How to Choose a Career Counselor or Coach

By Arthur B. — Published February 21, 2018

How to Choose a Career Counselor or Coach

So, you’re looking for a job, but aren’t sure about what you want? Well, there’s nothing to worry about because there are people who can help. Yes, there are professionals out there who can guide you in choosing the right profession.

They’re called Career Counselors or Career Coaches. Their job is to help people like you plan a career and achieve relevant goals. Career counselors/coaches don’t just help fresh graduates. They also help other professionals who are looking to make a shift.

Now, there are plenty of people who call themselves career coaches, but not all of them are genuine or legitimate. So, it’s important that you know how to choose a career counselor or career coach. Here are a few tips.

Ask around
The first thing you can start doing is start asking around. You can ask your colleagues, friends and family members if they can recommend career counselors that they know of. Even if they don’t, they’re likely to know someone who does.

The point is to get the word out that you’re looking for a career counselor. You’re likely to receive at least a handful of suggestions this way.

In fact, if the career counselor was recommended to you by a friend or colleague, you can get an instant review on how good they are. Also, your own colleague or friend’s success can be used as a metric.

Ask your college career office
If you’re in college, the best way to find a career counselor would be to talk to someone in the college career office. Most colleges have a college career office and most of these offices employ career counselors. Even if they don’t, they might be able to refer you to someone.

Visit the National Board of Certified Counselors
You can also locate good career counselors on the National Board of Certified Counselors website. It has a useful search function that provides accurate results. In fact, it comes with a “Career Development” filter that specifically narrows down your search to career counselors.

Ask for references
Once you’ve got a list of career counselors drawn out, ask each of them to send three references. You see, references are the best way to determine how good a service is. So, if your references are able to provide stellar or positive reviews, you can be fairly sure that the concerned career counselor is worth your time and money.

When asking questions, focus on topics such as the counselor’s strengths and weaknesses, the progress made after interacting with the counselor, the likelihood of using the counselor’s services again, and reservations against recommending the respective counselor.

Payment system
It is always better to go to a career counselor who charges per visit rather than someone who offers expensive sessions. The advantage of a visit-based system is that you only have to pay for the visit. If you don’t see progress or feel that the counselor isn’t helping you, you can simply stop visiting.

Typically, such counselors will charge around $75 to $100. If it’s more than a $100, don’t bother signing up.

Assess credentials
The National Career Development Association (NCDA) is responsible for overseeing all things related to career development. So, career counselors are governed by them as well. There are particular guidelines, expectations, and requirements that counselors have to fulfill in order to be certified as a valid career counselor.

So, make sure your career counselor is certified by the NCDA

A key point to remember
Career counselors help you understand who you are and guide you on that basis. They do not order you to take up certain jobs or make certain choices. Their primary task is to assess you as a person or worker and determine what kinds of jobs would suit you.

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