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Skills for a Career Counselor

Just as students can achieve higher grades with the help of a tutor, a job seeker can land a better job with the help of a career counselor. To help their clients navigate the best possible career path, career counselors require a skill set that includes listening, assessing and planning.

Assessment

Career counselors need assessment skills. They need to be able to understand what their client wants out of a career and assess whether the client's goals and expectations are realistic. For example, if a client expresses a desire to be an entrepreneur in order to work fewer hours, the career counselor would need to educate the client that entrepreneurs typically work more hours than people who are not self-employed. The client would then need to adjust these expectations or choose another career path with the help of the counselor.

Personality and Skill Testing

Career counselors need skills in testing. They have to verify what clients have indicated on their resumes by administering skill tests, whether they're for typing, proofreading or computer programming. Career counselors may also administer personality tests to their clients, such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator to ensure the desired career path doesn't clash with those personality traits. For example, a client who is soft-spoken, shy and exhibits an overall lack of confidence would likely have a tough time pursuing an aggressive sales position.

Monitoring Industry Information

Career counselors need research skills. They have to peruse magazines, newspapers and the Internet to stay on top of the current state of the job market, both from a local perspective and a global perspective. This prevents scenarios in which counselors might encourage a client to pursue a career in a dying industry or in a remote location if the client has no desire to relocate. Staying updated on the job market requires a career counselor to research positions and network with other HR professionals and recruiters. Career counselors also need to be well-briefed in the industry's vernacular, so that they have a good grasp of various job titles, synonyms for those titles and the responsibilities and skills they entail.

Big-Picture Planning

A career counselor helps clients map out both long-term and short-term career goals.To facilitate this, they need to know exactly what academic credentials or experience their clients need for their long-term career goals, and calculate how long it will take clients to reach them. For example, a counselor might suggest that a client who wishes to become a lawyer but lacks the tuition money and education should take on an administrative job in the daytime and attend law school in the evenings. The career counselor would calculate how long the client would need to juggle both a job and evening classes before he acquires enough credits to get a law degree and move onto the next level of applying for lawyer positions.

Word Processing and Internet Research

Career counselors need to know how to use word processing software to properly format resumes and administer skill tests to clients. They also need to be adept at Internet research to keep up on the latest trends in job searching and recruitment.



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