Career consultants are professionals who help match the abilities and goals of specific individuals with opportunities to work in a given field or industry. Career consulting usually involves assessing the skills of the client, identifying strengths and weaknesses, and assisting in the process of successfully launching a career that is both personally rewarding and financially lucrative.
There are a number of reasons why utilizing the services of a career consultant is desirable. Young people who are emerging from college may find that career consultants can give the job search process a degree of focus that would be difficult to achieve otherwise. By evaluating the skill sets of the young adult, a competent consultant can quickly identify potential employers who are likely to have openings that would appeal to the individual. As a result, the client is able to secure work quickly and begin building a career without the need to spend a lot of time deciding exactly how to go about using that recently earned degree to best advantage.
A career consultant can also be extremely helpful in situations where individuals need to change careers. This is particularly true when the necessity comes about due to downsizing or the gradual obsolescence of a particular line of work. The consultant can assess the background, skills, and experience of the client and identify other career options that may or may not have occurred to the displaced employee. This process is important, since it can lead to discovering a whole new way to make use of the abilities of the employee in a new setting, or at least identify what type of training would be needed to make the employee attractive to prospective employers.
A career consultant can also help an individual assess if he or she is better suited to working for someone or launching a new business. At times, a consultant may encourage the client to pursue employment within a given subcategory of an industry or profession in order to gain the experience necessary to eventually become a business owner. Since the object is to capitalize on the skills of the client while also taking into consideration the short term and long term goals related to the workplace, the career consultant can help the client establish a plan for meeting the needs of today, while building a foundation for career advancement in the future.
Often, the process of career consulting will also focus on the aspirations that an individual has for his or her career. While financial rewards are often one of the main goals related to the selection and pursuit of a career, there is also the matter of personal satisfaction and pride in the type of work that is inherent to the career choice. A good career consultant will always address these issues as well as the more practical aspects of defining skills and identifying potential career choices based on ability. In this perspective, the career consultant is very different from recruiters or even employment agencies where the main focus is matching skills to a job need.