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9 guidance questions

Every Careers Advisor has their own style, creative activities and questions they use in their one to one guidance meetings. Here are a selection of questions that we particularly like using with students.


We have included some context of when we might use them but please use your professional judgement as to when questions will be appropriate for the young people you're working with.


  1. When you consider where you are now vs where you want to be, what can you see standing in your way? - This helps students to consider barriers that they may not have thought about before. We would follow this up by thinking of solutions to overcome these barriers. This question can be asked whilst completing a fishbone diagram if the student is a visual learner.

  2. Where would you place yourself at the moment; still exploring career options, focused on one career but unsure which route you'll take to get there or focused on one career and ready to take action to get there? - You can follow this up by helping the student consider what action they could take to move to the next "stage". For example, if they're exploring, what would help them to focus? Work experience, a industry mentor etc.

  3. What career activities have you taken part in so far? Which one has helped you the most and why? - Students often can't name many careers activities (!) so this helps to open up conversation about what is and isn't a careers activity, the skills developed and what other activities they'd like to find for themselves.

  4. If someone offered you a job that paid more than your current job but would mean taking on more responsibility, and potentially more stress, would you take it? - This helps students think about their motivator for work, is it money or happiness?

  5. Whose the biggest positive influence in your life? - This can lead to conversation about what job they do, how has their job role shaped them and how they can use this positive influence.

  6. If money didn't matter and you could choose any career, would you choose something different? - We find this often brings up hobbies and interests that students haven't previously spoken or thought about when considering their career.

  7. What is your biggest fear about your plans for the future? - We only use this for students who are set on their pathway to help them think about where they may need to be resilient and who can help them.

  8. Who can help you and how? - This can be a now or in the future question and helps students to think about who makes up their professional and personal network.

  9. What three words would you use to describe yourself? Are these the same words your friends and families would use? - This helps students think about how they perceive themselves and how they think others may perceive them. It can lead on to discussion about how they want to be perceived by peers, teachers, employers etc and what they need to do to "show up" as that version of themselves.


Check back tomorrow for next post; 8 engagement tips.

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