How to Choose a Career Counselor

April 04, 2020

How to Choose a Career Counselor

Want to find a job? Interested in a career switch?  Thinking about going back to school? You can learn all of the necessary information online to answer your questions on how to do this. However, there may be a few pieces of practical information and guidance that you cannot get from the World Wide Web, and should receive from a professional.

Why Use a Career Counselor?

Career counselors are specially trained to help you choose a career. They are informed about various assessment tools, theories, and trends that can help you to find a career that will be a good fit for you. They can do this in a variety of ways:

  • Increasing self-awareness – By facilitating discussion and utilizing assessment tools, career counselors can help you to learn about your interests, skills, values, and personality type. Most importantly, they can help you learn how these can align with various careers.
  • Gaining valuable information about trends – Career counselors have studied the various resources that can help you to learn about any careers that you might be interested in. They can help you learn about education options, what skills are necessary for a career, what the job market looks like, or what salary to expect. They can even help to suggest career options that are similar to what you want, yet might be a better fit for you based on your priorities.
  • Developing and carrying out plans – Each step of the way, you can have guidance on how to carry out your vision. You can get assistance doing a job search, putting together your resume and other similar documents, understanding salary and benefit packages, gaining interview skills, engaging in the proper preparation (including school or other training programs), and utilizing a Plan B when needed.

What to Look For

If you are in school, you may have access to a counselor for free. If this is the case, take advantage of the opportunity. If you are not in school, chances are you will have to seek out and pay for a career counselor. Here are some things to look for, to make sure you get your money’s worth.

  • Credentials – You can ask to see a copy of the diploma and license of any professional you meet with. Professionals should be licensed in the state in which they practice, and also might be a member of organizations such as the National Board for Certified Counselors or the National Career Development Association.
  • Code of Ethics – To which professional body does the counselor take his ethical guidelines from? You can ask to make sure that he is pursuing quality services, and not just private interests.
  • Professionalism – If it sounds like a get rich quick scheme, it might be more of a gimmick than a professional service. Stick with someone who is committed to helping you find the outcome that you want, and does not promise quick results without appropriate effort.
  • Informed experience – Your counselor should provide you with information about fees, explanation of services, proposed scheduling, and a basic outline of what services will look like.
  • Going the extra mile – Finding a new career is half the battle; succeeding in it is the rest. Transitioning into a new workplace can be stressful, and finding a career counselor that regularly works with clients on the topics of communication, organization, time management, and leadership style can be incredibly beneficial. It also can be valuable to find a counselor who stays with clients into the first 30 days of a job. This is a time that can be especially stressful, yet important, and having the proper support can help you adapt properly to your new jobsite.

How to Find One

There are a few resources that can be beneficial when looking for a career counselor. Word of mouth and referrals are time tested. Keep in mind, however, that your experience might be unique, as you likely will have your own needs that might differ from theirs. If you want to find a counselor online, you can use the National Career Development Association list of approved counselors and professionals. This resource allows you to search by state. Another great place to check is libraries, colleges, and state employment services. These locations will sometimes host speakers or will know connections to help you find what you want.

Career Theory

As is the case with anything in life, approaching a new experience with a little bit of education can be a benefit.  There are a few career theories that can help you to explore what matters most to you in finding a career. Ideally, finding a career counselor who is familiar with placing people in careers based on these factors can be very helpful.

John Holland’s Vocational Choice theory is based on personality. It splits people up into 6 personality types: Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, or Conventional. Based on this personality type, it gives corresponding work environments and careers.

Frank Parsons developed a Trait and Factor theory that matches talent and occupational choice. This theory is highly based on psychometric tests that help to explain the ideal job for each individual. Concepts such as aptitude, disposition, intelligence, and interests are measured to help determine this.

Other theories utilize more of a social or developmental approach, with people focusing on chance, self-efficacy, self-esteem, or fulfilling one’s self-concept.

There is no right or wrong theory, though some can be more applicable than others. You can decide how to incorporate and prioritize your values and goals into selecting a career. Keep in mind that work environment can be very important, because even if you are doing a job you love, if you are doing it in an environment that does not suit you (say surrounded by tons of people or isolated away from everyone with no windows), you may not find as much enjoyment as you would wish. 


Want to talk to a counselor today about this? 

Call Amplified Life at 800-453-7733 and ask for your “Free 15 Minute Phone Consultation" with one of our licensed counselors. We’ll listen, answer questions you may have, and help you plan next steps.




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