How to Get the Most Benefit from Career Counselors

Career counselors are practically a necessity in the working world. Years ago many people stayed with the first company that hired them throughout their careers. That level of loyalty between employer and employee is now high on the Endangered Species List. Whether for good or for bad, you may choose not only to change companies, but careers, several times during your working years. A professional career counselor can guide you through those transitions.

What Do Career Counselors Do?
Understand that using a career counselor is not like using an employment agency. Even though you are paying for the counselor's services, the counselor will not be guaranteeing that you get a job.

A career counselor can offer you many services, such as helping guide you to a new career, explaining how to modify your approach in interviewing or teaching you how to change your resume to make it more appealing to potential employers in your new field. Your counselor may help you understand why you aren't getting second interviews or help you negotiate better compensation packages. A career counselor may also have job leads for you.

How to Work Successfully with a Career Counselor

  • Be prepared for an honest evaluation. You may not like what you hear, but perhaps that is why you need to see a professional career counselor in the first place. Your friends and family may be unable to honestly help you change your career, regardless of their support. Counselors won't beat you over the head with your imperfections, but they will point out areas where you must improve to make a career change.
  • Be prepared to be honest with yourself. You aren't going to move forward if you can't honestly assess your strengths and weaknesses. For example, admit to yourself that you want to be in television production for the glamour of it, but understand that you're unsuited to the job's requirements if you don't like what you need to do each day.
  • Be flexible. After all, you are trying to change. Otherwise you wouldn't have hired a career counselor in the first place.
  • Keep notes and ask questions. Use your time with your counselor to the fullest.

Before you sign on with a professional career counselor, make sure that you understand the services offered and payment requirements. In addition, ask for references and check credentials to make sure you're getting someone who can legitimately help you.

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