Choosing the right career has always been complex and challenging for anybody. As a result, many people have turned to career counsellors to find the right career and get the right information to reach that career.
Today careers are infinity complex, with more jobs created than ever before and in industries that haven’t existed before.
People are needing to rely more and more on career counsellors to help them make the right choices. Career counsellors require new methods to assist, involving technology and practical techniques in assisting people to find and get the right careers for them.
Reviewed below are options available from a technology and practical standpoint.
Career Counselling Theories and Techniques
Career counsellors use theories and assessments to help people make the best choice possible on what career to choose or how to develop their career further. They assist in thinking through problems people may face, finding jobs, and reviewing what opportunities are even available to people.
There are different types of career counsellors that will focus on different types of people that need career advice. For example, a career counsellor may just concentrate on picking the right career path. At the same time, another will focus on helping somebody already in a career find job satisfaction or see how they can develop their career further or even change their career.
Career Counselling Theories
The most basic theory is that a career counsellor will talk to somebody and then recommend based on what the person has said. This fundamental concept could work but greatly depends on the actual career counsellor and their experience and understanding of different careers.
We can review some of the more advanced theories used below.
Trait-and-factor theory is the idea that you match somebody’s personality traits to a career path. This involves talking to them, finding their skills or aptitude, and discussing their personal career thoughts.
An issue with this theory is that it doesn’t consider anything else except what the person would be good at right now and generally only gives one basic option. Thus, using this theory limits potential and removes options provided to the person.
Theory of Person-Environment Fit
Person-environment fit theory is similar to trait-and-factor theory; however, this focuses on what environment would best suit the individual, leading to career satisfaction.
The issue with this theory is that being a good fit for an environment and vice-versa doesn’t always lead to satisfaction. There is no consideration given to personal growth, future opportunities, or other external factors such as family.
Learning Theory of Career Counselling
Using this theory, career counsellors need to review four factors of an individual when helping them choose a career—special abilities or genetic traits, environment factors, learning experiences, and how the individual approaches tasks.
This theory is that no one thing determines what career somebody should look at, and there is no single career that is best for somebody. Instead, individuals can choose any job as long as they are willing to work towards that career with realistic intentions and goals.
Career counsellors will be more involved in helping people deal with career problems or advancement and less in specifically picking a career.
Social Cognitive Career Theory
Social cognitive career theory involves discussing three factors with the individual: self-efficacy, outcome expectations, and personal goals.
The idea is to discuss different career options and what the individual thinks the expected outcome would be, where they will end up, how well they will do, how successful they will be. The career counsellor will also discuss personal career goals. This theory focuses on the result a career will bring, rather than the career itself, but also on making the individual responsible for their decision.
The Cognitive Information Processing Approach
This is a highly complex theory and approach to helping individuals pick careers. It relies on a person being logical, reasonable, and active in their career decision-making. It also depends on a group of career counsellors working to determine who has the best skill for each section of this approach or best for the individual being counselled.
You go step by step through various stages until you reach the final result, which is a career choice.
Career Counselling Techniques
Even without a specialised theory or approaches to career counselling, there are general techniques that most career counsellors should be using to provide the best service possible.
Before diving straight into career theories and options, a simple discussion between the counsellor and the individual to determine goals, issues, and current direction should be had.
This initial discussion allows the counsellor to determine the best approach or options to then review further.
Find a way to get on the same level as the individual. You need to work as a team and not as a strict taskmaster. Simply telling somebody what they must do will not make them trust you and follow your advice.
Review an individual’s skills, talents, and aptitudes. Understanding where they are right now, what skills they already have, and what interests they have in a career are essential as a building block on their options and where they could go in the future.
Discuss life goals, motivations, and values to determine what career options would or would not work for them. Just being good at something doesn’t mean they will enjoy it or that it will work for their life goals.
Once career options have been determined, start creating goals on how that career could be reached. You want short, medium, and long-term goals to achieve the career. Ensure goals are realistic, specific, measurable, and relevant to the profession.
