5 Important Things That Every Career Counselor Should Know

People are capable of change

Modern day science has made it possible to measure changes in the brain when new habits are formed. This affirms that repeatedly implementing new behaviors manifests itself internally.  New neural networks are used and develop into strong neural pathways. 

As a career counselor, he has seen firsthand that people are capable of change. No matter how stuck someone may feel in their current situation, they can always make positive changes in their lives. Career counseling is about helping people take control of their lives and make the changes they need to be successful. He has seen many clients who were initially reluctant to make changes, but with some guidance and support, they were able to make significant progress. Whether it is changing careers, pursuing new goals, or improving relationships, people always have the potential to change for the better.

A good fit is imperative and most ethical

As much as counselors would like to help everyone who comes to them for career counseling, this is not realistic. Counseling styles and personalities vary; therefore, the consumer must choose wisely.  Similarly, career counselors can be selective about who they work with. It is okay to refer clients who are not a good fit to another counselor. Counselors want to ensure that they can give each client the quality and quantity of services that will result in a positive outcome.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to career planning

Most individuals come to career counseling out of crisis. What they are doing is no longer working, or maybe it has never worked. Understanding what it is that your client wants is of utmost importance.  What brought them in? What is working and what isn’t?  Do not assume anything, except that you know nothing about the complex person in front of you.

The next step is to assess unique strengths, skills, and interests. Once you have a good understanding of individual needs, you can start to explore potential career paths that might be a good fit. There is no right or wrong answer when choosing a career. It’s a personal choice that only your client can make.

It is important to remember that this is the client’s process and not your own. Be cognizant of countertransference.  A plan that is not designed by the client has a high chance of failure. Share resources freely with your clientele. There are many resources available to help with career planning. Utilizing career assessments are an important part of any career counseling process.  Proper interpretation is the key.  Forewarn clients that they might get some outrageous career suggestions and that this can be expected.

They can also talk to friends, family, and mentors for advice. There are also many books and online articles that can provide helpful information. Encourage them to take their time and explore all their options.

It’s important to be genuine and authentic with clients

Carl Jung once said, “Know all the theories, master all the techniques, but as you touch a human soul be just another human soul.”  When we are genuine with clients, they sense it, and trust is formed. They need to know that we care about their success. Being authentic with them is key to developing an effective working relationship.

Listening well is extremely difficult to do. Avoid the temptation of thinking of a good reply or saying something that may make you sound smart. Just listen as if the world has stopped and the only thing that matters is what your client is saying. 

It is imperative to be invested in your client’s success and believe in the value of what they have to offer. Educate yourself on cultural differences and become culturally competent.

Career Counseling is a process, and not a single event

A career counselor cannot wave a magic wand that will instantly fix one’s career woes. Career counseling is a process that takes time, effort, and commitment from both the counselor and the client.  It is essential to be patient and work with your client over the long term to help them achieve their goals.

Interests, values, and needs change throughout our life. What may have been a great fit for a single 25-year-old no longer suits a married 50-year-old with children.  The labor market is also constantly evolving. Networking is essential in today’s employment market.  One must regularly update their skills in the constantly changing labor market.

Final Thoughts

People are capable of change and there is no one-size-fits-all solution to career planning. It is essential to be genuine and authentic with clients and remember that each person’s career journey is unique.

Career counseling aims to help others find a career that is a good fit and help develop a plan to acquire the skills and knowledge to succeed in that career. Career counseling is not a one-time event; it is a process that takes time, effort, and commitment. It is worth it because your clientele will feel more meaning and satisfaction with their career and life.  This is how to ensure that your clients come back for further counseling or refer their friends, colleagues, and family members for your services.

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