Career Counseling

Some people seem to know what they want to do with their life at a young age, while others might try out a few different jobs before they figure out the right career path.

If you feel you need some extra help with determining a career path, you may want to consider career counseling. Also known as career guidance, career counseling revolves around helping people decide which type of career is best for them. It also helps people make the difficult decision of determining whether it is time that they leave their career or change careers.

Career counseling is available to anyone at any age and every stage of their life. You do not have to be a specific age to decide that you need career help. Whether you need guidance for a first or second career, career counselors are there to help guide you through the stressful event. If you feel that you need a little extra support in choosing a job, a career counselor will be there to help outline and discuss all of your potential career choices.

Who Are Career Counselors?

Career counselors often help clients who wish to change careers, explore ways to make their current career more satisfying or leave a career altogether. Career counselors are professionals that charge client’s a fee to help them search for a job, or, they help client’s change their career. Career counselors help clients by assessing their skills, desires and needs to determine better a career path that is right for their client. They are trained to provide career resources and discuss career development with their client’s. As part of the service they offer to clients, they administer aptitude tests or IQ tests to assist their clients better. Then, they interpret the information to help them find the best career. Researching a variety of potential jobs, as well as determining the educational and skill set requirements, may be overwhelming or confusing to do alone. Career counselors are trained to determine this information and to translate it so that you can better understand it.

How do Career Counselors Help?

Career counselors offer many different services to their clients, ultimately, they will help their clients explore their skills and strengths and give advice, such as if they need to continue their education to pursue a specific career. To start, they will help you get clear on your life and career goals. Next, they will help you put together a customized career plan and give you assignments that follow these learning experiences. Lastly, they will help you create a new resume that highlights your achievements and skills and they will also prepare you for job interviews. If you are not looking for a new career but rather how to grow in your current job, they may help you find ways to earn a promotion or the best way to negotiate a pay raise with your boss.

Prepare Before You Meet with A Career Counselor

Since many career counselors charge for their services, it is essential that you ask yourself what you want to get out of hiring a career counselor before you sign any contracts. Write down your fears and concerns before you meet with any counselor so that you will be prepared to ask as many questions as you can upon your first meeting. You should also answer a few fundamental questions about yourself to better narrow your focus for considering a new career, like:

  • What do you do well?
  • What are your skill sets?
  • What is it that you enjoy doing?
  • What activities fulfill you?
  • What degree, certifications or experience do you have?
  • What is your ideal salary?
  • Would you be willing to travel or relocate for work?
  • What kind of work environment do you like the most?
  • What are your values?
  • How do you cope with stressful work environments?
  • How soon do you need a new career?

By answering these questions, you will be walking into your first meeting with a career counselor knowing where you stand. You already know what areas you can budge on and which areas you will not. Coming prepared also wastes less time and gets you one step closer to finding your new career.

Be Prepared to Put in the Work

Career counselors are there to help you find a career that is right for you, but they are going to need your participation. You will need to put in just as much work as they do by working with them to answer any questions that they have. Remember that all of the questions and follow-up questions that they ask you will lead to your potential new career. Most career counselors are there to offer support and listen to your career concerns. However, they may also challenge you by saying things that you might not want to hear, like that your career expectations do not align with your educational background or skillset.

They are not saying these things to hurt your feelings. They are saying them to push you in the direction you need to go to find your new career. While you may think that your counselor will have all of the answers to your career questions, the truth is that they do not. But, if you work with them, they can help you find the answers to your questions. If you do not participate and work with your counselor, you will be wasting his or her time and your money, and you will not be any closer to finding your dream career.

Look Before You Buy

Before you choose a career counselor to hire, look for one that offers free consultations and low-cost resources. If you are a recent college graduate, reach out to your university’s career resource center and ask if they know any free or affordable career advisors. If you are not, you can find free or low-cost career counseling from the government through the U.S. Department of Labor. Regardless of where you see a counselor or coach, you are going to need to check their credentials and experience to make sure that they are qualified to offer the type of career advice that you are seeking.

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