Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Social networking and job search 29 – careers and career councilors

Posted in job search and career development by Timothy Platt on December 22, 2009

This posting probably qualifies as yet another attempt on my part to play career councilor but I want to share some thoughts on the activities and services provided by full time, professionals in that field with this entry in the series.

Some career counseling opportunities arrive with a pink slip as an outplacement component to a severance package, or this can be offered as part of a buy-out. This is also a service that individuals can enter into on their own initiative, and that can be when they realize that it is to their benefit to look ahead for new and better opportunities than a current job can offer. Good career advice is not just needed when out of work and looking to get working again.

Career counselors come with a variety of professional backgrounds, usually including HR in some capacity or recruiting but often including a range of other skills and experience as well. The idea is that these professionals have developed a clear, systematic understanding of the job search and hiring process that they can share and teach to others as a marketable product.

• Some career counseling services are provided by individual entrepreneurs and consultants.
• Some are provided by career counseling and outplacement businesses with individual counselors on staff. They usually operate with an established branded approach and service that their specific counselors follow and they generally operate in many respects like consulting firms.
• Some career counseling services are provided through organizations like the Five O’Clock Club with structured seminar and small group counseling meetings.
• Sometimes alumni associations and professional associations offer access to career counseling services, and at a discounted rate.

I have attempted to cover at least most of the high points for career counseling advice in this series: Guide to Effective Job Search and Career Development. One very significant area I am not including is focused, specific networking connections for any particular job searcher or job search situation. A good career counselor can also help with that, as well as offering individualized feedback and ongoing advice.

The above said, it is important to note that not all career counseling is created equal and some counseling services provide more value than others. This is definitely a situation where you want to look for quality and even where this service is provided “free” to you by a former employer. After all, you may not be paying an hourly fee but you are paying in your time and effort, and most importantly in setting your search priorities. If you are looking for a new career opportunity but placing your effort and emphasis in less than productive directions you are only setting yourself up for problems.

Do some due diligence.

• What is the placement success rate for people who use the services of a prospective career counseling service?
• Do they have experience and comparable success in your target industry?
• Do they have experience and comparable success in your target functional area?
• Do they have experience and comparable success in your target job level?
• Are they up to date in what they offer? As a hint here, watch out for any service that sounds like they may have been on top of their field ten years ago, but that does not seem to know online and its newest innovations in job search and career development. Looks for gaps in service, experience and approach that limit their ability to meet your needs.
• Find the best you can access and afford as a cost-effective resource and even if that simply means referring to counselors for specific issues.

Free or not, look for the same qualities and value that you would demand for a significant, mission critical business expense. After all, your career and developing it to the fullest is your most mission critical, ongoing professional activity.

The next posting in this series is going to look into recruiters and recruiting services.

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Scott Perry, link2peer. link2peer said: Social networking and job search 29 – careers and career … http://bit.ly/4LTf7q […]

  2. […] have already written a posting about career councilors in this series and will add one on outplacement services as a separate posting. I will simply note […]

  3. […] search and career development by Timothy Platt on March 17, 2010 I have posted on working with career councilors and professional resume writers and about business social networking in general as an ongoing […]


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