I am sure most of you will agree that a career decision is one of the most crucial decisions a person has to make in his life. Career counsellors play an important part in this process. This in turn means that counsellors have a huge responsibility.

A young person’s dreams, aspirations and goals can be identified if a career counsellor guides and mentors them towards the right career path. It’s the role of career counsellors to understand the students and help them to identify their aptitudes, personalities and interests. During the counselling process, a career counsellor helps them understand the difference between their interests and true potential. 

Like a student can be confused while making the right career choice, new career counsellors can also be unsure of the right way to begin their counselling practices. 

Thus here are a few tips for new career counsellors who have just started out their counselling practices. 

10 Tips for New Career Counsellors

Check out the tips for new career counsellors to help students find the right career path:

  1. Provide a Comfortable Environment: When students approach career counsellors, they feel shy in participating in the conversation and expressing their thoughts. They feel unsure about the career choices they want to make and how to portray their vision.
    Thus the primary responsibility of a career counsellor is to provide them with a safe space so that they can freely share their doubts, concerns and confusions. You need to make them feel comfortable by providing a positive and refreshing environment.
  2. Be a Good Listener: Hear out the students before providing any suggestions or advice. When a student approaches a career counsellor, he/she is certainly looking out for guidance but more than that he/she is looking out for a mentor who can understand his/her needs.
    A good career counsellor needs to be a good listener. You should give the student your undivided attention, use gestures like nodding and provide them encouragement to share more using the words yes, keep going, etc.

    I would also recommend that one of the counselling sessions that you have with your student should be a one-on-one session in absence of their parents.

    A counsellor is a bridge between the parent and student whenever there is a disagreement between these two. Once you gain the confidence of your student, he/she will be in a better position to objectively access all the career options available to him/her and be ready to understand the parent’s point of view. 
  3. Ask Relevant Questions: A career counsellor can get the students to share exactly what is going on within their minds only if they ask the relevant and right questions.
    A career counsellor needs to observe students well while they are sharing information about their interests, likes and dislikes. Pose relevant questions to them and extract the information required to further guide them in making the right career choices. 
  4. Research: You can become a good career counsellor only if you research well. Your knowledge of various courses and subjects available is very critical for you to become successful.
    Thus, irrespective of whether you have students or not, as you are just starting out, keep doing your research on subjects, courses and universities. Maintain an excel sheet with relevant information. Dedicate two hours of your day to researching and preparing a data bank.
  5. Accept and Learn New Technologies: Career counsellors interact with today’s millennials who have grown with ever-increasing technology requirements. The majority of them are the most active users of technology. Therefore, career counsellors should be open to the use of technology to converse with them.
  6. Adaptability: Every student that you counsel will be different from the other. As counsellors, you need to adapt and change your counselling styles basis your students. you cannot use the same method to approach every student.
    Thus observe your students, make them feel comfortable, get them to share and adopt a counselling style that is the best suited for them. 
  7. Assignment of Tasks: Always assign a task to your student after your counselling session. A career counsellor is there to handhold the student and not to give everything on the platter. For example, if a student approaches you for guidance on university admission, you can share a list of a few universities based on the student’s aptitude, interests and requirements. Then ask him/her to research the same too. Let them come back to you with their questions. then you can discuss those questions and clear their doubts. This way, you will arrive at a decision based on facts and their actual needs and capabilities, not on assumptions.
  8. Develop Good Communication Skills: Career counselling is a continuous process. Whenever a student requires career guidance, you should know that he/she will need your support throughout the journey until he/she makes a career selection. Therefore, it’s important to have good communication skills. From understanding their requirements to suggesting a suitable career path, your communication plays a vital role.
    A career counsellor should be able to easily express and explain his/her ideas and thoughts to students. He/she should know when to ask questions and when to remain silent during the entire conversation. for this, you need good communication skills. This comes naturally when you deal with students more frequently.
  9. Networking: Join social media communities of parents, counsellors and other entrepreneurs, and support groups to network with them. This will also give your business venture/counselling practice more visibility and recognition. This is a great way to build your clientele.
  10. Consult and Collaborate with Colleagues, Experts & Senior Career Counsellors: Always strive to be a learner and look out for collaboration opportunities with other counsellors and your colleagues. This could help you get more visibility when you are starting out and also this is a great way to learn more about the profession and industry.

Bonus Tip – Do not Undervalue Yourself: As a new career counsellor, while starting a new venture, one tends to offer free consultations to attract clients. While this can be debated, I believe that no one will respect your skills if you do not value your time and effort.
Thus, you can surely charge a bit less than the market practice initially but never undervalue yourself. You do not want anyone to question your competence before even availing of your services. 

Recommended Read – Stream Selection After 10th: 9 Tips to Guide Students

Career planning is crucial in today’s competitive world. A career counsellor aims to channel students in the right direction by carefully assessing their aptitude, interests and goals.

Thus, a career counsellor needs to be a visionary who can foresee the best opportunities for their students’ bright future.

I hope the above-mentioned tips for new career counsellors can help you in this endeavour as you embark on a new journey to mentor the future of the country.

If you have just started your career counselling practice or want to start your journey as a career counsellor, you must have the right skills and validation. You can advance your career counselling skills with the Global Career Counsellor Program.

This is Asia’s 1st Comprehensive Online Program offered by By Univariety in Collaboration with UCLA Extension. This program is the best choice for individuals passionate about Career Counselling. Give wings to your career and become a trained Global Career Counsellor.

Know more about the program, Speak to Our Expert Advisor

Aesha Shah
Aesha Shah

This is Aesha Shah, Founder of EduCareer Consultancy, Mumbai. She restarted her career at the age of 40. It all started when she took a break from her successful Postgraduate Teaching job to raise her newborn. During the break, she went for blogging. But soon she started missing the interactions she used to have with teenagers as a teacher. Then she decided to work as a career counsellor. She is a trained Global Career Counsellor and currently working on establishing her counselling practice and helping students in making the right career decisions. 

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