Conquent: Without Limits
Conquent: Without Limits
Kristen Fife's Blog

When Should I Consider A Career Counselor?

2013-04-26 16:51:09

In the last two weeks I've had two different friends contact me about career changes. One has been a technical writer for her entire career since she graduated from college. She isn't sure if she is getting burned out at her current job and needs a change, or if it is her company in general. The other person has been a full-time stay at home Mom with the exception of a couple of short part-time jobs in the last decade or so. She is hoping to identify a career direction for herself as her family moves into a new phase. I recommended at least an initial consult with a Career Counselor for both of them (and gave them both contact information for professionals I respect and refer to ).

What does (and doesn't) a career counselor do?
The most important thing to understand about career counselors is that they are *not* recruiters or headhunters; they will not "find you a job". Career counselors help you identify career options and directions that are right for you at various stages of your professional life. They may use psychological testing to help you identify strengths or weaknesses that are either interfering with your current satisfaction or possibly to switch direction. They can also help you with evaluating educational programs, including vocational training if needed. The National Career Development Association has some in-depth information regarding how Career Counselors can help a professional or student out. You should come away with a very clear goal and roadmap to achieve those goals.

During a job search, a Career Counselor may help you with some of the practical aspects of your journey such as helping you with updating your resume (see my post on questions to ask), cover letter construction, and interview practice including mock interview scenarios.

Keep in mind that a Career Counselor is different than a Career Consultant. A Counselor is held to specific standards including education, experience, credentialing, and professional oversight. A Consultant is not. That isn't to say that a Career Consultant isn't an option. For example, I am a Resume Consultant which is a very narrow subset of the field but absolutely vital for a job seeker.

The cost and process will vary, but in the end you should find yourself with clarity of purpose, equipped with tools and techniques to explore career options that are right for you, and a renewed self-confidence about your professional persona.

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