Your role as a career counselor or advisor is no small feat as you guide students towards graduation, whether it be transferring to a 4-year university or helping them discover potential career paths. Their career choices will determine their educational plans and where their lives may lead post-graduation. Often times, college students are aware of their passions but aren’t sure where their passions fit into reality. While it is your job to guide students toward the career paths that best suit their wants and needs, a lot is riding on these decisions. Below, we have outlined some suggestions to help students towards careers that are the best fit for them.
As you may already know, the greatest tool available when determining how to help college students choose careers is a career assessment. Utilize a tool that is geared towards analyzing interests and personality. A career assessment that helps a student identify their interests is important because researchers say that people tend to be attracted to activities and work that they enjoy and are interested in and are thus more apt to develop skills needed to successfully perform that activity or job. In school, they tend to become more engaged in their learning, and thus stay engaged throughout their college experience. By figuring out their interests early on, you will create a foundation for the work you will do with each student.
More so, as a career counselor, you are equipped with the expertise needed to place students in the courses that suit them best. It is important to distinguish the difference between a student’s interests and the things they are good at. The Conference Board found that 53% of people are unhappy at work. Thus, your expertise is highly important in reversing this statistic for each student you work with.
Another way to successfully place students in careers that suit them most is developing a list of professional contacts. A list of professional contacts from a variety of fields is a great resource for students to explore career paths. About 75 percent of college freshmen have uncertainty about their educational and vocational goals. Students can leverage professional contacts to gain insight into a field of interest. Even more, the students can get answer industry-specific questions that you may not be able to answer. Thus, directing unprepared students to industry professionals is highly beneficial.
Utilizing career assessments and relevant professional contacts are great ways to aid your students. However, ultimately, it is your expertise in helping students understand the professional world around them that is the most valuable.
What other tips do you have to share with other counselors or advisors? We’ve only scratched the surface here and would love to hear from you. Please share in the comments!