Aug 30, 2009

Who are Career Counselors?

Over the last few months have got a couple of mails from folks, typically who are looking to relocate to India - asking me if I can suggest people who can be their career counselors.

Full time career counselors are not really well known in India, and the only type of career counselors who come to mind are the ones who do advice columns in the papers like Usha Albuquerque or TV, like Rashmi Bansal.

But what exactly does a one on one career counselor do?

This is a good answer on Lawjobs:

A counselor serves as a guide on your career exploration. He or she is an objective listener who can help you determine solutions to the issues that brought you to her or him.

Do not expect a counselor to tell you what to do. As a way around what may be viewed as a counselor's unwillingness to resolve a dilemma, a client sometimes asks the counselor what he or she would do in the same situation. Even if the counselor responds, the answer may not be relevant to the client. Each one of us has different characteristics and needs. As a result, the hypothetical actions of the counselor may not be the best approach for the client.

With that in mind, consider the counselor's qualities that can lead to a productive relationship. Working with an objective, attentive listener is a key component. The talking-listening balance favors you engaging in a major share of talking while the counselor listens and poses questions that help you probe into the issues.

A counselor may also challenge you to analyze some of your underlying perceptions. Without recommending a particular course of action, a counselor can offer ideas and strategies for you to consider.

When deciding on a counselor, take into account your level of comfort and trust. As you determine whether you are comfortable with a counselor, discount your discomfort about dealing with your career issues. Focus on whether you have rapport and can discuss issues openly with the person.