About Career Counselors

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Consulting with a career counselor is a valuable supplement or alternative to working with a career coach. In contrast with career coaches, who may have a fixed paradigm and program, and work before very large groups, e.g., in a lecture or workshop format, a career counselor will generally work with the smallest appropriate unit, i.e., an individual or possibly a family, in the case of a graduating student.

Moreover, a career counselor is likelier to use clinical tools, such as psychometric, occupational and other testing to help determine best skills-challenges-interests matches.

As a rough generalization, it can be said that whereas career coaches are likely to focus on improving choices, strategies and performance through application of generally applicable coaching paradigms, principles or business models that can accommodate a large audience, career counselors are likelier to work with the idiosyncrasies of their clients, with an emphasis on one-to-one, customized, in-depth, frequently test-based consultations.

The role of a career counselor is to help the client better understand his or her interests, abilities, experience and opportunities so that (s)he can find the best career for himself or herself. The counselor can either help those who are about to graduate or those who are seeking a career change.

The counselor will help the client explore and evaluate the latter's educational qualifications, skills, work experience, interests and personality traits. The counselor can also arrange for the client to take aptitude, personality and skills tests to narrow down the possibilities to focus on the most suitable career options.

In addition, the counselors can work with the clients to develop their job-search skills, as well as assist them in applying for jobs. Moreover, support sessions can be arranged for those who are going through a career transition and its accompanying emotions such as stress and depression over the loss of work identity.

Through these one-to-one sessions, career counselors can help the clients to better understand their own motivations and outlook in life. The counselors will usually try to learn more about the client's financial and familial considerations so that they can provide advice that best suits the client's circumstances. In general, career counselors also have a good understanding of the current labor situation, as well as the latest market trends.

After having analyzed the client's personality traits, skills, motivation and work experience, the career counselor will then be able to direct the client to a career where his or her skills can be best utilized both financially and in terms of job satisfaction. They will also be able to recommend to the client what skills to acquire if the latter is interested in a particular career. Moreover, they can coach the client through the job search process, such as resume-writing, assessment tests and job interviews.
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