There are many ways career counselors can help with your job search, and even if Lily Zhang weren’t in the field herself, she’d be very much in favor of enlisting their services. In a great piece for the Daily Muse titled “3 Ways to Get the Most Out of Working With a Career Counselor,” the MIT career development specialist provides helpful tips on gearing up for your initial meeting, the actual sit-down time, and the steps you should take afterward.
“Whether you’re trying to figure out what to do next, want to take your resume from just-OK to killer, or could use some tips on interviewing at your dream company, they can add some organization, insight, and much-needed sanity to your search,” Zhang writes. Read on to see how she suggests you best make use of their time and expertise.
1. Prepare Questions — While the counselor is sure to begin by asking you a bunch of things about yourself, it doesn’t hurt to bring your own questions. These can be super specific queries related to your resume, or they can be broad ones concerning what type of job is truly right for you.
2. Take Notes — The counselor may provide you with a recap of the meeting, but that’s not enough. During your conversation, jot down ideas that come to you, as these might be especially helpful when you get to the next steps in the process. Since the next steps often involve “homework” — making lists of dream companies, going out on informational interviews, etc. — your notes will help you make a to-do list and guide you through carrying out your tasks in a manner likely to bring success.
3. Do the Work, Then Follow Up — After you and your counselor develop a game plan, follow through with your homework and report back. You’ll likely be tasked with networking, sitting for informational interviews, and researching companies, and as you do these and other things, you’ll start to get a better sense of what you’re looking for in your next carer. As your vision becomes clearer, the career counselor can become even more helpful in guiding you toward your end goal.