20 Tips

20 Tips On How to Choose the Right Career Counselor, Coach or Advisor

by Don Sutaria

  1. Get names from friends and past clients.
  2. Select names from helpful books such as What Color Is Your Parachute? by Richard Bolles.
  3. Perform a Google search, especially looking at web sites listing career counselors.
  4. Read at least a dozen professional biographies of the counselors and the nature of their clientele.
  5. 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.
  6. Be willing to travel in a 100-mile radius for an effective coach; don't be seduced by proximity!
  7. 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.
  8. Talk with the person who is really going to counsel you, not a salesperson. Find out the length and depth of their experience.
  9. 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)
  10. Be wary if an upfront contract is needed. Prefer to pay on a per hour basis.
  11. 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!
  12. Ask for references and testimonials which are sometimes hard to get because of confidentiality reasons; try anyway!
  13. Ask for written reports of all tests and evaluations.
  14. If you have a gut feeling that the personality match between you and the counselor is poor, it is a danger sign...STOP!
  15. Check out the counselor's degrees and credentials but do not be seduced by them!
  16. Prefer individual practitioners to group practice where responsibility can be diffused.
  17. If a career counselor insists that your spouse or partner be with you at all times, beware of manipulative techniques for financial gain.
  18. If you see a shared office with a person of another profession, beware of the front!
  19. If a counselor offers you cut rate fees between $50-$100 per hour, you will get what you pay for!
  20. Watch for a falsely implied promise of getting you a job! This is not the function of a career counselor.
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