Career counseling, also known as career guidance, is counseling designed to help with choosing, changing, or leaving a career and is available at any stage in life. One’s career is often one of the most important aspects of adulthood, and embarking on a new career, whether for the first time, the second time, or any time thereafter, can be a stressful event, especially when economic difficulties such as recession are a factor. A career counselor can help by outlining and discussing one’s potential career options.
WHAT IS CAREER COUNSELING?
Most Americans will spend a third of their lives at work, but a 2014 study showed that only 52.3% of Americans report being satisfied with their jobs. Job stress may lead to anxiety or depression, so finding a fulfilling career is considered to be important to mental well-being. When choosing the most fitting career or finding a new job when one proves unsatisfying or frustrating, the services of a career counselor may be helpful.A career counselor could be a therapist, life coach, or a volunteer from the business world but will generally be trained to provide career information resources, discuss career development, and administer and interpret aptitude and ability assessments. Students might see a guidance counselor in high school before applying to college and then again in college before choosing or changing majors, but career counseling can help anyone who wishes to change careers, leave work altogether, or explore ways to be more satisfied with a current career.
CHOOSING A CAREER
Choosing a career is an important task, but it may also be a difficult one. It may not be easy to decide what type of job will be the best fit, and since career counseling helps people assess their skills, needs, and desires in order to find a career that works for them, this type of counseling is considered to be an important step to take before deciding on a permanent career. Researching a wide variety of potential careers may be overwhelming, and information on the skill sets and education needed for a particular position may be contradictory or difficult to find. A career counselor will often be able to provide valuable information in these areas and others.
Some of the following questions may be helpful for narrowing one’s focus when considering a career change:
- What do I enjoy doing?
- What kinds of activities are fun and fulfilling for me?
- What am I good at?
- What is my skill set?
- What qualifications do I have, such as a degree or experience?
- How much money do I need to make to feel satisfied?
- What jobs are available in the place(s) I’d like to live?
- Do I want to travel?
- What are my values?
- Is it important to me to be of service to others?
- Am I looking for intensely challenging work or something relatively easy?
- Am I willing to do what others tell me without question, or would I rather make most decisions on my own?
- To what degree do I need stability and security?