Your career is one of the most important life decisions you will make fits your interest, abilities and knowledge---definitely if you choose to stay with it for a long period of time. If you are seeking help from a career center or a private career counselor, it should be the one with the following standards, qualities and attributes so you can easily communicate your needs without hesitation, issues or problems.
Be Available. The counselor with whom you are discussing your ideas or matters should be the one who is concerned for you and should be presently availed to you and listen to all your issues, concerns and ideas. Career Counselors in private practice that accept clients have a schedule you usually on a certain day at a certain time with some flexibility to move you to a different day and time. When you call in to change/confirm an appointment, use this as a means to put arising issues, ideas and concerns for the next appointment. For example, a leading topic could be, "I am calling in to make sure we are on for next week at 10:00 AM. I would like to discuss changing my career. I am looking to take an aptitude test to see where I place for the new nursing program..."
Career Centers are slightly different as they service more clients in an open forum usually attached to an educational institution. Career Services offices may employ more individuals who can assist students/clients with career tools, workshops, résumé writing, and job seeking services to assist with career exploration. Their availability may be more limited to the timeframe that fits with the hours of the school. However, a similar concept applies-- concerned for you and should be presently availed to you and listen to all your issues, concerns and ideas.
Be Open. You can openly and freely discuss what you think about your life and career without any hesitation. In this regard you can be normal and open and the counselor could easily guide you. If you are not open, honest or comfortable in talking with the counselor, then it will be difficult for you to get the best advice or consultation. Many Career Counselors and Career Centers have heard some of the most extreme career choices and some of the surprising stories imaginable. They are trained to assist you through the changes and waves of your career. Remember this is your time with them, use it to your advantage and allow them to get to know you and your needs.
Be Supported. Both private Career Counselors and Career Centers should be supportive of you; they should be the ones who will support you in all your ideas. No matter if you are talking a bit awkward or nonsense, the counselor should be the one who will get something positive out of it. Remember they have many years of training to assist you in developing which road you should develop your career path and tools to help you get there.
According to the National Institutes of Health, Career counselors can help fellows clarify their goals by identifying significant work related values, preferences and interests. Through a variety of assessment inventories and discussions, career counselors can help you understand yourself better and relate this self-knowledge into career choices.1
Be Confidential. Confidentiality applies to both private the Career Counselors and Career Centers. The matters in between you and your counselor should be confidential and remain confidential all times. This confidence should continue to grow on both sides and should sustain throughout the period of the working relationship—and beyond. Counselors of all types have some type of confidentially statement in their practice or office. The counselor should have you sign a confidentiality statement at the beginning before services begin.
Many Career Counselors hold credentials and are licensed in a different counseling discipline (i.e. Mental Health, School, Psychology, etc.) that require them abide by the ethical guidelines of their professional associations. This means that no one outside their offices is given any information without your written consent. However, in most cases there are only three (3) cases where confidentiality can be broken: 1. If, in the judgment of your counselor, you are in danger of seriously harming yourself or others. 2. If current child abuse or elder abuse is suspected. 3. In rare circumstances, if a court order is issued, requiring information release.
Guidance and Encouragement
Be Encouraged. The counselor is not only supposed to give you guidance about the right career, in fact the best counselor is the one who will encourage your ideas and give you the best ways to achieve them. Dr. Y Joel Yong states in his article to the American Psychology Association that individuals who strongly possess the virtue of encouragement tend to enjoy providing encouragement to others, are good at doing so, and do so frequently.2 This is not just for psychologists, but especially for Career Counselors who reach out and touch those who are seeking direction, guidance and encouragement for those who seek working fuel for their lives.
2 Wong, Y. J. (2014). The Psychology of Encouragement: Theory, Research, and Applications. Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/education/ce/psychology-encouragement.pdf