Career Counseling: How to Find your Dream job in the Berkshires
Choosing a career path is one of the most important decisions you’ll make, and navigating your career goals can be stressful. Whether you’re navigating a career change, starting a new job search, or graduating college, working with a career counselor can help you make informed career choices at any point.
Throughout your life, your situation will change, and you’ll need to make significant career and life decisions in your best interest. With the help of an experienced career counselor, you’ll be able to navigate what career paths are right for you based on your interests, skills, and personality. Your counselor can also help you navigate job market trends and identify opportunities to advance in your current career.
Career counseling can not only help you make critical career-related decisions now, but it also helps you develop the skills necessary to make future decisions.
What is career counseling?
According to a 2014 study, Americans spend approximately one-third of their lives at work, but only 52.3% feel satisfied with their career. Over time, job stress can lead to psychological challenges, including anxiety, stress, and depression. Consequently, finding a fulfilling and rewarding career is an essential component of our overall health.
When searching for a new career feels overwhelming, career counseling services can help you learn more about your interests, values, and talents. Professional career counselors can be psychologists, life coaches, mentors, social workers, or professional counselors trained in occupational information services. Students typically work with a guidance counselor for career guidance in high school before applying to college. However, career services can help anyone interested in exploring new career opportunities.
Who can benefit from career counseling?
Since career development is a lifelong process, career counseling services can benefit anyone at any age. The earlier you start setting career goals, exploring your career options, and making intentional decisions about your future, the better prepared you will be. Some people that may benefit from career counseling services include:
- High school and college students
- Alumni who have recently graduated and are exploring career plans
- Job seekers looking for their first job
- Anyone returning to the workforce, such as those returning from active duty or family leave
- Anyone who feels dissatisfied in their current career and wants to make a change
Although people seek the services of a career counselor for several reasons, some common career questions and topics that may arise during your first career counseling session include:
- Your interests, abilities, and values
- Questions related to the job search or interview process, including writing a resume
- The required credentials, certification, and training programs for different careers
- Challenges you’re facing in your current career path
- Opportunities for career change and advancement
What should you expect during a career counseling appointment?
Although career counseling sessions will vary depending on the counselor, most professional career counselors start with career assessments to learn more about your strengths, weaknesses, aptitudes, and interests. During your first career counseling appointment, your counselor may administer an aptitude test or personality tests, such as the Myers-Briggs type indicator (MBTI) or the Strong Interest Inventory, to identify potential career paths.
Your career counselor will also ask career-related questions to determine the best matches for you. Some career questions that your counselor might ask include:
- What are your favorite hobbies?
- What salary do you need to be comfortable in your current living situation?
- What is your previous educational experience?
- Do you prefer working alone or with other people?
- Do you prefer a fast-paced work environment or a more relaxed setting?
What should you look for in a career counselor?
Before meeting with a career counselor, take the time to research their credentials and reviews. Some steps you should take when looking for a potential career counselor include:
- Checking their credentials. Professional career counselors might be members of the National Career Development Association (NCDA) or receive certification from their respective licensing board like the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC). The NCDA outlines guidelines, expectations, and requirements for career counselors to acquire before entering the field.
- Reading reviews. Online reviews can help you find the right career counselor for you. You might search for reviews that mention career counselors’ strengths and weaknesses or whether past clients have any reservations about recommending them.
- Considering fee structure. While some counselors offer packages of sessions and career assessments, others charge per visit. Consider your budget when determining which type of fee structure to prioritize.
Finding a Career Counselor
Career development is much more than deciding on a college major or searching for a new job—it’s a lifelong process. Career counseling can help at any point in your career, whether you’re searching for long-term career guidance or weighing the pros and cons of a master’s degree.
To get started, reach out to a career counselor through the Berkshire Therapy Group. Our professional career counselors have the skills and training to provide career guidance and help you make the changes needed to feel satisfied in your career. One of our counselors will help you identify your strengths, navigate potential career paths, and develop the skills necessary to make future career decisions.