Search
Advice » Job Hunt Strategy» Career Assessment » Make the Most of Career Couns ...
Make the Most of Career Counseling

Make the Most of Career Counseling

I always get a kick out of watching those old "Star Trek" reruns in which the hyperemotional Dr. McCoy gets frustrated with the often-demanding Captain Kirk (Jim) and finally blurts out, "Damn it, Jim! I'm a doctor, not a miracle worker!"

McCoy's declaration hits close to home in my work as a career counselor. We're not miracle workers either. All we can do is help our clients to the best of our ability, given what those clients do (or don't do) during the counseling process.

If you're currently or considering working with a career counselor, how can you reap lasting benefits from the experience? There's no precise formula, but these tips will help make your voyage successful.

Think Participant, Not Recipient

If you take your car in for an oil change, you're in recipient mode. You show up, pay and then get out of the way while the technicians do the work.

When you work with a career counselor, you need to step into participant mode. You can't expect to just show up, pay and then get out of the way while the counselor does all the work. You're required to be an active member of the team; if you don't participate, your counseling experience will almost certainly end in disappointment.

Have Realistic Expectations

You may think career counselors have all the answers. They don't, but they can help you work toward finding your own answers. They simply can't pull them out of a box and hand them to you.

Be Honest, Especially with Yourself

It's easy to talk yourself into feeling, thinking or saying something that really isn't genuine. It happens daily in career counseling sessions as clients try to fight off a host of outside pressures (family, friends, teachers, society as a whole) to make their own decisions.

Career counseling sessions give you a safe place and time to express what you're really struggling with -- in your career and in the rest of your life, too. But you have to be completely honest if you're to have any hope of really working through your challenges.

Know What You Want to Accomplish

When I'm working with clients, I often hear them say things like, "I just want to gain focus," or "I need to get some direction in my life." Such statements make sense, but as a counseling client, you need to work with your counselor to make your goals more specific.

Why? Without goals: 

  • It would be too easy for you and your counselor to simply talk and talk and talk without going anywhere. 
     
  • You won't know when you're done with the counseling process.

So if your counselor doesn't bring it up (although most will), insist that the two of you develop a plan for your work together. What exactly will you be doing, and why? And how will you know when you're finished?

It's OK to Think, But Do as Well

Introspection -- thinking about your interests, skills, abilities, values, personality traits and goals -– is part of any sound career counseling process. But at some point, you need to start taking action, even if you don't have everything figured out.

Paralysis by analysis is real. Don't let it happen to you.

Be Open to Challenge

Most career counselors will offer you support and an empathetic ear. But the very best will also challenge you.

My graduate school advisor called this technique "carefrontation," confrontation done in a caring way. When your career counselor challenges you – for example, by telling you you're saying one thing but doing another -- he isn't trying to be annoying. He's simply trying to help you find your truth.

Be a Smart Consumer

It's possible that you and the counselor you choose won't click. That happens sometimes, and it's nobody's fault.

Your career counselor can't help you "to boldly go where no man has gone before," as Captain Kirk and the "Star Trek" crew did. But he can help you explore your options and make informed career decisions if you're willing to be an equal and sincere participant.

Latest Jobs

YTC America Inc.
Posted: 09/16/2014
Camarillo, CA, 93010
Manufacturing Services and Solutions Intl
Posted: 09/16/2014
Broken Arrow, OK, 74012
Global Consulting Services
Posted: 09/16/2014
Waterloo, IA, 50701
Terra Bridge Innovations in Technology
Posted: 09/16/2014
Chicago, IL, 60604

Want more personalized results?  Update Your Profile

 
 
 

Monster Communities

Teaching Community
Where teachers meet and learn.
ArtBistro
Create and connect.
Excelle
Networking for the career-minded woman.
Nursing Link
Where nurses call the shots.
More Monster Communities

Monster Partners

Scholarships
Scholarships, financial aid and more ways to pay for school.
Education.org
Find top campus and online degree programs.
Military.com
Military portal for the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.
Financial Aid
Scholarships & financial aid.
Staffing for Government Jobs
Staffing and hiring solutions for federal government agency jobs.
More Monster Partners

Job Hunt Strategy

Six Ways to Make a Recruiter Hate You
If you want to blow your chances with recruiters -- and, by extension, with the companies they work for -- here are six perfect ways to do so.

Resumes & Cover Letters

Rev Up Your Resume to Relocate
Hoping to relocate? Get the ball rolling on landing the right job in the right location with these expert resume and cover letter tips.

Interviewing

100 Potential Interview Questions
Interview questions can run the gamut. You probably won't face all 100 of these, but you should still be prepared to answer at least some of them.

Salary & Benefits

10 Questions to Ask When Negotiating Salary
Most of us aren't natural negotiators, but asking these 10 questions during salary negotiations can help you get everything you deserve.

Employee Sourcing

Alt text
November Monster Employment Index Grows 13% Year-Over-Year, Tenth Consecutive Month of Positive Annual Growth.

For Seekers

Campus and Online Degrees
Advance your career and earn more with an online degree.
Free Salary Wizard
What are you worth? Find out and negotiate a better salary.
Research Careers
Get information on jobs and career paths to help guide your choices
Questions & Answers
Find answers to all your career related questions -- powered by Yahoo! Answers
Resume Distribution Service
Our distribution service puts your resume right in the hands of recruiters.
Resume Writing Services
Our experts will craft a keyword-rich resume that stands out in the crowd.
More Career Resources

For Employers

Career Ad Network
Target your job posting to more candidates on thousands of websites.
Hire Right Background Checks
Explore our background check packages to improve the quality of your hires.
Hiring Home Page
Find the best candidates for your business with Monster hiring solutions.
Job Postings
Find the right solution for your hiring needs. Starting at $99.
Power Resume Search
Monster's new search technology precisely matches people with your jobs.
Resource Center
Find staffing insights, labor trends, HR best practices and more.
Target Post
Connect with skilled, hourly and administrative candidates for only $99.

Social Media

Jobs on Twitter
Find jobs in your area and industry.
Monster Careers
Tune into our career advice and discussions tackling a wide range of topics and industries.
Monster Corporate & PR
Stay up-to-date on the latest news. Get the 'Who', 'What', 'When', and 'Why' on all things Monster related.
Monster Customer Service
Got a Monster question? We've got the answer. Whether you're a job seeker or employer, we can help you find the answers you need.
Monster for Employers
Find advice on hiring.
Follow Us
Check out our many pages and stay connected with the latest industry news, events, career advice and job openings.

Other Links

Monster Company Profiles
Explore companies and get information to guide your career decisions.
Compare Salaries
See how your pay stacks up to others in your field.
iPhone Application
Download the Monster app for iPhone and iPod touch.
Monster Job Seeker Blog
Monster Job Seeker Blog.
Monster Thinking Blog
Monster's Recruitment Trends Blog.
Jobs & Career Resources
Search Jobs:
For Employers: Post Jobs | Search Resumes | Advertise
About Monster | Work for Monster | Advertise with Us | AdChoices | Partner with Us | Investor Relations | Social Media
Terms of Use | Privacy Center | Accessibility Center | Help | Security | Contact Us | Sitemap | Mobile
©2014 Monster - All Rights Reserved U.S. Patents No. 5,832,497; 7,599,930 B1; 7,827,125 and 7,836,060 MWW - Looking for Monster Cable? - V: 2014.4.50.56-219
eTrustLogo