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Interview: Caroline Sandford talks about Love Your Career From The Start

Updated: Jul 8


Love Your Career From the Start is full of the wisdom and insights Caroline Sandford has gained from working with thousands of individuals in a range of ages and stages of their career journey. She is passionate about offering professional career development services to help people develop their skills and knowledge to create and thrive in the future they want. Caroline talks to NZ Booklovers.


Tell us a little about Love Your Career From the Start.

This book is a resource for 15-25-year-olds to support them to make well-informed decisions about their future. It takes the reader through a four-stage process to understand who they are, explore the options that are right for them, create an action plan, and identify strategies to create the future they want. I wanted to make this as practical as possible, so I have included exercises throughout the book to enable the reader to apply what they discover to their own situation.

What inspired you to write this book?

Several reasons – in the preface of the book I write about the influence of observing the negative impact of my dad’s work choices. This, coupled with experiencing the impact of my own decisions on my health, has made me very aware of the cost of not making decisions that are right for you.

Having worked in the career industry for 20 years, I have seen 100s of clients from all walks of life. My clients come to me for a variety of reasons, some of which include being unhappy in their current role, not knowing what they want to do in the future, or their current situation is suddenly changing. Many of my clients have not been introduced to the considerations that they need to take into account when making a well-informed decision about their future.

So I decided that I would write a book to address the gap in knowledge and hopefully prevent some pain in making decisions that result in negative ramifications. I luckily have a good friend, Lisa Bell, who inspired me to take the leap, and mentored me along the way.

What research was involved in writing this book?

Although I am a pragmatic person, my training and career practice are based on theory, and so what I bring to any career session and to this book, is grounded in research. I knew where much of what I wrote comes from, and I have drawn from and referenced this where appropriate. I certainly needed to research the history of changes in the world of work to ensure that my dates are correct.

You are a career specialist, can you tell us a little about your background?

I completed a Master of Arts in Industrial Psychology (Hons.) from Canterbury and moved to Wellington to work for National Mutual (now Axia) as first a Productivity Analyst, and then in Human Resources. After a restructure, my role was made redundant and I secured an HR Manager role with NZIG Gases (now BOC Gases). I left this to have my family, and moved up to Auckland with my husband and two children. I set up a business writing CVs whilst completing a Graduate Certificate in Career Development. My business then concentrated on career counselling. Subsequently I worked for three years as a career counsellor at UNITEC and tutored at AUT on the Graduate Certificate and Masters Career Qualifications. My husband’s work took us to Sydney for two years where I worked at Macquarie University putting together a career programme for postgraduate research students. On our return to Auckland I set up private practice once again, and have been either in sole practice or with others for the last 12 years. I have held leadership roles for our association – The Career Development Association of New Zealand (CDANZ) – having been on the National Executive as well as holding a key role in developing professional standards for our members. I am currently a Fellow of the association.

What do you hope readers will take away after reading the book?

  • Give them some structure to their thinking so that they can make sense of what can often seem overwhelming and confusing.

  • Give then an understanding of some key ingredients in making well-informed decisions, and applying their own insights to their future decisions.

  • To give them a belief in themselves, and that their choices for their future should be firmly based on what is right for them, not what others may tell them is right.

  • To give them a process that they can revisit throughout their life and throughout their ever changing journey.

If you had to choose your three top tips from the book, what would they be?

To be true to yourself and make decisions in line with who you are.

To put time into research and networking to ensure that you know the reality of your choices and that they match what you are looking for.

To be aware that the world is forever changing and to stay connected and informed to be able to effectively navigate your way through change.

What is the favourite book you have read so far this year and why?

Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton.

I liked this because life is not perfect, simple or straightforward. It is full of imperfections, complexities, growing up with huge challenges, and often tragedy. But alongside this there can be hope, laughter, love and good. This book includes all of this.

What’s next on the agenda for you?

I am currently involved in two companies - Love Your Career, and The Career Development Company, offering support to individuals and organisations, which I certainly would like to continue. The last element of the professional standards project for CDANZ is currently being finalised, and of course another book is on the agenda!


Published by Calico Publishing


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