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:
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.
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.
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.