“What is career counseling?”
Career counseling is the process in which a professional career counselor helps an individual to make better career choices and advance their career development. The career counseling process often includes career testing and assessment, career exploration, and help in making career decisions.
“What types of job-seekers do you counsel?
Career counselors work with all sorts of individuals, including but not limited to high school and college students trying to decide on a course of study, individuals desiring to change or adjust their career path, unemployed individuals looking to re-enter the “job market” in an enjoyable position, retirees looking to spend some of their free time in a fulfilling avocation or a part-time job, part-time salary or professionals employees with the ultimate goal of improving their quality of life by finding meaningful work.
“When and why should I see a career counselor?”
Whether you’ve been reorganized out of a job or you feel “pigeonholed” in your current position, if you’re at a point in your career where you’re wondering what’s next, talking with a career counselor can help you clarify what needs to be done to identify and achieve your career goals and aspirations. Keep in mind, though, that career counselor does not find jobs for their clients; recruiters and employment services do that.
“Do career counselors provide job contacts?”
Professional career counselors prefer to teach clients how to make their own contacts and how to use them. Once learned, the client can use these skills for every future job search as well as for career development along the way. In some cases, Hartwell Business Solutions can assist with referrals to recruiters.
“Can I set up an appointment to discuss my internship or job search?”
While your career counselor has a wealth of resources and advice and is there to help you out, you’re the one who’s really in the “driver’s seat.” Career counseling can be most effective when you share what you’re specifically looking to get out of the session. Do you need help finding a job in a specific geographic location or industry? Wondering what history majors, for example, do after college? Need to “fine-tune” your resume? Ask that from the get-go—in an email upon scheduling a session.
“What is the best job search strategy for me?”
Career counseling is useful for students, graduates, and job-seekers to identify, apply for, and secure jobs. Certain job search strategies have (and have not) been effective in a variety of positions and industries. It’s not the same everywhere—getting a job in fashion or publishing, for example, requires very different tactics than getting one in finance.
So enlist your career counselor’s experience in strategizing your approach. Ask questions like: “How should I allocate my search time between networking, informational interviews, and applying for jobs?” “What strategies have been effective for other people applying for these types of positions?”
The ways in which you should approach the job search will vary based on your role, industry, and location, but your career counselor likely has some advice that will help you out.
“How does my resume look?”
Your career counselor knows what makes a resume stand out to employers, so bring a copy of yours to the meeting and enlist feedback. Even if it’s still a work in progress, that’s OK. Bring a draft, or even a list of all your experiences and activities from your past jobs, internships, and community involvement. Career counselors can help you craft experience descriptions that draw attention to the skills and personal qualities you have that potential employers seek.
“How can I show I have experience if I don’t have direct experience?”
Talk to your career counselor about the specific types of positions you’re after, as well as how you can leverage extracurricular, volunteer, on-campus, and academic experiences to make the case to the hiring team that you’re a “good fit” for the position(s) you are applying for. Many employers are willing to hire and train the right candidate if he or she can demonstrate strong communication skills, drive, intelligence, professionalism, and other valuable soft skills—it’s just a matter of positioning.
“How do I look on social media?”
More and more employers are using social media to “scope out” potential job candidates, even before the interview. If prospective employers are turned off by your Facebook or Instagram profile pic, they’re probably not going to tell you about it. So, log in to your social media platforms with your career counselor, and ask for candid feedback on what your profiles say about your professional image. They can let you know what a third party might think about your LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and/or Twitter profiles and whether they will help or hurt your chances of securing a position.
“What resources are available to me?”
There are some obvious resources found at college career centers, employer-seeking hiree websites, and local community career fairs. For example, nearly every school maintains its own database of jobs and internship opportunities. But centers have less obvious resources, too—like a database of alumni contacts or lists of the best employers by industry. A career counselor can also point you toward professional associations for networking opportunities and access to valuable industry news. It’s definitely worth asking about anything that might be available to you—more likely than not, there are resources you have yet to discover that you could be utilizing in your career finding process.
“What are my next steps?”
Depending on the length of the session with your career counselor, you may not get to all of these questions. Your first meeting is a great starting point in enlisting the help of your career expert, but be sure to leave the meeting knowing what the next steps are. It may be your turn to update your resume or look into some companies, or it may be time to schedule a follow-up appointment to continue the discussion. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask to meet with your career counselor throughout your search process—remember, that’s what they are there for!