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Individuals in the counseling profession work with clients in a variety of roles. A vocational counselor, sometimes called a career counselor, helps job seekers analyze employment options and develop the skills necessary to get a job. He or she contacts hiring managers at various companies to determine if the individual receiving career counseling is a good fit for their organization.
A vocational counselor begins the job by meeting with clients and assessing the abilities of each. To do this, he or she reviews the client's resume and discusses the professional and educational experience contained within. He or she may then ask a series of questions to determine what kind of work the client prefers. The counselor usually asks about any special skills the client possesses while discussing technical proficiency.
Once the vocational counselor understands the client's background and goals, he or she can work with companies in need of staff to find a potential employment match. Either by phone or in person, the career counselor meets with the hiring manager and discusses the positive and negative aspects of hiring the client. Although the ultimate goal is to find the client work, the counselor has a responsibility to the hiring company not to provide misleading information about the client's abilities.
If the vocational counselor determines the client is an unsuitable fit for the hiring companies, he or she may offer additional counseling services. Counselors can help their clients find training programs to develop skills and work on strategies to increase the client's marketability. In addition, a career counselor often provides assistance putting together a professional resume. Some counselors give clients a mock interview to assess interview skills and provide him or her with ways to improve.
Although the role of a vocational counselor is similar to that of employment agencies, differences exist. Rather than working to make a profit off job placement, he or she works with the goal of helping job seekers who are unsuccessful in finding work to obtain employment. He or she may work for an organization sponsored by any level of government.
A vocational rehabilitation counselor often works with injured clients. This counselor's goal is to determine when the worker can safely return to his or her job. The counselor may also make recommendations to the employer about how best to accommodate the worker's needs upon return.
Some vocational counselors work in the school systems. A vocational guidance counselor is often found in secondary education environments where students begin researching career options. He or she usually provides students with information on various career fields. If a career has specific educational requirements, the counselor will also provide this information and assist in locating an appropriate school.