professional service.
  • Capacity to absorb vast qualities of information.
  • Excellent research skills combined with high level of computer literacy.
  • Excellent communication and organisational skills.
  • Excellent interpersonal and networking skills.
  • Caring and motivated by the best interests of clients.
  • Willing to engage in ongoing professional development.
  • Ability to relate well to different age groups and ability levels.

gradireland editorial advice

This describes editorially independent and impartial content, which has been written and edited by the gradireland content team. Any external contributors featuring in the article are in line with our non-advertorial policy, by which we mean that we do not promote one organisation over another.

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