20 Tips On How to Choose the Right Career Counselor, Coach or Advisor
by Don Sutaria
- Get names from friends and past clients.
- Select names from helpful books such as What Color Is Your Parachute? by Richard Bolles.
- Perform a Google search, especially looking at web sites listing career counselors.
- Read at least a dozen professional biographies of the counselors and the nature of their clientele.
- Call at least three counselors and discuss your requirements and the counseling process with them. If a counselor does not give you at least 20 minutes of their time patiently, just skip to the next one.
- Be willing to travel in a 100-mile radius for an effective coach; don't be seduced by proximity!
- Be prepared to pay for a one-hour initial exploratory meeting, if you insist on a face-to-face meeting. In urban areas it is $150-$200 per hour.
- Talk with the person who is really going to counsel you, not a salesperson. Find out the length and depth of their experience.
- Find out the duration of counseling, costs, and success rate. Typical examples are:
Career assessment: 6-8 hours
Career change: 10-14 hours
Resumes and cover letters: 4-6 hours
Job search and change: 8-10 hours
Specialized career issues: 2-4 hours (per issue)(Example: Work/Life balance)
- Be wary if an upfront contract is needed. Prefer to pay on a per hour basis.
- Do not use Telephone Yellow Pages. It is a very poor way of finding good career counselors; it is like trying to find a brain surgeon for a tumor!
- Ask for references and testimonials which are sometimes hard to get because of confidentiality reasons; try anyway!
- Ask for written reports of all tests and evaluations.
- If you have a gut feeling that the personality match between you and the counselor is poor, it is a danger sign...STOP!
- Check out the counselor's degrees and credentials but do not be seduced by them!
- Prefer individual practitioners to group practice where responsibility can be diffused.
- If a career counselor insists that your spouse or partner be with you at all times, beware of manipulative techniques for financial gain.
- If you see a shared office with a person of another profession, beware of the front!
- If a counselor offers you cut rate fees between $50-$100 per hour, you will get what you pay for!
- Watch for a falsely implied promise of getting you a job! This is not the function of a career counselor.