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Posted March 05, 2016 by

What is career counseling

Photo of Veranda Hillard-Charleston

Veranda Hillard-Charleston, guest writer

Do people believe their current career trajectories feel like a hopeless game of grasping at straws? Maybe they’ve been thinking, “I don’t know what I want to do with my life” or “I don’t know what jobs I can get with my major/degree.” Having a long list of “I don’t knows” in the career department certainly doesn’t lead to increased life satisfaction. Luckily, there’s a solution: career counseling.

What is career counseling?

Career counseling is a goal-oriented process targeted at helping people gain better insight about themselves and what they want out of their careers, education, and lives.

According to Boise State University, the counseling element is one-step in a lifelong process of career development. Therefore, the object of career counseling is not to guide people in making better career decisions today. Instead, the focus of this process is to equip people with the self-knowledge and expertise needed to improve their careers and life decisions over their lifespan.

A career counselor is generally a master’s level professional with a background in career development theory, counseling methods, assessments, and employment information and resources. A professional will hold a confidential session with people to identify their unique values, interests, skills, career-related strengths and weaknesses, and personal goals in order to determine which resources they require and which course of action is most appropriate in helping them achieve these goals.

A career counselor can even help people separate their own career-related goals from those of others, such as parents, teachers, and friends who may be pressuring them to choose a specific career path.

Do I need career counseling?

Whether they’re freshmen in college or five years post-graduate, college students and recent graduates can benefit from the services of a career counselor. Since career development is a lifelong process – and people’s interests and skills are steadily changing – the earlier they gain insight about themselves and learn how to make career-related decisions, the better. If job seekers’ current dialogue is filled with “I don’t knows,” career counseling is a smart choice for them.

Possible career counseling for bank credit presentation of important issues courtesy of


Maximizing from the counseling experience

So college students and recent graduates made the choice to get career counseling and scheduled an appointment. Their part is done, right? Wrong. A common misconception about career counseling is people show up, and an expert tells them exactly what career choices are best for them. In truth, career counseling is not a one-sided, quick solution to academic or career dilemmas. Consider the following:

• Job seekers are not simply there to receive. The counseling experience requires participation. An honest examination of job seekers is vital for the career counselor to guide them in the right direction. Together, they might uncover their career interests, but they must take action to continue down the right path.

• People must narrow down their goals. Coming in with a broad desire to “Figure out what they want in life” just won’t cut it. A clear-cut objective is necessary so each session has structure and both parties can tell when their work together is complete.

• Job seekers have to continue the career development process beyond counseling. A good career counselor can help them define their interests and values, identify goals, and provide resources and strategies for reaching these goals. Still, the important work is done by job seekers. They have to actually use these resources to pinpoint internships or job opportunities appealing to them and constantly consider how different opportunities match their interests, values, and skills.

Career counseling offers people a safe and confidential place to explore their career passions and identify areas in which they are experiencing difficulty. It is a collaborative relationship – the client and the counselor work together to discover the client’s true career goals and work to overcome any obstacles. However, the client must be devoted to career development and willing to do the work to truly benefit from the experience.

If you want more career advice, go to College Recruiter’s blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter.

Veranda Hillard-Charleston is Chief Contributor for She received her Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology from Northwestern State University of Louisiana. Veranda has more than five years of experience as a trained mental health professional.

Posted December 17, 2015 by

6 tips for making the most of your college career center

a sign at cambridge university marking the location of the careers advice centre in cambridge

A sign at Cambridge University marking the location of the Careers Advice Centre in Cambridge. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Have you ever set foot in your college career center? Were you even aware that your college has a career center? You may have walked by its door a few times, but like most students you’ve probably never gone in – and that’s a terrible waste of a very valuable resource. The experienced staff is there to guide and help students towards the careers of their dreams. Make use of their expertise – that’s what they’re paid for!

