When seeing a career counselor, you need to have the right questions ready to ask. A career counselor is a great source of career guidance and advice if you’re feeling lost at whatever stage of your career as they will aid in assessing your situation and findings ways to improve your job prospects.
Here are 5 of the best questions you should ask your career counselor:
1) How can I make the most out of my strengths?
Plenty of graduates, job entrants, and job changers only know what they are functionally good at i.e. being good at coding, filling out balance sheets, writing content, etc. but lack the identification of soft skills that are often overlooked.
A career counselor can help you identify your soft skill strengths such as your communication skills, ability to work in a team, negotiation skills, attention to detail, data analysis.
Knowing your strengths is not enough though, as you also need to know how to articulate them to employers. There are career assessments that a career counselor may recommend which can be used to identify your strengths, but after that, it would be advisable to get a bit of guidance on how to show these strengths whether at an interview, in a cover letter, at a career fair or an elevator pitch.
2) What types of jobs or career options are there for my level of education, experience or skillset?
It is vital to understand what opportunities you have for a career or job, especially for those considering a career change whether at 20, 30, 40, 50 and even older! There are always jobs and careers for you to try but it’s a matter of job fit.
Your career counselor can make recommendations on what they think is most suitable for you, but they can also recommend to you job profile sites and careers databases that allow you to explore jobs, careers, and industries, learning about what the roles entail job outlook and skill or education requirements.
3) How do I network more effectively?
Networking is one of the most important social aspects of a career. It is a very effective tool for job hunting that is often neglected due to the effort that it takes. However, it is very rewarding because the connections you make in your professional network can one day be useful in ways such as an employee at another company giving a recommendation for you or giving you notice to any job opportunities at their company.
A 2014–15 Survey of Employers’ Recruitment Experiences from the Department of Employment of NSW, Australia, showed that 17% of job vacancies were being filled by word-of-mouth recruitment! Therefore, it is beneficial to learn how to expand your professional network effectively.
4) Can I have feedback on my resume or CV?
Your resume is the key to moving your way into and upwards through your career. Not only does it show your experience and skills, but it also puts your personal brand out on display to recruiters.
Your career counselor will know how to tweak your resume to stand out to recruiters and how to make the most out of your experiences. If you’ve got no direct work experience, that’s not a problem as they can help you leverage other extracurricular and academic experiences to express your fit to a position.
5) What should I do next?
An important part of seeing a career counselor is to set actionable objectives and find out what further help you can get.
A career counselor will know about lots of career planning tools, career quizzes/tests, career assessments and books that will be helpful in evaluating your most suitable career options or what you should study.
Though they are merely suggestions, they are often based on research studies and have generalizations that may apply to you. When they’ve given you the basic gist of everything, it is time to begin your job search which may be just as difficult. Your career counselor can guide you through this process.
Regardless of what you’ve learned or found out, it is solely up to you to act upon these findings. There will be questions where you’ll have to find the answer yourself and you’ll find that you have to weigh your options and see what you value the most and what sacrifices you’ll make.
It’s not often a career counselor can give you every answer and tell you exactly what to do for your career – it’s the advice and guidance that they provide that will help set you in the right direction based on your own decisions.