What is Career Development and Career Counseling?
How Career Counseling really can help me!

Should I go to college or should I go and learn a trade? I am not really be satisfied with my job anymore, should I find a new career? I need to re-enter the workforce but where do I start? What do I do? I just found out I am getting laid off, what am I going to do? What am I going to do
after I graduate from high school? I am planning to go to college but what should I major in? I feel like I have no direction in my life when it comes to a career. Some people may find themselves frustrate with their current job but enjoy the industry you work in and not sure what be
a good fit for you within that industry. Or maybe you were 22 when you began your career and now at 42 your burned out and not really sure you like what you do , and not sure how to make the changes you would like to make These are all common situations that people may find
themselves in and a Career Counselors maybe able to help you sort all these things out. Maybe
you have had questions like these before. Have you ever considered seeing a Career Counselor, a
trained professional who can assist you in making some important decisions about your life and
career?

What is Career Development?

Career development is more than just deciding on a major and what job you want to get when
you graduate. It really is a lifelong process. Throughout your life you will change, situations will
change, and you will continually have to make career and life decisions. The goal of Career
Counseling is to not only help you make the decisions you need to make now, but to give you the
knowledge and skills you need to make future career and life decisions.
Career development is the process that forms a persons work identity. It is a significant part of
human development and spans over the individuals entire lifetime, beginning when the
individual first becomes aware of how people make a living. For example, when a child notices
that some people are doctors, others are firefighters, and some are carpenters, it signals the start
of this process. It continues as that person begins to explore occupations and ultimately decides
what career to pursue him- or herself. Career development doesn’t end there. After you choose a
profession, you must then get the required education and training, apply for and find
employment, and ultimately advance in your career. For most people, it will also
include changing careers and jobs at least once during their work lives, but probably more often
than that.

There also isn’t a set age for when it will begin, some people will start to think about
occupational choices very early in life, while others won’t give this subject much thought until
they are relatively close to having to decide how they will earn money. While many individuals
go through this process independently, almost everyone can benefit greatly from getting
expert career guidance. Advice from a career counselor or other similarly trained specialist, or
taking a class in school that helps with career development, allows you forge a more satisfying
and successful career path. This type of intervention can begin as early as elementary school, and
it should continue throughout adulthood. Many people find themselves in need of professional
advice as they encounter problems or must make decisions about their careers, for instance when
they are thinking of looking for a new job or changing occupations.

What can I expect from a Career Counselor?

They will help you figure out who you are and what you want out of your education, your career,
and your life. Be someone for you to talk to about your thoughts, ideas, feelings, and concerns
about your career and educational choices, who will help you sort out, organize, and make sense
of your thoughts and feelings. Help you identify the factors influencing your career development,
and help you assess your interests, abilities, and values. Help you locate resources and sources of
career information. Help you to determine next steps and develop a plan to achieve your goals.
The Career Counselor will not tell you what to do, or tell you what you should major in or what
career you should pursue. The Career Counselor may conduct a series of interest, skill and
personality assessments designed to help elicit information about what careers best suit an
individual, will explain and discuss test results, and design a strategy to help the client move
forward on a selected career path. In North Carolina all Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC,
LPCA, and LPCS) have been trained to provide Career Counseling and assist clients with Career
Development plans. A high school guidance counselor may assist students before applying to a
college, and a college counselor is available to assist students in college before choosing or
changing majors. Career counseling can help anyone who wishes to change careers, leave work
altogether, or explore ways to be more satisfied with a current career.

What Influences Our Career Choices?

Of course our families and family traditions, our friends, those who have had influence over you
such teachers, mentors, and clergy may influenced your decision making of a career choice in
life. And certainly our talents and gifts may influence us as well. Do you know that personality
and personality types such extrovert or introvert may also influence your career choices and your
personality may be one of the best indicators of the field of work and what type of job you
should pursue within that field? Knowing and understanding our own personalities may help you
make some of the best career choices in your lifetime.

When your personality matches your career it is believed this will make you the most satisfied
and happy at work. A study conducted at the University of Zurich found that people “who can
apply their personal character strengths in their careers, experience more enjoyment, and
meaning at work.”

This Zurich study calls these personal character strengths “signature strengths”. These strengths
are “particularly distinctive for a person” and something “he or she likes to use frequently.”
Signature strengths can be regarded as friendliness, self-control, kindness – characteristics that
you exhibit and practice daily. According to the study, people generally have three to seven
signature strengths and the more strengths an employee can actually use in the workplace, the
more satisfied and productive he or she is.

The study recommends using the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Instrument (MBTI) to discover
your strongest personality traits. These tests tend to define you as, for example, a ‘realistic’ type
or an ‘artistic’ type. Based on your tendency to lean towards a certain type, the tests then provide
a list of careers that might suit you best.

Taking stock of yourself and your traits will not only be helpful on a personal level, but doing so
may also give you an advantage when applying to job postings and interviewing. Knowing what
works for you, and also knowing that employers are increasingly assessing personality types,
will allow you to showcase your best attributes and also ask appropriate questions concerning
workplace environments.

Commonly Used Assessments in Career Counseling:
Many Career Counseling professionals often administer the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
Instrument (MBTI) and the Strong Interest Inventory to help their career clients understand both
their personality and their preferences.

Your results from the MBTI will provide a profile report highlighting 16 personality types so
that you can verify your best-fit type. The MBTI reports tell you your preference for each of four
pairs: Extraversion or Introversion E or I ; Sensing or Intuition S or N; Thinking or Feeling T or
F; Judging or Perceiving J or P. The four preferences together make up your whole type. There
are 16 possible personality types. Some types are more common than others and studies have
been done to determine the breakdown in percentages of the MBTI types in the general
population.

The Strong Interest Inventory contains 291 items that ask users about their preferences in regard
to occupations, subject areas, activities, leisure activities, people and characteristics. Your Strong
Interest Inventory yields a report presented in six sections known as General Occupational
Themes (GOT). These six sections represent the personality types that most people fall into and
are based on a persons’ interests and approaches to life situations. The six sections are: Realistic,
Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising and Conventional. These two assessments coupled
together can help career clients know themselves better and find occupations that will better fit
their personalities and interest.

So if you are in the crossroads of trying to decide what job you should be in, regardless if you’re
a high school student trying to decide on colleges and majors or a seasoned worker/employee
looking to make changes, changes that is not just as in the means to make money but helping you
make choices that may benefit you a lifetime and career choices. You may want to contact Sure
Hope Counseling and Training Center and get an appointment with one of our Licensed
Professional Counselors (LPC and LPCA) and start working on your career development and
career planning.

Jim Katsoudas