A career counselor’s specialty is usually not to find you a job, it’s to help you focus on specific career options best suited for you.
Career counselors use a variety of methods to get you to understand which jobs and career paths are best for your personal abilities, education, experience, and dreams.
Most use testing and interviews to do this.
For instance, the Strong Interest Inventory (formerly the Strong Campbell test) shows how your interest, likes, and dislikes relate to those of workers in over one hundred jobs.
Another test, the Myers-Briggs test, shows your more general personality traits and compares them to over 200 jobs with workers similar to you.
From tests such as these, a good career counselor can help you discover how you compare with others, in different fields, to show where others with similar traits to yours are working.
Interviews you have with your career counselor also provide a base from which your counselor can help you find a career best suited for you and:
- Show you how “marketable” you are
- Teach you how to network in your job marketplace
- Discuss geographical areas best suited for you
- Show you where to get information about possible careers
- Give you reasonable salary and compensation expectations
So, how do you find a good career counselor?
- Personal recommendations from someone you trust are best
- Interview several counselors
- Ask counselors for references, and check them
- Google the counselor you’re considering
- Participate in related forums for your area or a career you are considering
Some red flags to watch out for include promises or guarantees you will find a job (reputable counselors will never promise you’ll get a job), large upfront fees, and high-pressure sales pitches.