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Career Psychology – Five Ways It Can Work Quickly For You

Written by: Dr. Helen Ofosu, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


As a Work and Business Psychologist (officially known as an Industrial and Organizational Psychologist), two of the questions I get most are:

Positive young female therapist gestures as she talks with a female client.

“But you’re a psychologist, doesn’t that mean you need to see clients for a long time in order to see success? And doesn’t that mean that you’re expensive?” Since my PhD is in Psychology, many people assume they’ll need to work with me for months before they get results. In addition, they assume that career-related services will be beyond their budget. Thankfully, that’s not usually true. When it comes to career psychology, impactful and sophisticated instruction and support can be accomplished within hours or days of working with a client. Unlike within clinical psychology, most of my client’s issues are not considered deep-rooted problems that could require months (or longer) to work through. Over the years, I’ve become a highly-skilled Career Psychologist with unique expertise, so it is entirely possible to achieve meaningful results in a timely fashion.

Usually, I work with an established professional or a recent graduate who just needs some guidance to move ahead on their career goals or to navigate their way out of a difficult work situation. I’ll admit that sometimes these things are easier said than done – otherwise, the person would solve the problem themselves.

Five Situations in Which Career Psychology Pays Off Very Quickly

1. Getting Screened in for a Job Interview

Over the years I’ve seen many good candidates get screened out of hiring processes for which they were highly suitable – all because their application wasn’t well presented. Something as simple as a one-hour consultation in which I review the details of the job posting, your resume and a cover letter can make the difference between getting an opportunity for an interview, or getting lost in the virtual pile. I have supported the HR function for years, so I understand how most HR professionals do their screening. I can help you send the right message via your resume and cover letter. Whether it’s a government job, a private-sector job, a position in the non-profit sector, or even freelance work, your application sets you up for success or disappointment.

2. Identifying Ways to Overcome Underemployment

I have worked with countless clients who have acquired a post-secondary education and earned some work experience but still aren’t earning what they expected. Or they’ve got the education and experience, but they are not working in a satisfying role. In these situations, I help my clients find a role in which they can learn more valuable/marketable skills, apply what they already know, and earn more money.

In some cases, we’ll start with some psychometric testing to get an objective look at the skills and interests worth highlighting. In addition, we may reframe or repackage the client’s skills and experience so that a potential employer can see clearly how the client’s unique qualifications and experience are a good fit for their needs, even if they look different than the candidate thought they were looking for.

3. Preparing for a Job Interview

There is no shortage of free resources online about preparing for a job interview. But, when you’re facing stiff competition for a job, it’s worth preparing more thoroughly and strategically and increasing the odds that you’ll outshine the other candidates. For many jobs, committing a mere 1.5 to 3 hours of practice is enough to make a difference. Preparation is key at work, like in sports when the stakes are high. Look at his article about why some people rise to the occasion during big moments/opportunities, but others choke.

4. Preparing for an Executive Level Board Interview

The jump from a manager position to an executive role often involves a board interview. During these pivotal interviews, the successful candidate must show that he/she has the ideal knowledge and experience, leadership skills and behaviours to get excellent results in the role.

During these hiring processes, board members may ask deceptively simple questions, but they’re expecting comprehensive and nuanced responses. Far too frequently, I see candidates who would make extraordinary executives fail to express their abilities adequately. When done correctly, ‘decoding’ the common types of behavioural interview questions and role-plays only takes an hour or so. This can make all the difference in an interview.

5. Navigating a Workplace Bullying or Harassment Situation

Any situation involving a toxic or abusive workplace can become very complicated for several reasons. First, dealing with ongoing negativity is stressful. Colleagues often want to stay out of it to avoid becoming a target themselves. The tension and isolation can affect the victim’s physical and mental health. Plus, the energy it takes to make sense of what’s happening while remaining productive doesn’t leave much energy to find a solution (see this Brainz Magazine article on finding ways to succeed despite obstacles). At a minimum, when people call me to discuss toxic workplace scenarios, I can offer advice. Depending on their preferences, I can even help them find a new position. Clients are surprised to learn they can sometimes move into a new role without having to go it alone. I’ve been able to help clients move into new jobs with the financial support of their employer and interventions from unions, lawyers, mediators, and/or mental health professionals.

Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and visit my website to find more ways to become more resilient in your career.


Dr. Helen Ofosu, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Dr. Helen Ofosu has been practising Industrial / Organizational Psychology (also known as Work or Business Psychology) in the public and private sectors for almost 20 years. In addition to Career and Executive Coaching, her specialties include the assessment and development of leadership skills, and navigating the complex issues of workplace bullying, harassment, diversity and inclusion. Dr. Ofosu is one of the founding officers of the Section on Black Psychology, Canadian Psychological Association and she’s thrilled to have written a new book “How to be Resilient in Your Career: Facing Up to Barriers at Work” that will be published by Routledge in February 2023.



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