Careers Advice: the easy matrix method

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011 - Careers Advice

Careers Advice: the easy matrix method


As a Recruiter and Professional CV Writer, I have seen many methods of giving job seekers Careers Advice. These normally split into two forms:

  1. Psyche testing
  2. Blue sky thinking

Now, while these are great for school leavers and recent graduates, they don’t work for most experienced job seekers. As most of our CV Writing clients are not in career transition, but do need some help in clarifying  what they want to do/could do next, we needed a system that worked for them.

So, we use a matrix based system. As long as you have some work experience, and know what you have got and some idea of what you like/want to do long term, it works: quickly, simply and effectively to get you focused on which jobs you should be applying for. The whole process takes less than an hour, and provides the job seekers with clear outcome orientated Careers Advice for Adults.

Note: This short article is an introduction to the system, but the complete system is available for free to all of our Professional CV Writing Service customers.

Careers Advice UK

OK, you now have some clear ideas about:

  • What drives you
  • What values you have
  • What you seek in a work environment

Firstly, don’t worry if what you want to do next is NOT what you did last, and what you have done up to now is everything that you don’t want to do going forward. That’s career change logistics, and we’ll come to that later.

Career Advice Questionnaire

The following chart has four parts:

  1. Horizontal         Sectors/Markets
  2. Vertical               Skills
  3. Centre                 Analysis
  4. Right                   Examples + References = Evidence

Fill in the first two sections of the chart with each in the appropriate sections, placing the most recent skills used at the top on the column, and the most recent markets worked in to the left:



















Careers Advice Service

The reason for your constructing the chart is simple: it uses the same the logic that an experienced Human Resources professional will do to assess your final Professional CV and job application. To enable that process:

  • Place X’s in the boxes where you have evidence/an example of using that skill in that market. Place a X in every box where you have such a market/skill combination
  • In the right hand column, write a simple reminder note – with a date – as to when you last deployed that skill
  • In the far right hand column place the name of someone who could act as a reference. If in doubt, pick your boss or manager

You now have the basic Careers Advice chart completed. Now, having worked this chart a few times, I am sure that over the next few days you will add some other skills/markets. The key issues is that you have both the latest one’s and the one’s that your mind is focusing on in the chart now, and that’s enough at present to work with.

Careers Advice: as the Human Resources professional sees it

There is one further step that we can now take with the matrix, to get the best approximation of how a Human Resources professional would see it. HR professionals have a saying:

  •  Skills deployed in the last 3-5 years are relevant and useable
  • Skills deployed in the last 5-7 years are retrainable
  • Beyond that is interesting work history!

For those of you who may have been contemplating career change: DON’T PANIC! The chart will help you with that, and I will show you how shortly.

So to see the chart as the HR professional would see it, place two lines in the chart (NB: I suggest that you use a think-nibbed coloured pen, such as a felt tip or a highlighter, to do this):

  1. Place the first line vertically downwards from the Sectors/Markets line at the top of the chart, so that everything to the left is aged five years or less
  2. Now place a similar line horizontally across the Skills side of the chart, with everything above the line is aged five years or less.

You should now have a quarterised chart, split as follows:


Chart Sector


Career choice indicator

Top Left Most recently used skills and market combination The area in which you worked most recently, and if it were hiring the most likely in which to get employed
Top Right Latest skills which you have deployed in older markets The easiest way to make a career change is through Transferable skills. These X’s indicate those areas
Bottom Left Latest markets, oldest skills Much like the top right sector, but you market knowledge may be limited. This is the area in which you are most likely to have shown career progression, with these X’s representing your training-developed skills. If you wish to regress into opportunities in this area, then you have to show the employer not only why you want to go back, but also the dedication to do so
Bottom Right Old Skills, Old Markets The most difficult sector to re-enliven in your career path. Go and choose a new sector first over reviving these interesting pieces of career history as the HR professional would see it

So that’s it – less than an hour later, and you have clear and outcome-orientated Careers Advice. Anyone one still wondering why psyche tests cost £100 and upwards?

If you are experiencing high rates of job application, and few or now telephone interviews – less than 1 interview per 10 job applications – its time to get some help from a Professional CV Writer.

Good Luck!


If you have any questions, call us on 0844 884 2825

If you need an interview winning solution, sign-up for our Professional CV service

If you want to check the suitability of your existing CV, then get a FREE CV review


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5 Responses to “Careers Advice: the easy matrix method”

  1. Miryam Bernon Says:

    There has constantly been a fine line among them. Require Frank Lloyd Wright as an example. He was an architect by training and training, but he also intended interiors and furnishings for many of his houses (control freak).!.! In our firm, my partner is degreed in the two fields, licensed and accredited.

  2. David Mcconaghy Says:

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  3. Jayne O'Mally Says:

    Wow, very helpful idea! Thank you – Jayne

  4. Anna Mamat Says:

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  5. Rosemary Hainline Says:

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