What Is A Career Advisor? (And How To Find A Suitable One)

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 26 January 2023

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

If you are doubtful about your current job role or career goals, then you might consider seeking the advice of professional career advisors or coaches to help you get clarity on your plans. A career advisor can also help you draft your resume or cover letter in addition to helping you find a suitable job. They can also guide you towards your long-term goals, including your retirement. In this article, we talk about who a career advisor is, reasons to hire a advisor, where to find one, services provided by them and how to hire the right career advisor for yourself.

Related: The Career Planning Process: Practical Steps

Who is a career advisor?

A career advisor is a professional who helps their clients with career-related advice. They are individuals who might hold a degree in counselling or might have similar educational backgrounds. Career advisors examine their client's careers, goals, interests, education, strengths and weaknesses to help them plan their career paths. In addition to this, they might also be helpful to individuals who want to switch careers. Career advisors are hired by private firms, schools, colleges or government institutions.

Reasons to hire a career advisor

Here are some reasons why you might consider using the services of a career advisor:

You want to understand your career path

Career advisors can help you excel in your vocation by strategising your future. If you feel that your job history includes a lot of changes and does not display a structure, you might consider hiring a coach. Their job is to help you create a clear strategy and assist you in defining your career objectives. This includes recommending training for development and courses of action.

You want to be a more desirable candidate for employers

Career advisors know exactly what qualities and skills employers look for while hiring candidates for a role. If you are applying for your first job or looking to switch to a new role, a career advisor can help you draft your resume and cover letter in a way that is attractive to your interviewers. They may also help polish your skill set and practice for your interview.

You are in search of new employment opportunities

If you are planning to leave your current role and looking for a new job, it might be helpful to use the services of career advisors. Career advisors have developed relationships with human resource teams in various industries, which keeps them up-to-date with new openings. After discussing your career goals, skills and desired pay package, they can help you apply for roles in different companies.

You have recently graduated or are in the final year of college

If you are a student or a recent graduate who wants to figure out the right career path, career advisors might be of help. They can help you map out the right path within your desired industry. For those who have not chosen an industry, their services may also help understand the available career pathways that you can choose from.

There is a sudden shift in your career goals due to personal circumstances

If there are unprecedented changes in your career path due to changes in your personal life, career advisors can help you take steps in the right direction. For instance, you might have some additional medical expenses or need to work shorter hours to take care of a family member. A career advisor can come up with solutions that cater to your current situation.

Related: Guide: How to Choose a Career

How to choose a career advisor

If you are certain about consulting with a career advisor, the next step is finding a suitable advisor for you. The right career advisor is likely to impact your career choices and success. Here are a few steps you can take while choosing a career advisor for yourself:

1. Check their certifications

Since career counselling is not a government-regulated profession in the country, it's important to verify that your potential career advisor has the necessary certifications to practice as a career advisor. Most professional career advisors have a certification or a degree in counselling. To find the right advisor for you, it is advisable to look for national or international certifications from reputable institutions. This can help you ensure that the advice they may provide aligns with your goals.

2. Check compatibility

It is possible that you can spend considerable time with your career advisor to discuss your goals. So, it is important to find a career advisor whose personality matches yours. This point is just as important as the skills and certifications of the advisor. Good career advisors are positive, insightful and provide actionable advice. Different advisors may have a different approach. Some may be direct while others take time to assess the client's personality and other individual requirements before giving advice for their career.

3. Discuss your priorities to help your selection process

When starting your search for a career advisor, you may start by looking online and making a list of available options. Post checking their social media profiles, client reviews or websites, it might be helpful to shortlist the ones that seem the most suitable to you. If you still need more information about them, you may consider having a chat with them to understand if they match your criteria and prove to be knowledgeable about your desired industry. Clear any doubts you might have with them before hiring them as your career advisor.

4. Check their knowledge about your field of interest

It is helpful if your career advisor has in-depth knowledge about the field of your interest. You can check their past clientele and see if they helped any other individuals make a career in a similar field, or ask them about their contacts in the industry. This is also an added advantage when searching for jobs as they might be aware of job openings.

5. Figure out the kind of advice you are seeking

Career advisors either work on an individual session basis or provide counselling packages. If you are unsure about the number of sessions you might need, you may opt for a career advisor who offers packages. There is also an option of going for individual sessions to see if you are comfortable moving forward with the advisor.

Related: How to Find Your Desired Career Path

Services provided by a career advisor

Career advisors provide a variety of services depending on their client's needs. You can seek their help with any part of your career planning process. Here is an overview of the services provided by a career advisor:

  • Help clients understand career paths available to them by assessing their skills, interests and values.

  • Help through the process of developing resumes and cover letters.

  • Help individuals in establishing a work-life balance.

  • Help clients network with professionals in their field of interest

  • Help professionals identify the problems that obstruct their path to becoming more successful in their job and find solutions to the same.

Where to find a career advisor

Here are some places where you can find a career advisor:

Ask your peers

Asking your friends, family and fellow professionals might be a good approach while looking for suitable career advisors. Understanding how their experience was can be helpful in choosing the right advisor for yourself. Social networking sites are also resourceful in this matter.

Check with your university groups

Ask your college or university alumni groups to see if they have used the services of any particular career advisor. Personal recommendations are trustworthy and a good way of searching for a career advisor within your industry.

Search online

One of the quick and simple ways to find a career advisor is to search for them online. You may try to find them on search engines or on professional networking websites. It is likely that they have their own websites where you can read more about them and their experience.

Related: Career Objective: Definition, How to and Examples

Questions to ask when choosing a career advisor

The advice you receive from a career advisor may impact your career in a significant way. That is why it is important to choose the right one. Here are a few questions you can ask when choosing your career advisor:

  • Are you a professional career advisor?

  • What are your qualifications?

  • What methods do you use to assess your clients?

  • Have you helped someone in the past who belongs to the same industry as mine?

  • Do you perform evaluations before advising career paths?

What to expect at the end of your career counselling

While career advisors might help you understand your career path better and guide you in the right direction, it is important to be prepared to take your own decisions. It is out of their service spectrum to tell you what job to take or what not to do instead of giving advice. Hence, it is helpful to know that a career advisor will only point you in the right direction. So, it is beneficial to use their knowledge and expertise to frame your own path.That said, the onus lies on you to make the final decision based on the suggestions of your career advisor and your requirements.

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