It’s never too early to call the career center for help and advice. Here are six tips to make the most of your career center. (more…)

Posted April 21, 2015 by

The Use of Job-Specific Assessments by Employers

Job candidate reading assignment in assessment center

Job candidate reading assignment in assessment center. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

When they graduate and start looking for jobs, many individuals focus on polishing their resumes and crafting immaculate cover letters highlighting their experience and skills. A number of students do not know about job-specific assessments until they begin applying for jobs. Companies and recruitment agencies in different sectors have begun to increasingly use these assessments to determine whether candidates will likely be suited for certain types of jobs. Job seekers should not discount job-specific skills and personality tests as unimportant because they may be used by employers during different parts of the hiring process. By doing their best on these tests, job seekers can ensure they stand out among other candidates in their fields. (more…)

Posted September 02, 2014 by

Recent College Graduates, Don’t Know What You’re Good at to Find the Jobs You Want? Here’s How to Get Started

For recent college graduates searching for jobs, it’s important for them to know what they can do well to understand the value they can offer a potential employer.  The following post has advice to help them get started.

There are many reasons you may struggle with being taking credit for what you do really, really well. Maybe you were taught it isn’t polite to brag when you were a kid. Perhaps it is because most feedback related to performance is based on corrective action; improving what you can work

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Posted August 26, 2014 by

Three things interviewers might expect you to do…

Jane Sunley

Jane Sunley, CEO of Purple Cubed

With 9.7 million unemployed people within the United States, and the number of people aged between 16 and 24 out of work increasing by 2 million in the last quarter*, the jobs market is a challenging place to be for job seekers.

Not only is there the difficulty of securing the first stage interview, more and more employers are using rigorous selection and / or assessment procedures to select the right candidate for the role – they want the best. And this presents you with additional hurdles to jump. (more…)

Posted March 05, 2014 by

The #1 Way To Prove You’re The Best Fit For The Job

Ryan Niessen

Ryan Niessen

Imagine this: you walk confidently and calmly into your big job interview…

This is the one you want… and you came prepared.

You sit down across from your interviewer, and exchange the normal pleasantries. They ask you some normal, day-to-day questions, and you respond with energy… all the while remaining conscious of your posture and body language.

Knowing that there are lots of other viable candidates out there, you decided to think outside the box and literally prove that you’re the best fit for the job. (more…)

Posted August 02, 2012 by

Virtual Job Tryout: Effective Assessments Benefit Candidates and Employers

Joe Murphy

Joe Murphy of Shaker Consulting Group

When doing research on thought leadership in assessments, writer Dave Zielinski was directed to us by several resources.  He wrote a thoughtful article for SHRM’s HR Magazine from his findings.

Dave found out that market leaders, high performing organizations and highly brand conscious companies are using custom simulations for pre-employment testing and employee selection. (more…)

Posted August 01, 2012 by

How Employers can Improve the Candidate Experience

Joe Murphy

Joe Murphy of Shaker Consulting Group

I had a chance to speak with Teresa Fearis, Director of Global Alliances at SHL, while attending Taleo World.  We discussed what can be done to improve the candidate experience.

Candidates are asked to provide a great deal of information during the application process.  At a minimum they provide work history.  Firms that utilize objective candidate evaluations methods such as pre-employment tests, assessments or simulations obtain even more information about the candidate.  This generates a pretty lop-sided exchange of information.  Teresa offers a few suggestions for improving the candidate experience based upon higher levels of information sharing.  Click PLAY to hear what she has to say.  Then scroll down to read more on this topic. (more…)

Posted July 03, 2012 by

Brand Plays a Role in Assessments During The Candidate Experience

Top Employers Deliver Better Candidate Experience

Top Employers Deliver Better Candidate Experience

According to Moses Bar-Yoseph, the national director, talent attraction, for KPMG in Canada, “The line is now blurring between assessment and branding.”

KPMG Canada recently launched a pre-employment assessment for managerial candidates.  Positioned as a Day-in-the-Life experience, it provides a candidate experience as unique as the KPMG brand, and as challenging as the role of a manager in tax, audit or consultancy.  KPMG sees candidate engagement as a two-way process of both education and evaluation. (more…)