Employment services are important to people looking for work and those looking to employ. A good career professional needs the passion and skills to find and place the right person in the right job, and when they do so, they not only satisfy the employer and employee's needs, buty can also have a very positive and ongoing impact on the workplace they are servicing.
Careers counselling is a specialised, professional form of guidance focussed on career development. It looks at the client in terms of:
Although the focus is on the client’s professional life and career progression, it’s important to understand that career counselling still looks at individuals in terms of their whole selves – it doesn’t ask the client to separate themselves into a set of personal strengths and weaknesses and professional strengths and weaknesses, but rather looks at how to integrate the whole self to help the client find work that is meaningful and promotes agency in not only their career, but their life as a whole.
Talk about where careers counsellors can end up – so recruitment agencies, but also skills in human relations, or working in professional development, developing job-ready skills and training.
While careers counsellors talk to their clients about a variety of issues, and that this may extend into how to deal with complex situations that arise in the workplace, including workplace relations and difficulties with colleagues, it’s also important to understand that despite the term “counsellor”, careers counsellors are not mental health or psychological professionals. A careers counsellor’s role is always career-oriented.
Helping people further their career development encompasses a wide variety of roles. Some careers counsellors choose to specialise in a particular area, like workplace training for developing communication skills, while others are generalists who work with clients across a multitude of areas.
Careers counsellors can work independently, as part of a careers counselling firm, for recruitment agencies, and even in-house at larger companies. The everyday tasks of a careers counsellor will vary according to their type of employment.
Careers counsellors can be involved in helping clients:
Careers counsellors require a diverse skill set; they must be flexible and agile in order to meet the changing demands of the 21st century workplace. Vital skills for a successful careers counsellor can include:
It’s important to note that this list of vital skills varies according to the role the careers counsellor is in; a careers counsellor working in-house at a large company must be able to deliver workplace training, while a freelancer may not need this skill because they specialise in individual coaching sessions paired with resume and CV development.
To be able to assist a client in each or any of these processes, a Careers Counsellor must also be aware of:
Strong communication skills are essential for working with clients. A good careers counsellor must understand how to:
A careers counsellor is only effective when they are attuned to their clients needs, wants, and goals. This requires them to develop a strong rapport – i.e., a good working relationship based on understanding and empathy – with their client. Such a relationship must be founded on the five pillars of:
Once this foundation has been laid, the client is better positioned to share openly about their needs, wants, and goals.
Active listening is an important part of this process. This is a specific listening technique that focuses on building rapport and encouraging openness in a relationship through the listener using positive reinforcement behaviours directed toward the person sharing/talking. These include:
Careers counselling is a rewarding profession that requires a diverse skill set – but it comes with a rich variety of opportunities for working with industry, either for yourself or as part of a larger team.
Learn more about how to get started with counselling. A good professional development course is occupational psychology. For other opportunities Use our free career development advisory service today.
ACS Distance Education