Career Counselling and career guidance are similar in nature to other types of Counselling (e.g. marriage or clinical Counselling). What unites all types of professional Counselling is the role of practitioners, who combine giving advice on their topic of expertise with Counselling techniques that support clients in making complex decisions and facing difficult situations. The focus of career Counselling is generally on issues such as career exploration, career change, personal career development and other career related issues.
There is no agreed definition of career Counselling worldwide, mainly due to conceptual, cultural and linguistic differences. This even affects the most central term Counselling (or: counselling in British English) which is often substituted with the word guidance as in career guidance.
Due to the widespread reference to both career guidance and career Counselling among policy-makers, academics and practitioners around the world, references to career guidance and counselling are becoming common.
Career Counselling or career guidance includes a wide variety of professional activities which help people deal with career-related challenges. Career counselors work with adolescents seeking to explore career options, experienced professionals contemplating a career change, parents who want to return to the world of work after taking time to raise their child, or people seeking employment. Career counselling is also offered in various settings, including in groups and individually, in person or by means of digital communication.
• The Career Educator “supports people in developing their own career management competences”
• The Career Information & Assessment Expert “supports people in assessing their personal characteristics and needs, then connecting them with the labour market and education systems”
• The Career Counsellor “supports individuals in understanding their situations, so as to work through issues towards solutions”
• The Programme & Service Manager “ensures the quality and delivery of career guidance and counselling organisations’ services”
• The Social Systems Intervener & Developer “supports clients (even) in crisis and works to change systems for the better”
Frank Parson’s Choosing a Vocation (1909) was perhaps the first major work which is concerned with careers guidance.While until the 1970s a strongly normative approach was characteristic for theories (e.g. of Donald E. Super’s life-span approach) and practice of career Counselling (e.g. concept of matching), new models have their starting point in the individual needs and transferable skills of the clients while managing biographical breaks and discontinuities. Career development is no longer viewed as a linear process which reflects a predictable world of work. More consideration is now placed on nonlinear, chance and unplanned influences
Postmodern career counselling is a reflective process of assisting clients in creating self through writing and revising biographical narratives taking place in a context of multiple choice from a diversity of options and constraints. The shift moves from emphasizing career choice to empowering self-affirmation and improving decision making.
There is no international standard qualification for professional career counselors, although various certificates are offered nationally and internationally (e.g. by professional associations). The number of degree programs in career guidance and/or career Counselling is growing worldwide. The title “career counselor” is unregulated, unlike engineers or psychologists whose professional titles are legally protected. At the same time, policy makers agree that the competence of career counselors is one of the most important factors in ensuring that people receive high quality support in dealing with their career questions
There are many career guidance and Counselling centers all over the world. They give services of guidance and Counselling on higher studies, possibilities, chances and nature of courses and institutes. There are many such service providers all over the world providing online Counselling to people about their career or conducting a psychometric test to know the person’s aptitude as well as interests.
Assessment tools used in Career Counselling to help clients make realistic career decisions. These tools generally fall into three categories: interest inventories, personality inventories, and aptitude tests.
Interest inventories are usually based on the premise that if you have similar interests to people in an occupation who like their job, you will probably like that occupation also. Thus, interest inventories may suggest occupations that the client has not thought of and which have a good chance of being something that the client will be happy with
Aptitude tests can predict with good odds whether a particular person will be able to be successful in a particular occupation. For example, a student who wants to be a physicist is unlikely to succeed if he cannot do the math. An aptitude test will tell him if he is likely to do well in advanced math, which is necessary for physics. There are also aptitude tests which can predict success or failure in many different occupations.
Personality inventories are sometimes used to help people with career choice. The use of these inventories for this purpose is questionable, because in any occupation there are people with many different personalities.
A popular personality inventory is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. It is based on Carl Jung’s theory of personality, but Jung never approved it. According to Jung most people fall in the middle of each scale, but the MBTI ignores this and puts everyone in a type category. For example, according to the MBTI, everyone is either an extrovert or an introvert. According to Jung, most people are somewhere in between, and people at the extremes are rare. The validity of the MBTI for career choice is highly questionable.