Choosing a career is no easy feat. This process takes time and consideration. However, with the help of a professional career counselor, you can make an informed decision that you feel confident. Better yet, you can walk the career path that will make for a happy, healthy life.

What Is Career Counseling?

Career counseling, sometimes called career coaching, helps individuals choose or change their careers. This type of counseling is led by a therapist, life coach, or another professional who is trained to discuss general career information and career development.

Career counselors provide valuable resources and also administer job ability assessments. The following individuals can benefit from career counseling:

  1. A college student who isn’t sure what to major in or how to propel themselves into the workforce upon graduation.
  2. A middle-aged woman who is considering going back to school to chase an old dream and potentially switch jobs.
  3. An older man who needs help determining what job might be a good fit at this stage of life.

Anybody and everybody can benefit from career counseling services, as career journeys can be stressful the first, second, even thirtieth time around.

Research indicates that the average person will change occupations as many as five to seven times. For professional help in making important career choices, consider working with a career counselor.

How Does Career Counseling Work?

There is no question about the importance of one’s job. Not only does it provide the means for a living but it contributes to a sense of fulfillment and societal involvement. It also can have a huge impact on your mental health and overall wellbeing

That said, the right career — and the educational decisions that might get you there — are not always clear. We struggle with choosing our career path, learning the necessary skills, adapting on the job, and even leaving our career one day. It all begins with asking ourselves questions about what we want to do for the rest of our lives. These questions can help you get started:

  • What do I want to be and do?
  • Which major should I study?
  • Should I get a master’s degree?
  • What working environment is right for me?
  • What am I capable of?
  • What career will support my lifestyle?
  • What career will make me happy?
  • How do I find a career that checks all of these boxes?

These are all important, yet difficult questions to answer. Thankfully, a career counselor can help with career planning and assist you with exploring your career options. They can help you analyze your strengths and weaknesses and provide career assessments.

What are the Benefits of Career Counseling?

Multiple studies have shown that people who are dissatisfied with their jobs experience more psychological distress and are more likely to develop a mental health condition, such as insomnia, depression, or anxiety.

People who are satisfied at work, on the other hand, report fewer psychological issues and greater overall happiness in life. Therefore, it’s important that one thrives in their career and even in their career search; and a career counselor can assist them in doing so.

Certified counselors can help you analyze, understand, and decide between potential job opportunities. It’s their job to mediate your frustrations, guide you to think more clearly, and explore whatever decisions you’re faced with (so you can focus on writing a winning resume and cover letter).

Furthermore, a career counselor is prepared to offer valuable information, such as required skill sets and/or education, regarding a particular position you may be considering. The following are common and significant focuses of conversation in career counseling:

  • Job environment preferences (e.g., does the client like fast or slow-paced environments?)
  • Potential for growth (e.g., are there opportunities for advancement?)
  • Short and long-term career goals
  • Interests and personality type
  • Demands of the current lifestyle
  • Potential earnings of a given career
  • Necessary skills and/or education for a given career

What Does a Career Counseling Session Look Like?

No one career counseling session is identical. Instead, each session is designed to cater to the individual’s specific career issues, work experience, desires, and skills, which will prompt an evaluation and guidance from the career counselor. They may pose questions like:

  • What are your interests?
  • What are your strengths?
  • Do you want to be active throughout the day or are you interested in a desk job?
  • How much money do you need/want to make?
  • Are you wanting/willing to move or travel for your job?
  • What core values do you live by?
  • Do you hope to challenge yourself or take on a less demanding career?
  • What are you qualified to do?
  • Do you want to be a leader?
  • Do you want to do more independent work or collaborate with a group?
  • What do you most want out of your job?

Questions such as these are designed not only to determine if a current job is a good fit for the client but to help them paint a clear vision of what they want for their future career path. Because while some may set clear career goals at the start of their career search, they can easily be forgotten or undervalued later down the road.

Quick Facts About Career Counseling

  • Career counseling is designed to assist you in making informed occupational and education decisions.
  • It requires client participation; the counselor is not there to do all the work or to make decisions for you.
  • Everyone can benefit from career counseling: youths, young adults, older adults, males, females.
  • Career counseling is offered in grade schools, colleges, clinics, community organizations, correctional facilities, career resource centers, and more.
  • Counselors may administer an IQ or personality test, such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, which helps determine potential career paths.
  • Sessions are multi-faceted and vary from person to person depending on needs, desires, and skills.

Schedule a Career Counseling Appointment Today

Navigating career decisions isn’t easy — in fact, it’s often very difficult. Thriveworks wants to help you through this difficult process. Whether you’re embarking on the very beginning of your career journey, you’re looking for a new start, or you fall somewhere in between.

If career counseling sounds like something you want to pursue and could benefit from, consider scheduling an appointment at Thriveworks. You can meet with a career counselor near you, by finding your local Thriveworks office. Or, if you’d like to talk to a counselor virtually, consider online counseling at Thriveworks instead.