It doesn’t matter if you are still in school, have graduated, or want to pursue higher education after a gap; career counseling is the best resource you can benefit from. Most educational institutes have career counselors as a part of their faculty as they are an important resource in the academic system. Their role is to help the students brainstorm, identify and work towards possible career paths. A career counselor can help you identify your strengths, find opportunities, and prepare your resume and cover letter.
So if you are feeling unsure, lost, and indecisive about your future educational and career choices, then you may need the help of a career counselor to make a decision. However, before you can rush to a career counselor, you should have a basic idea of what questions to ask to reap the most benefits.
How can I build on my strengths?
If you want to pursue a higher education degree, knowing how to build on your skills can help you exponentially in your academic pursuits. In that case, a career counselor can help you by determining your key strengths and the way you can use them in your favor. Counselors have the right qualifications like online CACREP counseling programs help them identify students’ skills, strengths, and weaknesses through observation and evaluation.
So, with the help of your counselor, you can identify key skills such as communication, research, teamwork, interpersonal skills, problem-solving skills, technical skills, etc. Once you are able to determine your strengths and weaknesses, you can use these findings to shortlist which careers would best suit you.
How can I improve my weaknesses?
Now that you know all your strengths and weaknesses, it is crucial that you take the criticism and work on it to improve your abilities. The first step is to acknowledge your weaknesses and admit that you need to work on them. Then, you can discuss the steps and strategies you need to implement to overcome these weaknesses. For example, if you struggle with time management, using tools like calendars and setting reminders can help improve that.
What is the current job market for your industry of interest?
If you already have a career path in mind, then you must realize that there are several other factors that can impact your decision apart from your skills. For this reason, seeking the help of a counselor who can evaluate the job outlook of the position you are interested in can help you in making your decision. A simple internet search won’t give you the same results, as counselors have certain recourses that can help you specifically in this regard.
Apart from that, you can also inquire about possible career paths you can choose with your major. Once you ask this question, you may realize that you have several options.
Can you provide feedback on my resume?
Whether you’re looking for internships or summer jobs, your resume and cover letter will always play a crucial role in this process. Keep in mind that employers have seen countless resumes and know exactly where to look to find someone they need. For this reason, ask your counselor to give your resume and cover letter a thorough look and provide feedback. Their feedback and recommendations can polish your resume even more. Ask them for tips to improve your resume and cover letter and make it look unique.
How can I stand out amongst my competitors?
The fact is that almost every job is highly saturated, which has increased the overall competition in the job market. Therefore, no matter where you apply, you will be up against several competitors applying for the same position. In that case, a counselor can help you stand out through your application and resume. They can use your networking skills to make recommendations and highlight the job-specific skills on your resume. In short, a counselor can help you tailor your resume to stand out from the other applicants.
How do I optimize my learning time?
Whether you are still in school or planning to pursue higher education, you will need to optimize your learning as time goes by and your responsibilities increase. Therefore, you must seek help regarding this concern early on. Your career counselor can suggest that you take on an internship or join any leadership program that will help you develop vital skills while you are still in school or college. Moreover, they can help you choose activities or different programs to improve specific skills that are crucial for your career plan. Their connections and recommendations can help you make the most out of your learning by giving you numerous opportunities to improve and build your strengths.
How can I prepare for an upcoming interview?
Preparing for an interview is crucial as it gives you the confidence you need to face the hiring committee and answer their questions. In this case, career counselors are an irreplaceable resource as they can help you improve interview techniques and inform you about what to expect. You can use their help to rehearse the best possible answers to some common questions and use instant feedback to improve. Mock interviews are an excellent source of learning and can improve your confidence during the actual interview.
How can I become an attractive candidate without any job experience?
Most employers want experienced individuals to work on the job, and it can get a bit difficult to enter the job market with little to no work experience. However, your career counselor can arrange for school-based internships or suggest any volunteer programs where you can acquire a lot of experience. These student programs can teach you more skills than you realize. Therefore, you can demonstrate your skills and experience without having any conventional working experience.
If you are planning to visit your school counselor again after your initial sessions, it can be helpful to find out what they want to focus on moving forward. It will depend on the progress you and your counselor have made during the initial session. However, knowing what’s coming next can help you prepare for the session. You can also research a little about it and note down any questions you may like answers to. Keep in mind that improving your current capabilities will take a lot of patience and time. But eventually, you will see the results of these counseling sessions.