Ethical Career Counselors Provide Valuable Services
In response to a recent San Diego Business Journal article titled, “Career Counselors: Good Guys or Scam Artists?” I would like to emphasize there are many qualified, well-educated, ethical career counselors/consultants who offer a valuable service.
Personally, I have spent several thousand dollars and years of training obtaining a master’s in counseling psychology, in which I focused on career counseling because I wanted to do work that was meaningful and fulfilling, which also meant helping others.
After I completed my master’s degree, because my undergraduate degree was in computer science and I wanted to find a blend for my two degrees, I decided to become an executive recruiter and formed my own recruiting agency, which I successfully operated for more than six years.
The article mentioned there are reputable organizations that provide a good service, but I think there was a greater focus on the dangers of working with a career counselor. Being an ethical counselor who has put in a lot of hard work, dollars, and training time, I would like to make a couple points regarding what one might or might not expect from working with a skilled and honest career consultant.
‘Hidden Job Market’
The article mentioned talk of the “hidden job market” and to be wary of such talk, but the truth is there is a hidden job market , all those jobs that people get that were never, ever advertised. It’s a known fact that about 70 percent of all jobs people get are not through an application to an advertised position; they are found by research, networking and referrals.
A good career consultant will teach people how to find or create these opportunities for themselves.
For the career-changer, career counselors will help them with self-assessment. There are many assessment tools that are quite valuable in helping people who are not sure what kind of work they would enjoy the most.
The article also seemed to recommend career counselors who are paid by the hour, but there are many ethical career consultants who ask for a package fee up front, such as John Hall with Hall Career Services in Irvine. Hall teaches courses for Chapman University’s graduate career counseling program and for UCSD. He asks for an up-front package payment for his services, but guarantees satisfaction or their money is returned in the first 10 sessions.
Jack Chapman, who wrote “Negotiating Your Salary: How to Make $1,000 a Minute,” believes career consulting where one charges by the hour is a recipe for disaster , for the counselor as well as the clients they serve.
When The Going Gets Tough
He points out that “when the going gets rough , and it ALWAYS gets rough , an hourly client will quit coming for help.” This is usually when they need help the most.
Honest career consultants who charge a package price work with their clients through the completion of their job search. That means they aren’t counting the hours and the client can rely on the consultant for help and have access to their services for as long as they need it.
Unfortunately, there are people in this business who are not ethical, who charge a great deal of money, make many promises and deliver very little, which makes it difficult for the ethically responsible career counselor.
One should beware of firms saying they will take over your job search and/or do the work for you. A good career consultant is not going to promise their client they will “find a job” for them. They instead will teach good job search skills, which can be used again and again.
If you are really serious about getting a job or making a career change, expect to do a lot of work. This is not something that someone else can do for you.
This is something a good career consultant will teach you how to do for yourself. Hall asks his clients how motivated they are to get out there and do the work. Unless they give an answer of eight or above on a scale from one to 10, he won’t work with them.
As he told the Irvine Spectrum News, “It takes that kind of motivation to go out there and network, volunteer and write proposals and do all the other things that are necessary to find a career, not just a job.”
Lidell is the owner of Career Crossroads in San Diego.