When to Use a Career Counselor

Job searches can be frustrating. You have sought and heeded the advice of job placement professionals by cleaning up your resume, joining social media, combing internet job databases, contacted a recruiter and polished up your interview skills, but still have yet to find a position. At this point, it may be time to turn to a career counselor for more help.

First, it is important to distinguish between a career counselor and a career coach. Career counselors often hold advanced degrees, such as a Master’s in Counseling, and are usually affiliated with professional organizations like the National Career Development Association. Counselors tend to focus on overall career goals whereas career coaches, who may or may not hold an advanced degree, focus on pragmatic and immediate steps for achieving your goals. AARP offers the following advice on choosing a professional to assist in your job search:

How to Select a Career Professional

  • Seek personal referrals from friends, relatives, and colleagues.
  • Search the Web sites of the professional associations listed at the end of this tip sheet.
  • Request free initial consultations with several professionals.
  • Check out the credentials of the people you’re considering.
  • Request referrals from other clients.
  • Decide if you are more comfortable conferring by phone, by e-mail, or in person.
  • Walk away if you’re promised a higher-paying job, a dream job, or a better lifestyle. No one can guarantee success.

Match a Professional to Your Needs

  • Know what you want. Would you like help with the entire job-search process or with a specific skill? Signs of a good match:
  • The career adviser helps you identify your unique skills and maximize your assets in finding a job.
  • The professional has experience in working with people 50 and older.
  • You and the career consultant are partners in mapping out steps to reach your goals.
  • The contract between you and the professional specifies the outcome of your counseling, the time frame, and tools and materials that will be provided.  

For more information on choosing the right career counselor or coach for you, the average cost of services, and more, visit AARP’s article on the topic.

Comments are closed.