What can a career counsellor do for you?

professionals

by Melany Hallam

Water Cooler question for April 2015: I have used the services of a career counsellor to help plan my career or find a job.

  • Yes/No (take the survey now: )

Have you ever felt completely at sea when faced with having to find a new job or decide on a career path at school? Well, you’re far from alone in that feeling.

It’s very common to either fall into a line of work out of convenience or because you need immediate income to cover living expenses. But what if you could pick any job in the world—one that would make it exciting to get out of bed every morning—what job would you choose? Answering that question, and coming up with realistic ways of getting there, is what a career counsellor can help you with.

In fact, if they had a do-over, one in two Canadians surveyed would get advice from a counsellor when planning their careers or looking for a job. In a November 2014 survey commissioned by the Canadian Education and Research Institute for Counselling (CERIC), half of those with careers and jobs who did not seek career or employment counselling, regretted that they hadn’t obtained more professional advice (47% and 50% respectively).

The CERIC survey found that 55% of the 1,500 adults consulted had what they considered a “career,” while the rest either had a “job” (working for income rather than at something they really enjoyed) or were students. It’s interesting that more than half of the people with a career (53%) said they had received advice from a career counsellor, while only 38% of those with a job had worked with a counsellor.

“There is recognition that just like you need a financial planner and other professionals in your life, you also need professional advice to successfully manage your career,” says Jan Basso, chair of CERIC.

Think about that for a second. You spend roughly a third of your total waking hours at work. Why leave your career choice to chance and risk being unhappy for such a large portion of your life?

Why not take advantage of some advice from an experienced professional? It’s worth it in the long run, whether you’re trying to get ahead at work or changing jobs or if you’re a student or retiree. A counsellor can help you identify your interests and skills and figure out where you fit best in the job market. They can also help you find the education or training you need to get there.

But where do you find a career counsellor? The most commonly consulted are: high school guidance counsellors (55%), career counsellors at a post-secondary institution (40%), human-resources professionals at work (27%), specialists at a community-based employment centre (26%), or recruiters/headhunters (21%).

In general, the CERIC survey found that as people get older they work with counsellors less often. But it doesn’t have to be that way. For example, in Powell River, Career Link offers free career counselling services, including:

  • Career planning and job-search assistance
  • Resume feedback and help with writing resumes and cover letters
  • Referral to community resources
  • Assistance with training plans
  • Support for individuals with disabilities to plan career, training, and job search

The bottom line is that you don’t have do something as important as planning your career alone. So ask yourself right now, what’s stopping you from getting help?

————

More on the Canadian Education and Research Institute for Counselling (CERIC) career counsellor survey, http://www.ceric.ca/?q=en/node/1020.

Here are some things to think about and tools that can help prepare you for working with a career counsellor:

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