Career goals should also be adaptive. For example, working towards something and finding hurdles that are impossible to cross should mean you can switch directions slightly and keep moving forward.
Build a Career Plan
Help build a complete career plan that puts career goals into action, when and how the goals can be implemented or done. This should be a timeline and checklist for each goal that has been created.
Use technology to assist where you believe it will benefit the individual and yourself. We live in a digital world, and providing tasks, tests, and tools digitally to candidates allows everything to move faster and for you to help more people at once.
Use psychometric tests, course options, and delivery of your assessments and guidance online.
Some additional technology ideas to use are:
- Job search sites to find current jobs, salaries, requirements, and actual need.
- Online learning options
- Computer-aided career testing
Review Job Markets
Stay informed of job markets. You need to understand if a job market is saturated or may be replaced in the near future. Conversely, you shouldn’t offer career options to people where the career may be gone or severely shrunk in the near future.
Stay Updated on Career Options
Stay informed of new career opportunities. New jobs, new industries, and new markets and constantly being introduced. You need an understanding of everything available so you can offer it as an option.
If you don’t know about it, it rules that career out for the person you’re counselling.
Post Counselling Check-in
Once you’ve assessed and helped somebody build a career plan with goals, you should check in on them to see how it’s going. Make sure they follow the path set, see if anything has gone wrong, and see if there is any simple advice to help get people back on track. Otherwise, you can advise them to come back in for another full review and see where things fell apart for them.
Career Counselling Techniques for High School Students
The techniques used for high school students will be almost identical; however, a few tips on techniques when dealing with high school students are:
- Provide testing as a way to undercover potential strengths, interests, and aptitudes towards specific areas. While not the ultimate goal, these tests can shine a light on areas the student may do well with.
- Recommend extracurricular activities that will assist the student in either reaching their career path or introducing them to new ideas to explore for a career.
- Suggest internships and part-time jobs to the student. These options will allow them to see how their potential careers work in the real world and give them relevant work experience.
- Have students review their soft skills to see if there are areas that need improvement. For example, many companies require you to work in teams and communicate effectively. Without soft skills, a student’s technical skills won’t mean as much in a corporate world.
- Advise students on the importance of networking with people their own age for future opportunities and reaching out to people in fields they are interested in. Many professionals will be happy to provide advice or discuss their career with a respectful student that shows interest.
Psychometric Career Aptitude Test
Using psychometric career aptitude tests is another convenient way to assess somebody’s ability. While these tests are not the be-all and end-all of the career selection path, they open up opportunities and thoughts about what somebody could be good at or enjoy doing.
Often these tests could spark an interest in somebody that they had never thought of before. While there are some online options, you can’t always be confident about who has designed them or the real purpose behind them.
Providing a comprehensive and reviewed psychometric career aptitude test to individuals is a critical step in helping them pick the right career.
Comparison Between Practical Methods and Technology
When reviewing all of the options, you’ll see many are practical when interviewing or working with somebody, and then you have the option of providing tests to assess and deliver results from somebody automatically.
The benefits of the practical methods are that you take a personalised approach and use various techniques and your own intuition about the person to make a full assessment. The downside of this approach is that it can be time-consuming when you have many customers, and you may miss asking or misinterpret something.
Using a technological approach to career counselling, you can provide preset tests and have people run through them and provide them with direct results or even just send the results to you for further review. This is an option when you are busier but want some specific questions answered or when the person cannot attend in person. It can also be a more cost-effective option for some people.
So, which is the best option? It would be best to use both methods. You want to collect as much data as possible, be efficient, and have a personalised approach. A test will never be able to replace the intuition or knowledge of a real person. Technology should only be used as a tool to help with the overall process.
Career counsellors are essential for individuals who don’t have a clear career path or are looking for a new direction. They must use their own knowledge and experience and all the latest technological advancements to assist people in making an informed choice.
Test and use all tools available to you and figure out what works best when dealing with different career seekers.