12 Career Counseling Questions To Ask Your Career Counselor
Updated February 16, 2023
A career counselor can be a valuable resource whether you are recently graduated or looking to change careers. Career counselors have professional and interpersonal skills that can help with finding and preparing for a career. You can get the most out of your visit to a career counselor by preparing questions to ask them ahead of time. In this article, we discuss a few questions you can ask your career counselor to ensure an efficient session.
Preparing career counseling questions to ask
You likely will have a lot of questions to ask your career counselor. With specialized training in career services, they are a good resource of information as you prepare to enter a career. You can prepare a list of relevant questions ahead of time, by asking yourself the following questions:
What do I hope to get out of my appointment with the career counselor?
What type of information am I most interested in?
What parts of the job search do I want the most assistance with?
What service am I most looking forward to?
Why do I want the assistance of the career counselor?
How do I think the career counselor can help me with my career?
Questions to ask your career counselor
Preparing ahead of time can help you get the most out of your session with a career counselor. Here are a few questions you might ask them:
1. How can I build on my strengths?
Potential employers are likely to ask you what you consider to be your biggest strengths, and identifying these can also help you choose a career that you enjoy. One of the first steps to build on your strengths is to identify what you consider to be your professional strengths.
Strengths may include things like research skills, communication, problem-solving abilities, teamwork, interpersonal skills and technical skills. Your career counselor may help you uncover your strengths. Then, you can work together to evaluate specific steps that you can take to build on these strengths to pursue a career. If you are seeking employment, your counselor may help you articulate these strengths for interviews.
2. How can I improve my weaknesses?
Interviewers will often ask about your weaknesses. Learning to identify these is just as important as taking steps to improve on them. It is okay to acknowledge your weaknesses because everyone has them. It is more important to discuss the specific steps you are taking to overcome them. This might include using an online calendar to improve time management skills or taking a technology class to improve your computer skills.
Your career counselor can also help you learn to use this question in a way that demonstrates self-awareness and progress toward your professional goals.
3. What is the current job market for my industry?
Evaluating job outlooks and the expected demand for an industry can help you improve your chances of finding employment following graduation. Career counselors have access to resources that can help you when making career decisions. You might also ask them what types of careers your current major prepares you for. Sometimes, majoring in a specific subject has external benefits in other industries.
For example, a degree in psychology can help you develop communication and interpersonal skills, which can translate to other positions. Even if you are considering a career change, it can be helpful to understand how certain careers are trending. Turning to job outlook data can help choose a career in demand.
4. Can you provide me feedback on my resume and my cover letter?
Your resume and cover letter are crucial tools to finding employment. Career counselors have viewed many resumes and often know what things employers are looking for when reviewing them. Ask your career counselor to review your resume and to give you feedback. They can also give you recommendations for additional skills or experiences to include.
When you are ready to apply for jobs, you might also ask your career counselor to review your cover letter. Your cover letter should be customized to the specific job for which you are applying. Your counselor can offer you tips to improve your cover letter so that it stands out.
5. How can I make myself stand out against competitors?
Some jobs can be competitive and you may be up against many other applicants. Your career counselor can help you practice interviewing skills and help you organize your resume in a way that helps you stand out when applying for these jobs. They may make recommendations such as using your networking skills, highlight industry-specific skills on your resume, tailoring your resume to the job and writing a great objective statement.
6. How can I optimize my time while learning?
If you plan to return to school or are currently in school, your career counselor can help you optimize your learning. Joining leadership programs or taking on an internship can help you build important skills while you are still in school. Your career counselor can help you choose the activities and programs that build on the specific skills that you will need in your intended career choice. They can connect you to these opportunities so you can get the most out of your education.
7. Where can I find more information about my intended career?
Some careers require a lot of time and money to prepare for, so gathering as much information as possible ahead of time can be useful. This can help you confirm that you will enjoy working in your planned field. Ask your career counselor to give you additional resources in your industry, or ask them where you can find these resources. Interviews with current professionals in the field or autobiographies can help you evaluate whether you will enjoy working in a career.
8. How can I best network in modern times?
Networking is an important part of most careers and it is never too early to begin. With many academic programs taking place in an online setting today, networking can sometimes be a challenge. If your current situation makes it difficult to network in your industry, your career counselor may be able to help you brainstorm ideas. You may be able to use online platforms to network with professionals in your intended industry.
9. How can I prepare for an upcoming interview?
Preparing for an interview can give you the confidence you need to do well. Career counselors can be an excellent resource for improving your interview techniques. They can help you rehearse answers to common questions. They can also provide feedback on ways to improve your interview answers. By conducting mock interviews, you can go through the steps of a traditional interview, boosting your confidence and helping you practice things like your handshake and posture.
10. How can I become a competitive candidate without job experience?
Some candidates worry about entering the job market with minimal or no job experience. If you consider academic program involvement and volunteer programs, you likely have more experience than you realize. Honesty is crucial, so as long as you are open about where and in what capacity you earned your experience, you can use volunteer programs or student groups to demonstrate your skills.
11. What other career resources are available to me?
While a career counselor can be a valuable resource as you prepare for a job search, other resources may help you during this time. Ask your career counselor to connect you to these resources, like community involvement groups on campus, internship opportunities, volunteer positions or even educational materials related to your career. They may also inform you of other programs on campus or in your community related to job searching.
12. What should I focus on now until our next meeting?
If you plan to visit with your career counselor again, it can be productive to find out what they want you to focus on from now until your next meeting. Their request will likely depend on what you worked on in your last season. For example, if you are working on improving your resume, they may send you home with an assignment to list all the positions you have previously held. They may also request that you create a draft of your resume that you can review together later.
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